Over the last 7 weeks and starting from a specific and significant anxiety trigger (explained below). I still have spaced out, patchy, almost blurred vision and headspace, this is a permanent reminder of what's happened and I'm genuinely scared that this is permanent and I'll have to exist with this 'scar' from the events of the last month. It' like I'm in a dream that I'm trapped in.
I'm Currently taking fluoxetine to help with the depression I'm encountering but very much getting on top of the anxiety/panic and general nightmare of the earlier stages of the experience. Any of you guys had similar experience? will I ever be normal again?
So I guess I'll start by outlining what's happened to me over the last 7 weeks:
Following a hectic birthday weekend (not much sleep, a bunch of unhealthy food and lots of booze) I headed into work (I work in an office, full time) very exhausted (and grumpy!) and went about my day. When I got home I decided to get high to relax (I'm not a regular cannabis/drug user at all) which was a big mistake.
I became very anxious which turned into a full on anxiety attack, I was shaking/sweating, hot and cold flushes, dry mouth, my heart was racing and I was generally terrified. This lasted around 3 hours before I finally got to sleep that night a shivering mess. I woke the next day expecting to be fine but pretty much felt the same (without the hallucinogenic effects of being high). I carried on about my business that week as the anxiety grew, I became manic, stopped eating and sleeping, became extremely paranoid and totally frazzled/exhausted.
At this point I went home to my parents an explained to them what had happened. Things got worse over the next Two weeks, with a very stressful week at work in the middle of all of this I was at breaking point. My skin was burning, my mind racing with the most awful, catastrophic thoughts, I became scared of EVERYTHING. Being alone, sleeping, eating, family and friends. I became obsessed with the experience and how I was deteriorating.
Following a trip to the doctors I was prescribed 80 mg of Profanolol and 40mg of Fluoxetine to help with the depression that was mounting as every day went by with no improvement.
In the last 2/3 weeks I've managed to detatch myself from those initial hellish few weeks (almost completely) and keep myself busy & healthy (excersise has been a saviour) enough to move forward. Although my mood has increased and my anxiety decreased significantly I am still concerned by some of the physical symptoms that remain weeks later.
The main thing is that my vision has been almost blurry/spotty since the beginning and I've felt VERY spaced out but it's a contant reminder of what's happened and that something/s are still not right.
I found this forum and would be interested in advice and similar stories from you guys, particularly around 'recovery' time. I should point out that generally and before all of this I was/am a moderately anxious person, always busy, always on the move and used to have mild panic attacks as a child which hadn't resurfaced until this incident. I'm in a completely different place than I was 3/4/5 weeks ago which Im grateful for, I just need to know that I've not got this for life :(
I'm sorry you are going through this. It's funny because its almost like I wrote this post. I've had anxiety my whole life but it stays dormant more often than not. I've been in a really bad bout and i became obsessed wtih am i going to stay this way forever, is my life over. Right now i'm pretty much at the same spot as you are now. I am feeling better, doing a lot better than I was but just don't feel like myself. Still too anxious and depressed to say i'm back to "normal". And I still have that fear of never finding my "old self" again. But maybe when I get there I'll be an even better version! It's been a long road but you WILL get there. I need to hear it myself but I know it doesn't last forever!! The fact that you are so scared of not getting better shows how mentally healthy you really are :-) ..
I really just want you to know you aren't alone and that you will be okay!!! People just don't lose their minds over night! The very things i'm telling you I need to be told but I can give advice better than I can take it :-) .. Hang in there!!
Thank you for your words, very helpful to know this stuff is not only common but in some way part of most people's lives!
I've never considered myself to have anxiety issues to the point where it really effected me. I've had bouts of moderate depression which I had really moved on from. That's what is bad about this, even though it's only been Two months I was on top of the world for the past year, everything was going great, I actually thought to myself wow life is perfect. Then the following week all of this begun. I guess I jinxed myself!
For now it seems all I can do is try and stay positive, social, busy and healthy. My doctor told me to hang tight and that's what I've got to to. I've read stories online of this spaced out vision/headspace disappearing gradually or suddenly and I just hope I can get to that place sooner rather than later and leave this part of my life behind. It's quite scary not to know where/how this ends but I am SO much better than the initial few weeks, I've learned a lot about myself and in some ways after surviving all of that I feel invincible. I just need these remaining symptoms (vision/spaced out) to go and I can move on. It's been a horrible experience but I know I'll be a better person for all of it.
First of all. You need to stop drinking and any drugs. I know it's hard to accept, but if you have depression and anxiety, you cannot drink. It is dangerous to combine alcohol with your prescription medication.
I overdosed on my flouxetine and alcohol when I was in my 20s and am lucky I survived. I mixed alcohol and my medication for all 10 years of my 20s and now at 31 years old, i just found out that I have fatty liver disease. Not only can you overdose by mixing the two, you are seriously damaging your liver.
The alcohol (and drugs) is only going to make your anxiety, stress, depression, and paranoia worse. It doesn't matter if you drink once a month or every weekend, it will make it worse. And those effects stay for a long time.
So again. Stop drinking completely. I wish I knew ten years ago what I know now about drinking and mixing medication. I suffered a lot and struggled for all these years because I was stubborn and wanted to "have fun". I wasn't an alcoholic drinking everyday... My depression was worst, my anxiety was worse, I ended up increasing my meds and mixing that with alcohol. I had memory loss and many other issues.
I also realized I was on the wrong medication. Fluoxetine was wrong for me because I was diagnosed Bipolar and BPD. I switched to an anti convulsant/mood stabilizer - Lamictal. It works well and have had very few side effects. I feel "normal" on it. I also take xanax as needed for panic attacks but have been through CBT and DBT therapies to learn to deal with my anxiety and proper calming techniques.
I'd suggest you contact a pyschologist and start individual and group therapy. See if you can do CBT or DBT (look it up online for more info). And start practicing calming techniques.
Here's a good website with examples: http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/treatment/relaxation *using a cold bag on the back of your neck or your hands works wonders! combined with breathing technique and visualization. You have to practice it but it will help!
Also, you need to keep a routine schedule. I'm sure the doctor has told you this. IF you have depression and anxiety you have to stay on a schedule. Eat at the same times. Get up and go to bed the same times. Don't drink caffeine. Exercise at least 30 minutes everyday. Stay busy. Don't sit around and let rumination take over. Do your relaxation techniques. Keep practicing and it will eventually come naturally. Seek therapy at least once a week. Keeping a diary chart for CBT or DBT really helps track your behavior (drinking, sleep schedule, financial stressors, school, or whatever is going on in your life that day/night) and track your moods and thoughts. After a while you will see a pattern related to your behaviors that you weren't aware of before. I guarantee that you will see that the worst anxiety and depression days or bad events that happen are related to the times you were drinking or drugs (and changes of sleeping, eating patterns). I used to roll my eyes at the doctor when these things were told to me. Wish I listened and wouldn't be dealing with these health problems.
But at least I have my anxiety and depression under control. I am slowly going off my medication right now. Partly because I feel I'm ready and because it is bad for my liver disease.
Yes I feel the same way. I've felt that one day I woke up and my life was taken away from me! But you really have to focus on the improvement that you do see. And since you haven't had much experience with anxiety it can't help to research a little bit about it. You will be feeling better soon. I would definately get in to some counseling to learn coping skills and get to the root of the problem. Also as you've learned excercise is great, although i know its hard when you feel like total crap for lack of a better word! Also some say they don't work but maybe a self help book? Pray? Meditation?
But definately definately I agree with "unhappyliver" NO DRINKING NO DRUGS.. It's only going to make your struggle harder!
You'll get there!
Another week has gone by, spotty/blurry vision and brain fog still here. I feel like I'm doing everything right, exercise, healthy and varied diet, no caffeine/alcohol, keeping social and positive and generally moving on from the experience I had 7/8 weeks ago. What more do I have to do to get my own headspace back and why has this lasted so long when I've been so calm for the past few weeks?
I know there are no firm answers to this and this is what is so frustrating :(
I'm usually known for much longer answers, but your situation to me is very straightforward. You're doing everything right to get yourself better, and you're doing the right things because you ARE seeing improvement. You won't feel perfect for a while...it's normal to have lingering symptoms.
Sounds a lot like you have suffered from derealization, which is a common side effect of severe and chronic anxiety. Blurry vision, brain fog, feeling like you're in a dreamstate are all very typical of that. DR takes time to resolve. Keep yourself engaged in life, the more busy and distracted you are, the better you will be.
Just keep doing what you're doing and just try to be patient. This takes time.
Thanks for the support/advise. I know I am doing all of the right things but my frustration overwhelms me at times. Frustration that this is all the result of one tiny action and frustration at how long this is going on (I'm generally v impatient so this is a huge learning period for me). But like you say I have seen improvements, when this all kicked off I couldn't eat, sleep, be on my own. It was the worst experience of my life and I understand this is the tail off from such an intense and traumatic experience.
I know that when all this is over I'll feel invincible, I already know now what a strong person I am, I never knew I had it in me to face something like this which is another positive.
Are there any specific things I should be doing to help this (DR) go away? Every now and then I have the most terrifying thought that this is permanent. I don't know if I could live with this for the rest of my life.
The best thing you can do is NOT think about it. The more engaged you are with life, and the less you think about it, the quicker it will fade away. It does take some time, but as the anxiety improves, so will the related symptoms.
It's when we ruminate or worry, or overanalyze how we feel that we reinforce those symptoms, causing them to either intensity, or stick around longer.
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