Code Red

So that was Monday.
Tuesday started exactly the same way and I just couldn’t stand the thought of another anxiety laden day.
So I did something really stupid.
I took a Zoloft instead of Avanza because I knew it was really good for anxiety last time I had a major episode.
Haha. Hahahahaha.
Hello intense anxiety now exacerbated by side-effects of taking a new drug.
It was a grim grim day marked by clenched teeth, the shakes, intense nausea and very loud negative voices in my head.
Somewhere and somehow I managed to meet with two recruitment companies, one for a specific job and get some work done.
I have no idea how.
At one stage the room around me warped into some sort of vortex and came tunnelling in through my eyes.
I know people who pay good money to get that kind of sensation. Idiots.
Anyway, as one particular panic attack set in and I was just sitting at my desk concentrating on not vomitting in my shoe a colleague came over to say hi.
I explained very quietly that I was kinda in the grip of a panic attack so wasn’t really doing so well.
She told me to hold on tight and that she had something for me – and came back with a little book called Living with it – a self-help easy-to-read guide book about living with anxiety disorder. She suffers from panic attacks too.
I took the book up on to the roof of our building, sat in the sunshine looking at the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and read the book in about 15-20 minutes.
I doubt I would have got through the rest of the day without that little book.
So then it was time to do something else really stupid.
At about 5pm when I was really starting to wig out I took another avanza.
It took about 30 seconds to realise that was a really stupid thing to do, so I called my shrink again and they’d just had a cancellation for the next day.
Somehow I got home. Driving. In peak hour.
My mouth was doing very strange things, making weird expressions that I couldn’t control.
I couldn’t stop shaking and there was no way I could follow a single train of thought.
My eyes really hurt and it was really hard to blink.
It was also took a monumental effort to form words and talk.
I was starting to get quite scared.
Meanwhile I would try and concentrate on my breathing.
Do some visualisations.
Keep still.
So I get home, tell Chef what I’ve done and that I feel really bad.
He tells me to go and lie down, which I do.
The boys come and go and I’m OK – they are a distraction and think it’s fun hanging out on mum and dad’s bed.
I doze from around 8 to 10.
And then the fun really begins.
I can’t keep my hands or feet still. My fingers are clicking over each other and my legs can’t stop moving.
I am freaking myself out wanting to do mad, impulsive things while every now and then I manage to get a grip.
I have this dawning of realisation that I’m heading to where it happens.
Where people who’ve been depressed or suffered anxiety move from feeling low and wishing it all away to acting on those feelings.
I am virtually incapable of rational thought and can think of little else except for how to stop feeling the way I do.
I really want to strip off and go running around the back yard.
I am fairly convinced I’m going to end up in a psychiatric hospital by the end of the night.
I wonder what it’s like to be in a psych ward as I see demonic Beatrix Potter bunny rabbits come off the bathroom wall and hop around me.
Chef takes one look at me and asks what I want to do.
I manage to look up the 24 hour mental health number but Chef has to ring as I couldn’t hold the phone still let alone really talk coherently.
They said if he was worried to take me to emergency.
So off we went.
On the way I think how cool it would be to take all my clothes off and go swimming in the lake. Or maybe just run somewhere.
I am not that insane to follow through on this impulse.
By then I was freaking out about having to sit in a waiting room with other people – by some sheer miracle there was no one else there.
We go in.
The registrar was a fuckwit.
No seriously.
I’m wigging out.
We’re in a consult room and I’m freaking about being in such a small room. I want the door open open the door OPEN THE DOOR.
By then I was also vomitting and considering all I’d eaten all day was about four bites of a sandwich because I felt so ill that was a pretty grim turn of events.
He asks me what is going on.
I don’t think he realises just how difficult it is for me to form words in my mouth.
He asks me if I’ve experienced any periods of stress lately.
I nod.
He asks when.
I tell him it started in September 2006 and was exacerbated by the arrival of our fourth child in July 2007 and that since then it has been increasingly incrementally.
He thinks I’m taking the piss.
He asks how long this anxiety attack has been going on.
I tell him the last six weeks but with greater intensity in the last two.
He thinks I’m taking the piss.
It’s so hard to talk and keep my eyes open. I blather on with my eyes shut.
The registrar is telling me that it’s not recommended to change your medications without consulting your doctor first. I’m going to kill him with a tray.
I ask through gritted teeth, peppered with vomitting, is he telling me that all I’m experiencing is an intense panic attack.
Yes, that is my opinion.
I inform him then that if that is the case, he has to give me something to help me stop feeling this way because I can not feel like this any longer.
He tells me they do not advocate whatever the family of drugs is that a sedative falls into is highly addictive and I do not want to go down that path.
I look at him, with a slow dawning he expects me to accept this and that we should be on our way.
I think, this is when they release us crazies onto the street and are then all surprised when they randomly stab someone in the street or go home and cut up their mother with the good scissors.
I say again, I can not stay like this. I am going to do something.
So registidiot goes off to write up his report.
I tell him to have fun.
I lie down.
Chef looks really really scared.
Registidiot comes back with a little pill.
His colleague believes that considering the duration of this period of anxiety 5mg diazepam may not be such a bad idea.
I have another intense panic attack that putting more drugs into my body is going to literally make my brain melt.
He says it will probably make me drowsy (I had no idea that diazepam is just your garden variety valium) and I say
You little ripper
and down it with a big lug of water.
I instantly get all hot and need to take my clothes off again.
I look at him and say, what if I vomit it up?
He smirks and starts to say something about that not being a good idea but I don’t hear him because
I’m vomitting it back up.
I’ve never seen a medical professional move that quickly since Felix’s speedy arrival in the world.
He reappears with a nurse who gives me a shot of maxalon.
The registidiot comes back and this little talk is about how, if I’m feeling sick, maybe just small meals throughout the day rather than a whole sandwich.
Where the hell is that fucking tray.
I get another little white pill which I don’t take because I’ve been quite fixated on my little bag of vomit and there’s no pill in there.
In hindsight I don’t think it had managed to stay down – I only slept for about two hours that night – but apparently maxalon has a calming effect as well.
Once the maxalon starts to take effect we leave and head home.
Believe it or not but I went to work yesterday.
There is a lot to be said for keeping going and normalising.
I thought, go to work and tick some things off a list or stay home with chef and two small children – the thought of caring for whom makes me freak out all over again.
I have a bizarre day where my eyes often just refuse to focus and everynow and then I have to stop blinking and just keep my eyes shut.
I go and see my shrink.
It is a great hour.
I can’t go in to what we talked about, it’s been bloody hard sitting here typing this to this point.
I’m still very jittery.
I’m on some garden variety 2mg valium to deal with the anxiety. I am on an antidepressant cleanse today before starting on Zoloft tomorrow. The valium should get me through the side-effects of starting a new drug tomorrow.

I’m OK.

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  • Emma

    Sending you love and am amazed at your strength.

  • Anonymous

    Scary. I know of which you speak. DH has been on meds for years, and I can spot when he hasn’t taken them. When he goes into the depths, I’m not sure what to do—he isn’t seeing a therapist, just gets dispensed the meds, whether life is good or bad. And will our kids (6, 8) also be afflicted? I worry. I think it’s amazing that you were able to recognize that you needed help at that particular moment. You are still in strong self-preservation mode, and that’s a good thing. All the best.

  • Eleanor

    I just read your entire post without taking a breath.

    You are a hero beyond compare.

  • Linda

    You are one day closer to the end of this episode – keep up your amazing strength.

    Our family doctor gave us a copy of “Living with It”. It was read over and over again on a daily basis. We eventually passed it on to a friend in need of it and then bought ourselves another copy…which we gave to a friend in need….I think we have gone through at least a dozen copies this way.

    Wishing you peace.

  • lisa

    Holy shit. Like Eleanor said, I raced through that post without a breath and with a great big knot in my chest. And then I got to the end. You are amazing. Amazing.

  • Duyvken

    I second what Eleanor said and I also wanted to say good on your for going to the hospital and not just waiting it out. Asking for help when you need it is one of the bravest things you can do. I hope you start to feel more even quickly.

  • Suse

    Sending you lots of love.

    Tomorrow is a new day.

  • blackbird

    I’m holding you in my thoughts…and passing you the tray.

  • Badger

    Dude. I hope the meds get straightened out soon. I am a fan of valium, FWIW.

    And now I’m off to curse that registrar fuckwit with some sort of virulent cock rot. Because I have that kind of power, you know.

  • Stomper Girl

    Holy fuck. What a hideous day. I’m glad you’re feeling OK now.

  • h&b


    But you sure can write.


  • h&b

    ending my comment with ‘xx’ seems flippant in retrospect.

    It’s not meant to be.

    I’m amazed at your tenacity.
    And tolerance.
    And strength.

    Be well.

  • KathyR

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who wishes you had pummeled that guy with a tray.

    I hope you’ll be better soon. Incredible story.

  • Poppy Buxom

    Oh dear, oh dear, OH DEAR.

    Feel better, Kim!!!

  • barbra

    Heading over there with a tray. I wish.
    I echo that you are genius for seeking out the help.

  • Eleanor

    Ooo…I just KNEW that Badger was a witch! I wanted to cast that same spell but didn’t have the power.

  • Frogdancer

    Oh boy. That’s scary. I really hope that today is better.

  • Hilary

    I love your work colleague, love your HUMOUR, for God’s sake, and hate your registidiot. I’m good with a tray, I’m on my way.

  • Surfing Free

    Oh Kim, I hope this all passes for you soon and that you stabilise and find some much deserved peace and happiness.
    I to am amazed by your strength – this would have brought a lesser woman down.

    Take care of yourself.

  • Janet

    Hardly know what to say, except where’s that bloody tray?

    In my experience (public psych ward and public/private mother baby unit) psychiatric hospitals are OK. They have staff who know what they’re doing, good drugs and one gets to sleep alot and recover. Without being prodded by small children, harrassed by the big one and expected to do all the things one normally has to do.

    Hope the new drugs take effect quickly and smoothly and do what they’re meant to do.

    Get well soon.

  • Fairlie

    Oh man. What a day. Hang in there and be well. Small steps. You’ll get there.

  • bluemountainsmary

    Thinking of you. Hoping things are improving. Wondering if there is any chance of having a break (I know this is beyond difficult for you) so that you can sleep for 24 hours straight.

    I remember years ago getting a last minute deal on a hotel room in the city,leaving J with the kids for 24 hours and doing exactly that – sleeping! It kept me going for an incredibly long time.

  • Hilary

    I’m wondering when it gets to the point that you consider yourself like a car accident victim who is put to bed in a quiet room, fed and bathed and given treatments to promote convalescence. Or whatever would be the equivalent for you. No energy out, all energy in.

  • alice

    Oh my. I have suffered, badly, from anxiety, and have just come out of the other side. I wish for you, peace, and rest, and something that does not leave you feeling like you are tied in a knot so tight you might break.
    Really. Peace, and soon.

  • Sarah Louise

    Sending lots of peaceful thoughts. And all I can think of is when I accidentally overdosed myself and had double vision and walked around like a drunk person and we couldn’t figure out why and it took a month *A MONTH* for me to realize that I had accidentally overdosed myself.

    So hold on. What I would have given for a blog or a tray in those days. Glad you seem to be improving.

  • Anonymous

    Holy shit! Kill

  • Blossom

    oh hon,
    my heart goes out to you.
    I also am walking this path……

    I feel for you….so much…..

    you are not alone…….

    more hugs

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