November 2, 2011

Truthfully, Honestly

Truthfully. Honestly, I've been struggling a lot with my anxiety this week. None of my self-management skills are really working and I've had to dip into my xanax twice. I hate to take those pills but sometimes I have to in order to avoid a complete meltdown on the highway on the way to pick up my daughter to take her to a doctor's appointment.

It started on Sunday. I took a leftover pain pill from my c-section for my teeth. As I was laying in bed watching Gilmore Girls like I always do at night, the pain began to fade and the fuzzy headed feeling began to take over. This time however, when the fuzzy headed feeling began to creep in, the anxiety came with it.

I don't know if the feeling of the pill triggered the memories of PPA or if it was knowing that I would have to call the dentist on Monday and that he would tell me I would have to have my wisdom teeth out, but ever since then I've been in a state of anxiety almost 99% of the time.

I'm having my wisdom teeth out first thing Friday morning. Yes, I know that it is completely irrational for a 28 year old to have a fear of the dentist, but I do, and it has always been a huge anxiety trigger for me. So going to the oral surgeon, this quickly and unexpectedly is probably throwing me for a loop. Couple this fear with a dramatic change in my routine and the intense separation anxiety I am already feeling just knowing that I won't see my kid for essentially three days and I have been a complete basket case. It is irrational, and I know that. The fear is not of the surgery itself. People keep telling me it's so easy, it'll be over so quick, it doesn't even hurt that bad, but none of that addresses the root of the anxiety. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, having my wisdom teeth out will be a cake walk compared to a forty-six hour labor that resulted in an emergency c-section. My child will be absolutely fine; she will be well cared for by her two adoring grandparents who raised me. They are thrilled to have her. Rationally, I know all this.

But see, that's the thing about anxiety, it is by its very nature, irrational. When I had PPD/A I could deal with the depression better than the anxiety. The depression I could step back from, separate myself and examine logically. The anxiety was the irrational part that I couldn't separate from. It took over my rational mind completely.

It's like that white hot adrenaline rush you feel when something triggers your fight or flight response, all the time. You stomach is constantly knotted in dread. Your limbs are robbed of their strength and feel heavy, numb, like they do after a hard work out. Your neck hurts from being constantly tense. If you are me, your hands are dry from constant washing and your left wrist is sore from where you tuck your thumb into your fist and rhythmically squeeze, hour after hour, all day long. Your right foot never stops jiggling. Left thumb squeeze. Right foot jiggle. Over and over. Ad nausem, et infinitum.

I've been back living in that world for three days now and I can only hope that after Friday when things return to normal, when the dreaded oral surgery is over and Sunday when my baby comes back that I'll get back to normal, that this anxiety that I normally manage so well on my own will disappear. I'm doing my deep breathing, my visualization and most importantly for me, I've been praying. Praying. Praying. Jesus, carry me.

I know I'll be fine. My faith is strong; my husband is too well attuned to my disorder to let me step over the line between barely hanging on and plummeting in the dark. Either way, I'll be fine. However short it may be, I am just not enjoying this season of my life.

{left thumb squeeze}