More psych stuff, possibly only of interest to me!

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.)

Oh dear…

It’s HOT. Still around 30 in the bedroom and I am writing this at 1:30 am… feeling sick, my jaw is hurting from the dental work, not  sure if the wonky tummy/IBS is being cause by anxiety or a bug… I keep having the thought that I’m having trouble breathing and I have tried the usual things (nose spray, etc)…. miserable and typing this into the ether…

Going to go lie on the floor somewhere in the house and try and at least close my eyes, although I can’t sleep without my CPAP machine.



I don’t know what went wrong on Wednesday but I didn’t sleep.

At all.

All night.

Which is a scary thing for me because not sleeping can lead to a manic episode.  Which I Do Not Want. It’s kind of a circular thing, too – the not sleeping can be a symptom as well as a cause…

By 10:30 last night I still hadn’t slept and was so panicked and freaked out that I ended up taking a valium – and even then poor Mr Beloved had to come and be my Sensible, as I had absolutely no sensible left myself.  He made a steam inhalation to help my blocked nose, told me the right things about my CPAP mask (which has been freaking me out for no apparent reason lately) and held my hand until I got to sleep.

I think it started with having to take more asthma medicine – it’s been cold and very smoky at nights.   I’ve changed puffers, and even though the pharmacist tells me that the two products come off the same production line and have the same active ingredient, I am convinced there is SOMETHING different in Ventolin.  Asmol *tastes* different – if you gave me a puff of one and then the other I could tell you which was which. Right now I don’t care if it’s purely a placebo effect, I just know Ventolin is working better for me.  (And thank you to my friend Tammy Gamble in Wagga for telling me that she has better success with Ventolin, too.) Shame it’s twice the price.. (it won’t be once I see my GP on Monday and get a prescription.)

And I don’t think Asmol reacted well with the Bipolar medications (or perhaps just the Bipolar itself.)  It’s hard to tell whether the asthma makes me agitated (as my psychologist reminded me in a very useful session this morning,  you’re SUPPOSED to panic if you can’t breathe – that’s a hard wired survival mechanism!) or if it’s the medicine to treat the asthma that’s caused the problem.

Around this time last year I was recovering from having a septoplasty and tonsillectomy and I was having terrible anxiety and panic attacks then, too.  Interesting.

So I’m re-reading the book that helps –

The Happiness Trap

and working on mindfulness.

And now it’t Friday night – home made pizza for tea, and Coast on SBS, then I watch Season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance.  And if I need a valium tonight I’ll take it, but I’m hoping to use other skills instead.  We’ll see.