The Raven

The Raven

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Nut Cracker

Mental disorders fascinate me; I want to study the brain and know why! Alas, mental disorders will always haunt me. As a child, I was always tormented by panic-provoking thoughts and fears of abandonment. None of my fears and anxiety, even if they were normal for a child, were ever validated; I was always told I was overeacting or too sensitive. A child never overreacts- they just react.
The same brain chemistry and activity that propells me to write creatively taunts my mind with a sort of brain tourettes- horrilble images and ideas flash without warning in my head and can make me sick and faint. In 2005-06, I became reclusive, fearing I may pass out in public for no physical reason at all, which frieghtend me more. When I forced myself to go to work, as a cashier at a local grocery store, and college, my entire day was spent obessively trying to stay busy to force my mind to think of normal things. I was constantly talking to myself mentally to calm myself down. It was exhausting! My palms were always clamy and I had I had a persistant feeling of needing to run away from whereever I was. If you have ever seen an animal dying, or near death, trying to run and hide somewhere away from the danger- that is the best way I can describe how I felt. The danger is within and inescapable. At the end of the day I settled into bed, only to fall victim of the thoughts waiting on my pillow to become nightmares. I spent many nights sitting up, reading until my eyes physically could not stay open.
I finally went to the doctors after reading about panic disorders and the brain. My tormenting thoughts always obsessed over blood, injuries and gruesome torture. And, ofcourse, before any diagnosis, they had to do bloodwork! It was not an over-active thyroid or any other physical condition causing my weary feelings and dread. My mohter went with me to the lab. I sat in the chair with my head between my knees the entire... hour, it seemed, in an overcrowed, timy room. People kept asking me and my mother what was wrong. I couldn't lift my head up- being too weak from having to fast the eve before and the gripping fear of needles and blood leaving my body, the smell of rubbing alchohol, the cold February wind whistling through the door, atleast I have a reason to be shaking, the sun making the pavement shimmer blindlingly and creating that light that I can't describe but depresses the hell out of me! the people coughing, the phone ringing and the WAITING. Everyone in the room, seemed concerned about me. My mom sat next to me, talking listening to an older woman talk about her senile mother, who fell backwards into her giant planter. The image of it made me laugh a little. When it was finally my turn, one man said to me, "we want to see you walk out of there!" While laying on the table, that they had to clear off, b/c most people can remain upright during this primitive process, the song playing from the speaker above me was Tom Petty's Waiting is the Hardest Part. Tell me about it! After it was done, I layed there for a while and my mom eventually helped me up and we walked out to the waiting room- everyone applauded me!
 My dr gave me a pill that I could pop in my mouth whenever I felt the attack coming. I used them for a few months along with some therapy she recommended. Sitting, waiting, to talk to the therapist- anything in my hands became twisted, brittle and damp from my sweaty palms. My legs wobbled like a dog's going to the vet or a fawn learning to walk.
Therapy didn't help much. The woman was exteremly wise and kind and patient, yet she couldn't save me from my own head. After some time under this care and some complications with the insurance company (I actually had insurance at that time!) I decided to quit. I read more in detail about brain chemistry. I decided that my head just wasn't working normally and therapy alone was not going to help me. I went back to my doctor, and told her I wanted to try the daily pill we had discussed the first visit. It was Paxil. I began that in 2006 and within the first week I felt happy and the tormenting thoughts were still there in the distance, but I could rationalize and ignore them with extreme ease. I thought more logically and clearer. The only thing that I hated about it was that it quelled my creativity and made me very tired. To this day, at age 25, I still am medicated with Paxil- a fairly low dosage at 20mg. Even though I am a success on the meds, I still suffer from another disorder, or family tradition, alchoholsim.
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1 comment:

  1. When I was in 1st grade I would cry almost EVERY day as soon as the bell rang because I was afraid my mother would die on the way from work and never pick me up. Ironically in Kindergarten, the year before, I never cried.