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Tag: panic attacks

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

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Its January 25th today, the day we are supposed to open our mouths and ears and hearts and acknowledge the millions of people who live with mental illness.

I am one of those people.

Surprised?

Don’t answer that. 

About 16 years ago I started getting these crazy dizzy spells combined with a racing heart.  I would feel cold and tingly in my fingers.   And then I would need to go and lie down after. I felt like I was short of breath all the time, and my heart rate would go so high at the gym that I felt like it might explode out of my chest.

I was convinced I had a heart condition.   I was afraid to go to sleep at night.  The insomnia compounded everything.   I couldn’t concentrate at work, or absorb any new information.  My memory ( which is my ride or die skill) was almost non existent.

I was pretty sure I was going insane at the same time as developing a heart condition.

So I went to my doctor and told him plainly ” I think I’m going nuts” and he said plain as day to me:  Crazy people don’t think they’re crazy.   I think you have an anxiety disorder with panic attacks.  When you start to feel nuts, take a lorazepam and if it makes it go away we’ll know I’m right.  See what happens over the next week or so and come back to see me so we can get you on some medication.”

He also said that the first thing they usually prescribe is regular exercise, but seeing as I was already hitting the gym 5 days a week at the time, we decided I needed more help than that.  So all those “exercise is the cure for everything” memes can just fuck right off.   It helps yes, and today helps me manage my stress, but not always.

So I stayed on medication for about 18 months and was able to gradually wean off of it. I learned some great coping mechanisms and learned how not to feed my anxious mind.  I learned to take the physical cues my body was giving me like sore muscles, insomnia, dizzy spells, headaches and use them as cues to take it easy and focus on self care.

And here’s the thing about mental illness:  You’re never cured.

Although my symptoms are manageable and I function normally most days, some days, my anxiety is a real asshole.  And I have to just let it be, and slow down, and use all the tools I know to keep things in check.

But it will always be there.  So sometimes, when I cancel plans because I don’t feel well, it’s actually because I am feeling kinda nuts and just not able to deal with you or your shit, because my own shit is too heavy a burden that day.

And that’s ok too.

What do you want to talk about today, Bitches?  I’m listening.

 

There’s A Pill For That

Good morning, kids.  Guess what day it is today?  Hot on the Titties Friday!  The best day of the week!

I have been reading and listening to a lot of programs about over-prescription of drugs.  One of my fellow bloggers started it off with a post about antibiotics, which you can read about at mythoughtsonapage.com.

Then I watched a Dr.Oz episode about the exact same thing.  The conversation led to a place that scared me a little.  It was about how we have no new front line antibiotics coming out right now.  If bugs continue to gain resistance against what we have, we are looking at putting medicine backwards almost 90 years.

Then,  I listened to a CBC radio program last night about the overuse and misuse of antidepressants.  And I thought “well alright then”.  Here is the debate I’m offering to you:

Have we become a society of “There must be a pill for that”?

You know, I think we have.  Now having said that, hear me out.  There are always times when prescriptions are necessary.  Some people suffer from debilitating depression, or anxiety.  Sometimes you actually have a bacterial infection such as strep throat that requires a course of antibiotics.  Some people are in chronic or severely acute pain.  Sometimes my kid has a fever or teething pain.

Of course you use medication when you have to.  But I think the medical community should take a step back and re-evaluate what “have to” means.  Because in the case of antibiotics and antidepressants, the ramifications of over use are severe.  The problem with the antidepressants is that while they think they help to regulate serotonin in your body, that in turn fucks with the rest of your system.  Like causing symptoms of Irritable Bowl Syndrome or messing with your reproductive health.  Is it worth it?  In some cases, yes.

In other cases, you are probably better off with therapy and cognitive counselling.

I think it has become inconvenient to be sick.  We want to feel better immediately, obviously.  God forbid we take a couple of days off work to catch up on our health.  No.  The employer wants you there, spreading your disease around til everyone feels like shit.  Super.

Anyway, I am no expert.  I can only speak from personal experience, and you can think about your opinion on the topic.

Firstly, I have severe allergies to many 1st and 2nd generation antibiotics.  So if you all keep fucking with the ones we have left, I’m in real trouble.  Which makes this one is especially scary to me.  When I had the Destroyer, I was GBS positive, which means I “needed” an iv antibiotic to prevent passing this bug on to her during delivery.  (And no, its not an STD, asshole.  Women either have it or not.)  Because of the 1% chance I could pass it to her.  Due to of my allergies, they had to give me Clindimycin, a drug that the deadly c.difficile is resistant to.  An bug that is known for being in hospitals.

So they pump me full of this drug, and meanwhile the kid is already delivered.  The only thing it got me was a nice staph infection.  Thanks for the exposure, hospital.  Fuck you very much.

My point is, there was a 1% risk of a potentially serious infection being passed on to my child, so I took what they recommended.  But was it necessary?  I still don’t know.  If I labour as quickly this time, I will refuse it.  He’ll deliver too quickly to get any anyway.

About 10 years ago, I was going through some major changes in my life and started having panic attacks and loads of anxiety.  So my doctor gave me an antidepressant.  It took awhile, but I eventually started to feel better.  But you know what?  I often wonder if it was just time, and training myself to cope in better ways that brought me back to full health.  I certainly still have anxiety from time to time now, but possess the necessary skills to manage it without drugs.  For myself, the cognitive approach seemed to work better than any drug ever could.  Cause drugs wear off, and knowledge is lasting and powerful.

I even think about intervention in labour.  The pain is so temporary, can we not bear that in light of what you’re about to accomplish?  I guess that’s a whole other post.  Maybe next Friday.

Did you also know that 80% of ear infections are viral and do not require antibiotics?  That’s a lot of useless drugs floating around.

Honestly, I think it’s just more convenient to write a prescription.    Doctor offices are overflowing, the health care system is inefficient and bursting at the seams.  So  “treat ’em and street ’em”  right?

I guess my thought is that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.  I think we need to start doing more healing, and less prescribing.  The drugs should be the last resort.

And with that, I’ll turn the floor over to you.  Opinions?  Expert opinions?

Remember to be nice.   Happy Friday!

 

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