Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A dilemma

I've got a really difficult decision to make. For the last fifteen years I've suffered with quite severe anxiety, sometimes leading to depression and frequently, bouts of insomnia. In the past, during a particularly bad episode, I was put on medication which was - not only ineffective - really not a good solution, as it make me feel very strange, kind of discombobulated and fat! I've tried all the usual self-help stuff, like lavender aromatherapy, St Johns Wort, Nytol, yoga, meditation, exercise, etc. I've read endless self-help books and last winter, during a period of quite severe depression, counselling. Nothing I have tried has had more than a short-term benefit.

My anxiety manifests itself in a serious of strange ways. Generally speaking it is constant and non-specific, though travel (particularly involving an over night stay), or having to get up early in the morning, can trigger quite alarming symptoms of panic. I can brood for months in advance of an event. And I recently had to pull out of quite a prestigious conference at which I had been accepted to present my research, because I couldn't deal with the journey (the actual presentation strangely caused no anxiety at all!). It had started to affect my ability to take up opportunities which will benefit my studies and my future career, and so I resolved that something must be done.

So today I went along to see my lovely and very understanding doctor. She did an assessment, which confirmed that I have severe anxiety, suggested I purchase a light box to help me through the winter months (when I often get very depressed), and made me an appointment with the practice therapist, who specialises in anxiety disorders. She also suggested I tried medication. Beta blockers are out, cos I have asthma. So she's offered me SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). They sound fab - really effective in the long run without the weirdness associated with the drugs I was taking before, neither are they are addictive. However, I was rather alarmed to find out that they can, in the short-term, make anxiety worse. Not only that, they have been linked with suicide - especially in teenagers (i.e. Seroxat). I'm no teenager, but I am on my own, and have no one to keep an eye on me 24/7 in case I do have a bad reaction. So, what do I do? I desperately want to get better, but I can't face the thought of feeling worse, even if it is only for a few weeks.


Anonymous said...

You might try LENS Neurofeedback. It has been discovered that the cortex can become stuck and the traffic jam of brain waves is experienced as anxiety. You can read about it in the Healing Power of Neurofeedback by Stephen Larsen. The neurotoxins from candida can really impact the brain, LENS really helped me tremendously as I recovered from Candida.

Djinn said...

Hmmm - I dunno. My problems are inherited and caused by a serotonin imbalance, and have been with me for a long time before the candida showed up. And this neurofeedback thing smacks a little of electro-shock therapy to me. I mean, I know it isn't the same thing at all, but I still don't fancy having electrodes attached to head. And I doubt I'd even have access to that kind of treatment living where I do, and being on a student income. I think I'll stick to the tried and tested methods for now. I'm seeing a therapist in a couple of weeks, who should give me a few strategies to deal with the anxiety and advise on appropriate treatments for my circumstances.