Emotions. They can be rather tricky things. Especially if you miss a dose of your anxiety meds. Effffff. I hadn’t done that in such a long time. I had been pretty consistent, though never taking my pills at the exact same time every day. Taking medication at all annoys me, even if it helps me, even if I need it.
Last week, I was exhausted from attempting to clean the dickens out of my house in preparation for Easter. Monday night I fell asleep at 8:30pm. I had been taking my pills at night and while the idea of them danced through my brain as I dozed off, I reasoned that the dogs would get me up soon and I’d take the pills then. To be honest, I’m not sure if they did wake me up that night. It is too long ago now and I was too tired to remember.
I do know I woke up Tuesday morning around 6:30am with the panic inducing thought of, “I didn’t take my pills last night.” Shit. I really didn’t want to take them that early, I prefer night as I have been closer to taking them around the same time that way. I knew I couldn’t put it off until that night though. I would go into some form of withdrawals for sure. So I took my meds, cursing the fact that I was now taking them in the morning.
I do not like taking my pills in the morning because if I’m running behind, that is one last extra thing I have to remember to do. Also, I do not have a set schedule at all, so I’m never up at the same time every day. One day I wake up at 6:30am, the next it could be 9:30am, and on a day off it may be 10am. Which means I’m all over the map for taking my pills.
Still, it is what it is, and I need my meds to keep the panic attacks at bay. I swallowed them down and promised myself I would ease my way back into taking them at night. Wednesday I took my pills a little bit later in the morning. Thursday I had off from work. I decided I would push my pills back until the afternoon. This way, by Friday I could take them at night. It wasn’t the gentlest, slowest easing back to night time pill taking but it was better than just saying “eff it,’ and jumping from morning to night like I have done in the past. See, I’m growing after all!
Thursday did not go as I had planned though. I slept in and lounged about for awhile. Then I got ready and went to visit a friend. I had anticipated getting back home around 4pm at which point I would take my meds. However, my mom text me and said that her and my dad were on their way over to install the new faucet I bought for my bathroom and as payment I could feed them dinner. (That’s a fair trade in my book).
In all the chaos of the afternoon/evening I didn’t remember I still needed to take my meds. I remember watching Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal that night, feeling extra emotional during them. I am someone who can tear up over a good commercial so it is not unusual for a tv show to get me worked up a bit. Something felt off though. The emotions felt a little too raw, a little illogical. I remember thinking it was odd but I had no explanation. Around 11pm or midnight I was very stuffy and congested. It hit me; I hadn’t taken my meds… Fuck. I got up and took them immediately.
Despite being tired and not having any caffeine late in the day, or napping, and having been up since a very reasonable 9am on Thursday, I could not get to sleep that night. My stomach hurt, I was nauseous, I was agitated. I couldn’t get comfortable and I couldn’t quiet my brain. I was keyed up. I was frustrated. It still wasn’t dawning on me as to what was going on. It had been so long since I had felt this way…
Friday morning I got up for work, I felt miserable. My body ached, I felt out of it, somewhat removed and also raw. I ate my cereal and made some coffee. I was mentally trying to figure out what was going on with me. Withdrawals. Thanks to a hectic week and going hours past when I should have had my meds, twice in a week, I was now suffering. I have always been sensitive to missing a dose of my anxiety meds, no matter what med I have been on for it.
As it became clear to me why I was feeling so miserable I started to panic, which is oh so helpful. I started imagining my day at work, knowing how raw and jumbled my emotions were, how miserable I felt physically. I tried to assess whether or not I could put my best foot forward, working with the public, or if I would somehow screw up, being short tempered and rude. It all felt too much and I realized I had tears in my eyes that were starting to spill down my cheeks. It felt like someone took all the range of human emotions and shook them up inside my head like a snow globe, letting them all fall at once. I was scared, I was agitated, I was panicked, I was so so sad. I felt like I was going to throw up and my body hurt.
I called in to work, somehow bumbling through the conversation, hearing myself talking, analyzing myself talk, and not sure I was even making sense. As soon as I got off the phone I was tearing up again. I started texting my mother who was the one who brought some clarity to the moment. She encouraged me to bust into my essential oils. “Get some of your calming oils,” she said. “You must have some for the physical symptoms too.”
I filled my diffuser with water, put in some lavender and Valor (a blend of oils), and sat it as near to me as I could. I put lavender on my hands and cupped them over my nose, breathing in deep. I took some peppermint to calm my stomach. My pups got on the couch and snuggled with me. I wrapped myself in a blanket, inhaling the wonderful calming scents from my diffuser. I felt a great deal of relief.
I was still very jangled that day, and felt rather off. I was exhausted by the time nighttime came. I fell into bed, totally wiped out, very mad at myself for messing up but also feeling a little bit better. The next day I went into work and it was a bit rough but I wasn’t feeling quite as miserable, my emotions not as raw. I have since taken my mother’s wise advice and set an alarm to remind me every night to take my pills. A thought I had had many times over but never followed through on.
This week, I’m feeling much better. I’m still very embarrassed for having screwed myself up. I do not like messing up, I certainly do not like feeling the way my mistake made me feel. Still, in some ways it was humbling. It reminded me that I do have a battle to fight, daily. That anxiety will always be a part of who I am. That if I don’t take care of myself, I will feel miserable.
It was also a wake up call. To know that my body is so dependent on my anxiety meds, and how strongly it reacts if it doesn’t have them makes me want to work harder to find natural ways to manage my anxiety issues. I need to find something that works with my body rather than coming in and kind of forcing normalcy on my system. Which… maybe doesn’t make sense but it does to me. For now I’m just making sure I am doing what I can to take care of myself and to keep myself feeling the best I can.