Ok, I know the post title is a bit deceptive but only a bit in my case. I had a bit of an episode yesterday, an issue that probably millions of people can relate to and will nod their heads reading.
I have been taking an anti-anxiety medication called Fluvoxamine for a few years. It started a few years back when I went a few weeks not being able to sleep and at the same time kind of paralysed with a mixture of panic and fear. I had never had any mental problems at all before in my life so it caught me completely by surprise.
I have researched and spoken to doctors about this in the past and the fact is that out of nowhere it is quite easy to have a switch trip in your brain. There is not any obvious cause, I did not have any event that caused this but in talking to a psychologist found that often a smell or a flash of light, or even just an event that does not seem at all jarring can lead to panic attacks and a long term issue with anxiety and panic. The Fluvoxamine has been prefect for me. No side effects and I tend to be level headed as anyone should be.
Build Up With Sleeplessness and Bad Planning
So with a busy week this week full of the regular stresses of a couple of IT rollouts and other work stresses I got caught with a bad week and half of sleep.
I like sleep.
I never usually have trouble with stress at work but in this case I had to pull an all-nighter at work, missed a day of my crazy pill, and then forgot the next morning and in this case as problems started cropping up quickly I got panicky.
Sucks to be me…
Anyway, the problems that I have are not really terrible, thankfully when I say crazy pills it is not like I have any kind of debilitating problems. Some people have problems much worse than me of course, and I got just a bit of an idea of how much trouble real anxiety issues it could be yesterday.
So here I am in a crowded office at 9:00 in the morning, work stuff that had to be done, I am stressed, panicky, have a headache, going though some kind of withdrawal from my lack of the magic fluvoxamine andin an edgy bit of clarity decided that I would have to try and control my situation until I got home.
Battling the Serotonin Deficiency
So here is what I did. First water. I always crave water and I thought the feeling of the water in my throat would help to stop my throat from being so dry. Next I made sure I was moving around a lot. I made sure to stay busy, troubleshooting problems and then ended up at my desk working on documentation while listening to some calming music.
Then the gym. The problem that my Fluvoxamine helps is with Serotonin levels. This drug is known as a Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor sometimes called SSRI. What this means is that my serotonin levels are kind of messed up. You know what increases Serotonin levels? Exercise! I had a good long workout, doing lots of squats and lunges and working my big muscle groups. This worked awesome and the pump I felt afterwards kept my energy and spirits up for the rest of the afternoon.
And this story is not over yet. The plan that I have going forward is that after my kidney transplant to my daughter sometime this year that I can start to dial down my dosage to zero. The way to ease off of Fluvoxamine is to slowly drop the dosage over a few weeks (never just stop taking meds cold turkey). I am on a very low dosage so it would only take a month or two to wean myself off of them
I got through this tough time yesterday alright, and I hate to admit my need for help from pharmaceuticals to keep me level headed, but I am hoping that this story of my tough and terrible day yesterday helps you or people around you that are struggling with anxiety problems. This is a medical issue that although we can easily feel ashamed of and really it is not. There is no reason people should just “Suck it up” but instead we need to care for ourselves very well so that we have the mind, energy, and motivation to help others around us.