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Before my diagnosis, I had a few problems with anxiety. It showed up in two main ways. The first was a fairly crippling paralysis when I was forced to deal with highly emotionally-charged decisions – a problem which I had not really recognised or worked through, but now know I need to. The second was panic attacks when shopping for clothes in stores with loud music and fluorescent lights. Oddly specific, I know, but that particular combination caused problems. This I recognised, and I dealt with it by doing the best I could, and leaving the store and going to sit outside for a while and relax if it got too bad. So, I had some specific anxiety problems, plus a bit of general anxiety that existed but didn’t rarely cause problems. I had learned to take a deep breath and deal with most of the problems.
A while back, I was on antidepressants. I went through a period of panic attacks bad enough that I couldn’t walk out my front door. But when I stopped taking the antidepressant (venlafaxine) those problems seemed to disappear.
Since I started the great medication experiment this time around, my anxiety feels like it’s so much worse. Leaving the house is a real challenge – I need to plan any going out well in advance, because sudden jaunts are just too hard. My feelings of general anxiety seem more and more intense, and harder to think my way out of.
My doctor (the good one not the crappy one) thought that it might not be a side effect, but that helping relieve the crippling depression I was feeling has brought the anxiety forward. I don’t know. All I know is that I want the racing heart to go away, to feel like I can cope with everyday life again without it tying me in little knots.
It feel even more confusing when I start meds, and things go poorly, but I can’t tell if it’s the meds or if it’s me. I start wondering whether I’m just more broken than I thought.