lizcommotion: Lily and Chance squished in a cat pile-up on top of a cat tree (buff tabby, black cat with red collar) (Crazy sign)
[personal profile] lizcommotion posting in [community profile] anxietysupport
I'm currently having some snowballing of anxiety and health issues creating a nasty downward spiral that is in and of itself anxiety producing. If these topics aren't triggering for you, feel free to keep reading.


Last year I was largely incapacitated due to nerve issues in my foot (Morton's Neuroma) and other sundry issues. Ended up feeling really, really depressed and had to get treated for it. This year has largely been better, thanks to some physical therapy and a vacation where I got to do a lot of walking. I learned to ride a bike! I got off of a medication with horrible side effects! Things were looking up.

Possibly TMI for some folks - Then I started having really bad PMS issues. (One of the things they don't tell you about being a queer woman is that your and your partner's cycles may interfere with each other.) As in, I have had some sort of female hormone thing going on for about 2 months. And I haven't killed anyone (yet) which I figure is a minor miracle.


I have been having dizziness and nausea of increasing intensity for the past 4-5 weeks. Since these are such common symptoms, I've been to a number of specialists (cardiologist, ENT, neurologist, you name it). They've played with my meds (always fun) and generally aren't entirely sure what's causing it. Plus an unusual number of headaches (migraine + tension).

The crappy thing is that exercise was my main coping mechanism. I'd just go to the gym and sweat a lot and build up endorphins and things would start looking up. But I'm not supposed to exercise, because (1) it makes the dizziness worse, and (2) they're afraid I'll fall and hurt myself. (Heck, I'm afraid I'll fall and hurt myself.)

But with all of this stress and the lack of exercise and coping stuff I've started having panic attacks again. As in, wake me up in the middle of the night. Which of course makes everything worse. And then I start blaming myself, or thinking it's all psychosomatic.

I've tried meditation in the past, and it's helped, but I'm WAY out of practice.

I'm feeling a little bit better since there's now a theory as to what's causing this: vestibular migraines, which are migraines that make you dizzy but may not give you a headache. Weird, I know. But that means it's super-duper-extra-important to deal with the anxiety.


Anyone have any tips of coping mechanisms to try when you can't do much of anything due to health issues and are totally freaking out? Know of any good meditation resources or other kinds of relaxation techniques?

If you've read this far - thank you!

Date: 2011-07-08 03:11 pm (UTC)
dorothean: detail of painting of Gandalf, Frodo, and Gimli at the Gates of Moria, trying to figure out how to open them (Default)
From: [personal profile] dorothean
This is something that has come up a bit in my Dialectical Behavioral Therapy group. I made a list, which is at home right now, but when I get home from work I can look at it and see if there's anything like what you're asking about.

The one I do remember is what we call an "emergency kit" -- this is a list, or a physical box of stuff, that you put together when you are feeling well and calm, that contains things that cheer you up/calm you down/whatever you need when you are in crisis and it's hard to remember or seek out help.

People in my group have talked about what's in our kits, and there's a big variety: photos, souvenirs from vacations, reminders to call a certain friend, reminders to take meds, a favorite book or movie, something that smells good, music, kind letters from friends, a quilt, etc. One of mine is a checkbook that's completely balanced. :P

I am also working on what I think of as emergency instructions, which is a flowchart starting with the different unhelpful mental/emotional situations I get into, with arrows pointing to different DBT skills that can help. This is useful for me because I have learned and practiced a lot of different skills for coping with things, but it's often hard for me to access them when I actually need them the most.

Date: 2011-07-10 08:04 pm (UTC)
dorothean: detail of painting of Gandalf, Frodo, and Gimli at the Gates of Moria, trying to figure out how to open them (Default)
From: [personal profile] dorothean
Glad that sounds useful to you!

Just checked my list, and I don't think it fits your situation the way I thought it might. Here are a few things from it that are not specific to my particular situation:

+ have an emergency contact list of people who can give you support (best friend whom you've talked to about this, therapist, etc.)

+ for getting through situations that seem too huge to deal with, just focus on the smallest step possible, the next 5 minutes or even smaller amount of time

+ accept that there are reasons why [situation] is happening that are not your fault, that you are okay and a worthwhile person


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