I am not one to air my laundry in front of people, be it dirty or clean. But I finally feel like I'm making progress, and that needs to be celebrated.
To understand my excitement, you'll have to venture back with me to that time of swollen joy, aka: pregnancy.
Near the end of my pregnancy, actually, at my 34 week check-up, my blood pressure was a little high, and my right leg was swollen. My doctor decided he wanted to send me for an ultrasound on my leg to check for any potential clots since only one leg was swollen. He also wanted my blood pressure to be monitored, fearing that I may have been developing pre-e.
So, I was sent to the hospital, where my leg u/s checked out fine (it was actually a pretty cool experience overall, minus the whole being pantless while a reformed hippy, complete with his long locks, squeezed my leg for about an hour). I was then hooked up to a blood pressure cuff, told to get comfy, and settled in for 23 hours of monitoring.
My BP stayed elevated, and it wasn't a very restful evening, because every time I would hear the cuff begin to tighten, I also felt my heart start to race.
Anyhoo, after 23 hours of monitoring, I was given a prescription for BP, then sent home to rest. My water broke just three days later.
Well, my BP ended up staying "elevated" (you'll understand the quotes soon) even up to my 6 week pp appointment. So, I made myself an appointment with my family care doc to figure out what was going on.
As a pregnant woman herself, the doc felt that I had developed "white coat hypertension" during my pregnancy, in that I had a perfect pregnancy up to that point, and had explained the stress involved with the 23 hour observation. She suggested to monitor the BP at home, and let her know the results.
After a few good results, I was free! Or, so I thought. I got a high reading, and that's when I think my downward spiral started, or, at least came to the surface.
I totally freaked out. I started shaking, I couldn't concentrate and just kept thinking that something awful was going to happen and no one would know. I couldn't calm Ansley down, and in turn couldn't calm myslef. I ended up calling my dad over, at 9:30 p.m., to sit with me until the hubby got home from work.
And, it happened again, the next day. We were traveling two hours for a wedding, and I freaked out in the car. I couldn't sit still. I felt like my heart was racing and my throat was closing up. I needed room to stretch my legs, and felt trapped in the car. That night, I decided something had to be done.
After talking with a family friend, it was suggested that I see my family doctor regarding what she, as a NP, felt was an anxiety issue.
To make an already long story seem a little shorter, we realized that I had been struggling with anxiety for a while, and pregnancy only helped me realize it.
I can now say, that after 6 months on a low-dose SRI (seratonin re-uptake inhibitor), I've now been given the go ahead to come off of it! I've developed this sense of freedom. I no longer have to go through certain steps to calm myself, such as driving by my house whenever I hear a fire alarm, or checking five times to make sure I locked the doors, or pulling to the side of the road to make sure my tailpipe wasn't smashed in, leaking car exhaust into my vehicle which would kill me and my daughter.
I no longer have to go into her room every hour to make sure her chest is still rising and falling, and feel her face to make sure it is warm. I don't have to get sick to my stomach whenever it starts to rain in fear that a tornado will surely come and rip my house apart.
And, it feels good. It actually felt good to know that the high BP was a result of the anxiety that developed and my tendency to fixate on the problem. It feels good to know that there was actually more going on than mere lack of faith. And it feels good to know that I may have reprogramed my thought process.
For a while, I've known that I was much more than a worry wart, but felt ashamed admitting it, especially when Ansley came along.
I was worried that people would judge me, especially my friends who are very strong in their faith. I was worried that I was making it up, and it bothered me that I couldn't just "get over it" as people would tell me.
Will I come of the meds? I don't know. It is something that the hubs and I will have to talk long and hard about. But, I feel like we're moving in the right direction. I feel encouraged that this isn't simply a lack of faith, though one can never have to much of that. And, with each step I take, I am constantly reminded that I'm not in this alone.
As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like I'm kicking anxiety's booty. It wore me down for a little while, but I'm finally starting to figure out it's moves. Watch out, anxiety. Tiffany has got your number.