After a miserable night, including lying on the cool wooden floor of the laundry while I called to a health line just to be reassured that I was probably either having more anxiety/panic attack symptoms or possibly a tummy bug (and not a heart attack or some weird thing from drinking too much water), I saw the Helpful Psychiatrist today.
Yesterday was a BAAAAAAAAAD combination of things – the hottest day we’ve had here for a while; very painful injections into my jaw to get the filling repaired and the TMJ and neck pain I get from pretty much any dental work (but I am still so chuffed with myself that I had the small filling done with no locals at all – go me!) a very bright full moon, and our bedroom facing west into the hot afternoon sun – it was SO HOT in there that lying on the hall floor was cooler and more comfortable. Plus days of building anxiety and panic for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on – possibly exacerbated by heat related lack of sleep – I get super worried when I can’t sleep (which of course makes things worse, worrying about not sleeping is worse than the not sleeping itself!) because I am scared lack of sleep will trigger a manic episode.
Last night in the small hours I tried using the mindfulness skills MP3 and felt like I got some rest while I was trying to focus on that – but it wasn’t until about 5 am that I finally collapsed into sleep and was able to get my CPAP mask on and LEAVE IT ON. (When I panic I get funny about the mask. And it’s unpleasant on a hot night to have that much STUFF touching your face, you know?
ANYWAY. The Helpful Psychiatrist noted that heat waves are BAD for mental health patients – in fact, in some places there is apparently a setup to send ambulances for people most at risk. So many of the mental health med1cat10ns mess up your thermal regulation – and if you can’t sweat, you overheat. (I have an added twist in that my HRT isn’t right – I’m looking into getting it changed – so hot flushes can suddenly arrive that leave me COVERED in sweat, I mean dripping, not just a ladylike glow. Great combination there, huh! Not sweating at all when I need to or swimming in it!)
After tearfully explaining that I hadn’t been sleeping and couldn’t tell if I had a tummy bug or if the churning stomach and frequent trips to the loo were caused by anxiety she said “Well, quick way to find out: take an anxiolytic and see if the symptoms improve”. I’m hoping that now I know what taking the prescr1pt1on (At1van, l0razepam in the gener1c) feels like I’ll be able to learn the difference. I put one under my tongue as soon as we picked them up at the pharmacy, and whether it’s because we were in and out of the air-conditioned shops (and aircon in the car, SUCH a luxury, my first car with aircon!) – my snuffle-panic has stopped. Mostly.
And she also suggested a trick she learned from a fellow student when she was studying medicine: on the super hot nights, wrap yourself in a wet sheet. (Or towel). This makes so much SENSE! After all, it’s what I did when my poor old cat Moet got heatstroke. I wet an old towel and have had it draped around my shoulders (and two fans blowing) while I write this. It’s almost dried and I have felt much cooler.
We also went to the big chain hardware store and bought two very cheap and nasty banana lounges – they’re very plastick-y so we have them set up to outgas as much as possible before we want to use them tonight – it’s so much cooler outside than in at night that for at least part of the night, I think I’ll be resting under the back patio, which is often the coolest place if you ask the cat – and cats are well known experts at finding the coolest spots!
(Just back from the chiro, and ahhh! the manipulation has helped my TMJ and neck. Now I just need to rest well later in the cool.)