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One Cobble at a Time

Anxiety and Answers

Sandra Tayler's Journal

responsible woman

A cobble by itself is just a small stone, but when many of them lay together they create a path . My life is made up of many discrete parts. I have to find ways to fit them all into place so that I can continue to journey where I desire to go. This journal records some of the cobbles that create my path.

Anxiety and Answers

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responsible woman

I managed to describe the events of my Hugo experience without once using the words “panic attack.” This was because I don’t like those words. Placing those words on my experience felt like I was stealing them from someone else with more severe symptoms who needed them more. That was not the only reason. My mind was also twisting and turning to avoid applying those words to me. I knew it was a panic attack even when I was having it. Yet I kept trying to redefine it into something else. As panic attacks go it was a mild one. I could breathe, function, and think. On a scale of one to ten with 1 being the mildest, I’d guess what I experienced was in the two-to-three range. Afterward I waffled between feeling like I was doomed forever and saying things like “It wasn’t so bad for a panic attack. I know lots of people who have had much worse.” This was the murky space between normality and abnormality which I approach obliquely in a different post. In the end I had to concede that the mildness of my attack doesn’t change the fact that I was on the panic attack scale. If I am measuring anything in my life on the panic attack scale, it is time for me to discuss it with a medical professional.

Fortuitously I already had a scheduled check up appointment with my doctor. It would have been much harder if I’d had to make a special appointment, because the very act of making the phone call would have forced me to acknowledge something out of the ordinary. Instead all I had to do was mumble “I’ve been feeling anxious lately” in the middle of the check up. My doctor, being a very smart man, let me get dressed before we sat down to discuss anxiety in detail. Sitting in drapes to talk about how anxious one has been feeling lately is not on my fun-to-do list. We talked causes and treatments. Then we checked to see the results of the thyroid test done a month prior. This was a turning point. My levels were too high. The medicine, which I’ve been taking to treat hypothyroidism, has apparently tipped me over into hyperthyroidism. Anxiety is the primary symptom of hyperthyroidism. Probable cause and likely solution both presented with one simple blood test.

I should be feeling relieved. My increased anxiety is not new and alarming, but just a new iteration of an old problem. What I feel instead is tired and sad. I am again at the mercy of my body chemistry. I know this is true of all biological beings, but I like to pretend that I am the master of my self. I don’t like having that particular illusion stripped away. My thyroid balance has been stable for years, and part of me scrambles to figure out why that has changed. There are some very scary answers to that question. There are also much more likely answers which are quite simple, starting with the fact that I’m getting older and that biological systems are never static forever. There are reasons that part of thyroid treatment is a yearly blood test. If I’d called about the results prior to WorldCon, I could have known about the issue in advance. On the other hand it is rather nice to know that my racing heart and shaky hands are not the result of fretting, but that the fretting is my brain trying to explain the racing heart and shaky hands. The next few months will be a long slow process of tinkering with dosages and taking blood tests. Whee. I’ll also be putting exercise firmly back into the schedule because it is the one thing I can do which will improve my general health no matter what other funny things my body and brain may be up to.

Mirrored from onecobble.com.

  • Ooooohhhhh! That makes a lot of sense. I would not worry about it changing. Your levels going up means your thyroid gland is doing better at meeting your body's need for the hormone. That's good news! Especially now that we know you'll be feeling less anxious. *throws confetti*
    • I'm just mystified about why my radiation damaged thyroid gland would partially repair itself after limping along for a decade. I'll be much happier about it when I've found a new balance.
      • I googled around a bit and it sounds like the thyroid can regenerate (a number of organs, and even nerves, will grow back slowly over time). Check out this blog post by a lady who had an experience that sounds like yours:

        http://minichfamilyblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/thyroid-regeneration.html

        I hope that's what's going on with you, not just some kind of weird fluctuation. Either way, though, thyroid replacement is a relatively cheap and easy therapy, so it's all good, as long as your dose is right.
        • Fascinating. Bodies are weird.

          So far, empirical testing with lowered dosage has reduced troubling symptoms. Now I just need to keep it up for three weeks and have my blood tested.
  • Good luck on finding the right balance. I'm glad you found the answer so quickly and that it wasn't that you are just really stressed out. :)
    • Hopefully it is the right answer. This is one of those "tinker with the dosage, wait three weeks, then do a blood test" deals. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

      On the other hand, I do seem to be feeling a bit better today. Like I've woken up.
      • Good! Well, not good about the trial and error part, but good about the feeling woken up today! :)
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