I am experiencing severe, debilitating anxiety. I need advice on how to get through the next few weeks.
Background- I know the source of the anxiety- On feb 14 I was diagnosed with brain tumors. Left untreated, I will definitely go blind. But with surgery, there is a 1 in 10 chance I will go blind. I am a mom to a 3 1/2 yr old and 18 month old.
I tried xanax. It helped but made me foggy. When it looked like I would need meds for a few weeks, my primary switched me to ativan because it's less addictive. Also left me slow. I was able to wean off them a week ago, but with new appointments, my anxiety has skyrocketed again. I am on ambien to sleep. When my anxiety is high, it works for 3 or 4 hours. When I'm having a better day, it helps a little longer. I know you aren't supposed to be on ambien for long, but I feel without sleep, I will shatter and fall apart. The past 2 days I took a 1/2 a xanax and it helped a little, without being as foggy.
I can't eat. I do my best to care for my kids, but feeding them properly is getting hard. I have no energy. I am a mess. I am afraid I'll end up in the hospital before surgery because I can't eat. I have lost so much weight in the past 3 weeks. I *know* I have to eat, I just can't. I've even developed a stutter at times.
We're trying to schedule surgery, but it will be at least 2 weeks. I can't keep going like this. Does anyone have any suggestions that will help me cope until I am past this?
First of all my heart goes out to you. A lot of us have anxiety for no good reason. You definitely have reason for stress and anxiety. I would take whatever meds make you comfortable. Don't worry about becoming dependent on them. You can taper off later down the road when you are feeling well and recovered from your surgery. Ask your doc about klonopin. It will work around the clock and perhaps stop the constant worry. Ativan and Xanax are good drugs but they wear off and the anxiety is still there. Good luck in your journey. I know it won't be easy. Keep us posted on your progress.
I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I am going to give you some tips that my therapist has given me (have you considered talking to a therapist short term? - it helps to talk).
One: Affirmations - These are little phrases that you repeat to yourself when you are starting to feel anxious. For example, one of my problems is that I am scared of being in a car wreck, my affirmation could be "Everything will be safe in the car today." A good affirmation that I keep taped to my desk is "I am capable of creating safety for myself". Yours could be "I am capable of coping." or "I am capable of making it through the day." Whatever you do, DO NOT put anything negative in the affirmation, such as can't, won't, shouldn't, etc. You can even write these out and keep them in convenient places to remind you! I wasn't very confident in these at first, but they really do work.
Two: Positive Self Talk - This is kind of like affirmations but a little more general. Basically, you talk to youself, in your head or out loud, depending on how anxious you are. You can tell yourself things like: "I can make it through the day." , 'Everything is going to be okay.", "Just one more ______ and I'm done.", etc. Anything that is positive.
Three: Grounding Techniques - When you start to feel anxious, start tapping slowly. If you are sitting. Tap first one foot then the other, SLOWLY. Focus on this. You could also tap your hands on your knees. If you don't want to draw attention to yourself, cross your arms and tap your fingers on the opposite arm, it doesn't have to be a big tap, just enough to feel it.
Four: Venting - It is good to talk. That's why I mentioned therapy. Husbands can be great, but sometimes they are too close to the situation. And family doesn't always understan. I would be happy to talk to you if you need someone to talk to. My husband and I have been through a lot. My husband was diagnosed with cancer when he was 23 (we're 32 now). He shattered his hip socket and spent 3 months in bone traction tied down to a hospital bed, 6 hours away from where we live. Anyway, we're both disabled. We know how going to constant dr appt feels, waiting for surgery feels, waiting for results, uncertain about the future, etc. So, if you need to talk I am here, I am on Medhelp daily and I get e-mails when I get a new message so feel free to contact me anytime (I also have insomnia).
I hope this helps some and I didn't ramble on too long.
Completely, completely agree with lynn57. Don't worry about the dependence - you definitely need the sleep, and you need help with the anxiety.
Almost 2 years ago my insurance company made me wait 7 months to get a rapidly-growing tumor removed (despite rec's from the neurosurgeon, hospital and two other dr's it had signs of malignancy and needed to be removed). I had a 3 and 4 year old. I don't remember those 7 months very well, and what I do remember is horrible. (It ended up being a rapidly growing benign tumor, thankfully...)
I was on sleeping meds, and I'm not anymore.
I stayed busy, I forced myself to go do things even though I didn't want to do anything. I sat with my kids and really hung out with them. I wanted every second to be perfect for them, I didn't want them to have any idea something so awful was going on with me.
Re: the eating... yeah, you're definitely right, you need to eat. If you lose too much, it could screw up the surgery, causing delays, and that's definitely not something you want. Try eating what your toddler eats, planning your meals (as if you're on a diet, but really the opposite)...
I'll send you all the positive thoughts and prayers I've got that everything goes perfectly.
great advice from the above posters, i just wanted to add that some meditation might help. try lifehut.com and click on the time one they have, also eckhart tolle on youtube. This is such a scary time for you, I can't imagine. One of my self talks to add to above is, whatever happens i will handle it. The strong self talk does help like the guts said. Prayers and hugs
thank you so much for your input. I will try to remember to do all that. It will require a lot of effort and concentration to remember to!
I also decided to stop trying to work through the anxiety and just take the meds more often. I can't keep doing that. As soon as I stop to rest, sit, or lay down, it feels like there's an elephant on my chest and I can't breathe. I can't keep doing that to myself.
I also want to say that this has been eye-opening in regards to understanding people who live with anxiety day to day. I have never really had any form of anxiety before. I cannot imagine living this everyday and give those of you who do a lot of credit.
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