Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?

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Anne's Randomness

My greatest fear

Happy Halloween, O readers. One year ago today, I posted the last installment of the main Dangerverse. Who would have thought that one year later, I'd be... well, pretty much just where I was last year at this time, except more so. Things have changed, certainly, but mainly they have not changed for the better, I'm afraid. Let me explain.

As most of you know, I inherited from my father a tendency to light-sensitive migraines. What I did not know until recently is my mother's contribution. From her side of the family, I seem to have inherited a higher probability of depression and/or anxiety. The little qualifier is there because I've never been thoroughly examined and diagnosed, so I can't really say what's wrong. Just that, as many of you know all too well, I tend to talk myself into downward spirals, which get deeper and faster the more people try to pull me out of them. It's frustrating, to me and to the people who care about me.

Lately, the two conditions have decided to play feedback loop. I walk into my workplace in the morning, and the brilliant white fluorescent lights, reflecting off the brilliant white tile floors, touch off my migraines. The computer screen at my desk, and the screen on my cell phone and tablet, only make things worse. I begin to get angry with myself for being so "weak" as to have this problem, and then I get upset with myself for being angry with myself, and the stress makes the migraine worse, and... well, you get the picture. It isn't fun. I end up spending a lot of time in the nearest coat closet, which is the darkest and quietest place available to me on a regular basis.

Up to this point in my life, my migraines have always been occasional. They would sometimes last a couple days, up to six or seven at the longest, but they would only strike once every couple months. This latest one has lasted two weeks, and it is not going away. I am typing this with my eyes mostly on my fingers, because every time I look up at my screen, that nasty dull ache starts above both my eyebrows. And while I do have medication, it works only for a short time, and only if I can get out of the triggering environment... which means if I take it at work, it will only help if I go home, and as mentioned, I've been having migraines every time I walk into the office. Not a particularly sustainable situation.

I've also started experiencing fun little anxiety episodes (that sounds so much nicer than "panic attack", don't you think?) when I try to do what used to be very ordinary things. Drive on the highway, for instance. Sing with my choir at church. So when I had a doctor's appointment last week, I told the physician's assistant that I thought I might be having trouble with anxiety, and he prescribed a certain drug which he said would probably help. I was told to take it once a day, and that it might take a couple weeks to fully kick in and relieve my anxiety, so he wanted me to come back in a month for a checkup to see how well it was helping.

Would this drug have helped my anxiety? I can't say. The side effects, which hit pretty much instantly and included being snapped out of a sound sleep at 3 o'clock every morning and constant agitation while awake, were so disturbing to me that I had to stop taking this drug after less than a week. I then proceeded to have such severe withdrawal symptoms that I had to work from home on Friday, because my head was spinning so much that I would not have been able to drive safely. Ever so much fun.

So what is my greatest fear? Well, it's multifaceted, but really it comes down to what do I do now? Now that looking at a computer screen, which is necessary both for the work that earns me money and for the writing I love to do, is causing me pain that doesn't seem to respond to anything I can do? Now that things that I used to do casually, things I still need to do on a regular basis if I'm going to live any kind of normal life, cause me to shiver in fear and gasp for breath, and the first cure I tried turned out to be worse than the disease?

I know there are other medicines out there, medicines that work differently and might be better for me. I know there are people I can talk to, people who might have ideas that could help me. But finding those medicines and letting them take effect, finding those people and getting slots on their calendars, all that takes time, and time is the one thing I just don't have. Literally -- I'm out of paid time off at the office, so I either go in Monday and try to cope with the pain or I'll have to call off unpaid. And bills don't stop coming just because the person who pays them is sick.

You probably didn't need to know all this. But I suppose I just needed to tell someone. So now I've told the universe. Go me. Oh well. *shrug* Thanks for reading, if anyone still is, and sorry to be a downer. I'll try to have something a bit more cheerful for next time.

10 Comments to My greatest fear:

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Anna on Saturday, October 31, 2015 10:26 PM
Lots of hugs. I'm here and reading, and wish I could do something to help. My only suggestion is trying to see an actual therapist as opposed to a physician assistant. If you would like I can ask some friends for recommendations who are in the medical profession in Pittsburgh. As money, sadly I'm not rich (where is that lottery win universe?), but contact me off blog, and if you need something I might be able to provide something. Your stories have helped me through last 2 years of absolutely awful things that happened to me so the least I can do is return the favor. Hug, and hang in there.
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Kaylee Lyrri (And Donut) on Saturday, October 31, 2015 10:43 PM
Oh Anne!! Lots of hugs (and seagull snuggles) from us too. I can only second Anna's suggestion, though I don't know anyone else up Pittsburgh way (at least, not that I know of - I don't know where every single one of my friends live). I'm not rich either by any stretch, but I'm willing to help where I can. You've enriched my life tremendously, with DV and now with your original writing - my NaNovel is even begging to be a Killdeer fanfic, or at least Anne-something fanfic *facepalms* "Unofficial sequel" perhaps? But if that's not to your liking I will put my Muse in a choke-hold and tell it to write a story about Swedish fish for Donut... Donut: Mine fish Anne. *seagullsnuggles* That means he loves you and wishes you many fish (good things, whether actual fish or not.) *hugs* Lyrri and Donut
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Scott on Saturday, October 31, 2015 10:46 PM
I wish I could think of a way to help, and I hope you can find something, pharmaceutical or otherwise, that works better for you and makes these symptoms dial back or go away. Hugs!
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greatlakesmolly on Saturday, October 31, 2015 11:32 PM
There are those of us who are here for you, no matter what. Yes, I want you to get better and write stories. But I care about you, and when it's time for the stories, I believe they will come. What's more, the writer will know more about one of the hardest things to write about: vulnerability.
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Rachel on Sunday, November 1, 2015 4:59 AM
Hey Darling, *massive squeeze hugs and love* Sadly I know that all the hugs and love in the world can't pull you out of a depressive episode, my sister suffers with depression, it's difficult to watch and not be able to help. However I spent my teenage years having panic attacks at the mere thought of going to bed. No trauma preceeded this development, I just started shaking and crying as I got into bed one night.... weird. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for you, even to just read the supportive words of your fans/friends. You've been there for me for a long time, since danger verse 2 I think was posting. So, if there's anything I can do from the UK, care package, moral support anything. Just let me know if and I'll do what I can. *even more hugs and love!!!* Rachel xxxx
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Amanda Cox on Sunday, November 1, 2015 8:47 AM
I've suffered with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. My boyfriend is bipolar. You can imagine how interesting that combination can get. I think you need to speak with a psychiatrist and get diagnosed so that you can be properly treated. A physician's assistant just doesn't have the knowledge to be able to really help you. If you call around you should be able to find a psychiatrist that has late evening hours. Most of them do to be able to accommodate their patients schedules. I know I don't speak up very much but I have been with you since the middle of LwD and I am here to support you as a person and not just as a writer.
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Jme13 on Sunday, November 1, 2015 9:08 AM
I just finished rereading the DV, which I've followed for years, and I love both it and your other work (I think I've bought everything you have on Amazon). My husband went through something like this (including the dizziness on an antianxiety med) so I know from the outside how tough this can be. I hope you have some good support people in your life! I hope you don't mind some suggestions; if you can't handle them right now feel free to stop reading here. (1) if you're seeing a regular medical doctor, try to find a psychiatrist to see also; they have much more experience with the medications for depression and anxiety and how they work together (or antagonize) with each other and with other meds. (2) since your illness is making it difficult/impossible for you to work, talk to your doctor/psychiatrist about putting you on short-term disability. Depending on how the doctor writes it up, disability does not have to be "no work at all"; it can be "work when you are able to do so" but it should also provide some pay for the times you're not working (at least for a while). This is not a long-term solution but it may give you the time you need to get medication sorted out. (3) if you have a diagnosis, your work should make accommodations for your condition; maybe there are different computer screens or a darker office space that would help somewhat? Talk to the HR department. (4) All this talking can be tough so if you have a friend or family member you trust, see if they will come with you and help out with this. I know this takes a lot of time but try to just take one step. I hope you are able to deal with this and feel better!
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Erin on Sunday, November 1, 2015 10:48 AM
You have brought me so much comfort and support over the years, unknowingly, that I feel I need to say something here. I have commented or reviewed once or twice, always wishing to do more but never having the opportunity as I usually read on my phone in five minute spurts because of children. I wish I had been more supportive, because my appreciation is great for what you have provided. What you have mentioned above has rung very true in my heart. You are in the earlier stages of what has been my struggle for many long years. I understand completely how it feels to be anxious and not know what is causing it, to have pain and not know how to alleviate it, and then to fall into depression because of the feedback loop both put you in. I have been EXACTLY here. You know you need to be proactive in order to get better. It may not work. That sucks. But you have to fight. I keep fighting, always,and sometimes are rewarded with more troubles. I keep fighting anyway. Some things you might want to consider: your anxiety and migraines might not be feeding each other but both are being caused by Sensory Processing Disorder. I encourage you to look it up. Knowing I have it has changed my life. Re: Migraines. Sunglasses? My prescription sunglasses, which I had made extra dark, have really helped with my light sensitivity. Also, I strongly encourage you to seek out a GOOD chiropractor. Getting adjustments at least weekly has changed my life. It is considered a necessary expense in my house, like food. Re: anxiety. Yoga, extra B vitamins [I take one by Klaire labs, order it on amazon. Less than $30 for a two month supply. Works MUCH better than any drug I've tried and I've tried most of them], A quality probiotic daily has been proven to greatly reduce anxiety. I think the one we use is also by Klaire labs, and also ordered on Amazon. I hope you can use any of this. And please feel free to reach out to me on Facebook if you need anything: Erin Mossman Calvert. You have encouraged me to give writing another go, and I'm starting my novel for nanowrimo today ;)
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haminac on Monday, November 2, 2015 4:21 AM
Actually I enjoyed reading this post more than several before it, because it gave me the feeling of not just whining off randomly (which is important sometimes, I understand, but becomes tiresome to read quickly) but actual information and a sum-up of what's been going on lately. I hope that you find ways to deal with the situation and wish you a lot of strenght and just the right littel amount of luck you'll need!
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Tocom on Monday, November 9, 2015 3:05 PM
Dear Anne, I hope you will find the strength to get help. It is strength to get help, not weakness. And a good therapist can do wonders I can tell you that. With best wishes from the other side of the big water! Tocom
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