Friday, 13 February 2015

Ongoing Anxiety

I have always been thankful for my doctor’s professional courtesy. In 2000, she agreed to take me on as a patient, as I was new to town and in need of medical assistance. She is the one who has seen me through the disability process, the loss of my career and the ongoing progression of my disease.

I saw her last week to discuss my increasing anxiety. Not having been in the office since last summer, she knew nothing of what I had gone through during the fall months, the numerous visits to the walk-in clinic, my trip to the ER.

I appreciate the ‘old home’ feeling I get at the office, with the nurse and the doctor. I feel comfortable that they understand me and are there to support me through whatever happens. The doctor knows I am reluctant to take medication, so when I ask for help, she knows I have thought about it long and hard.

I have been living with this anxiety related chest pain for the last year; have experienced the worsening of it in the last few months. It seems to come without warning, for no apparent cause. And it comes with good feelings as well as bad, so what does that mean?

I hate these lesions in my brain. They are the cause of my lack of concentration, the memory issues, the personality changes, and now they are the cause for my anxiety.

I realized I needed something to calm me down, on a daily basis, not the as needed Ativan that could be very addictive. So I’m trying an anti-depressant, one that has a major anti-anxiety component. I still have the Ativan for worst case scenarios, my safety net, so to speak. So far I’m feeling better, and that means a lot.

I remember a woman I met when I was working. She had a panic disorder and found it impossible to maintain any regular work schedule. One of her main issues was the lack of understanding, from family, friends and co-workers. I’m glad I can say that I was understanding and supportive, though I now realize I had no real concept of what she was experiencing.

Why is it that mental health issues are not given the same level of understanding and acceptance as physical ailments? Why is it that we are so reluctant to accept these frailties in ourselves and in others?

Invisible diseases, when not accepted or understood, make us feel isolated and alone, make us feel...invisible.

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