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Topic: The Ebb and Flow

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. CatastrophySam
    CatastrophySam avatar
    9 posts
    18 June 2020

    Right now I'm in a pretty bad place, full of panic and over analyzing every small feeling - twitching/pain/subjective weakness etc and trying to short circuit it with logical and rational thoughts.

    I always remember what a psychiatrist told me at the beginning when all of this started... I will always have anxiety however my control over it will get better and there will be times it comes back but my ability to control it will mean the fluctuations will get less and less. This has largely been correct. There were times at my worst when I was frozen and shaking uncontrollably on the bed thinking the worst... I haven't had that in 6 months.

    It has been since October 2019 when I noticed weakness in my arm and then my leg. Then the twitching started in my right leg. I can honestly say these 2 areas haven't progressed any or anything noticeably in 9 months... This logically should put my mind at ease immediately... but the anxiety in my brain will try to counter it by saying 'what if you do have something serious, but it's just a slower form of the disease' I then try to short circuit that thinking by knowing that if something is very slow (even though not realistic), then it's still okay.

    Right now I have trouble in my articulation. I noticed a few nights ago that I was swallowing too much (maybe some allergies) and a few days later my tongue felt tired/sore and I could articulate as easily. I also know I'm thinking about this too much which is making something that has been nearly a subconscious movement in to something I'm analysing for each and every word spoken. This has happened before and went away, which should put my mind at ease immediately but again my brain will counter the reasonable/logical thinking by saying 'what if it is getting weaker and you can't cope anymore?'. I know this is impossible, if you can't move something then you can't move something. It's as simple as that.

    Despite my logical thinking making overwhelming sense, the illogical/irrational thoughts still pepper away and come and go with intensity. Some weeks I feel like me again and others (like now) the world looks like a different place. I know through my own experience that it will subside again however practice makes perfect eg. mindful meditation/positive assumptions etc. If you're reading this and at the beginning of your journey, just know that it does get easier, and if you fall again, it's normal. You will come out of the fog.

    2 people found this helpful
  2. ecomama
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    2202 posts
    18 June 2020 in reply to CatastrophySam

    Hi CatastropheSam, welcome to the forums.

    I see that you've posted in the Anxiety forum and hope you can share more about any diagnoses / ailments you may have?
    If you're not comfortable then that's ok too!

    I understand that anxiety can also be experienced along with PTSD (both of which I've been diagnosed with).

    Some of the things you've described seem obviously anxiety driven but some have hints of PTSD and I am not a MH professional so I can't help with this understanding much, sorry.

    During my triggering time when the PTSD is triggered at it's worst, I have also found it impossible to articulate words or string a full sentence together and / or find words that I knew I knew.
    Does this make sense?
    This is how the PTSD I've had manifests at it's worst.

    Have you had things checked out by your GP to rule out any physical / illness issues?
    If not then I would do this asap.

    Also if you want to share more / ask questions or seek support for how you're feeling, please let us know.

    I'm sure others will be along to respond to your thread soon.

    EM

  3. CatastrophySam
    CatastrophySam avatar
    9 posts
    18 June 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Hi EM,

    Yes I went to 2 neurologists who have both done MRIs, lumbar punctures, NCS and EMG (scary) who ruled out all the scary stuff. Funny thing is that even after all of those tests I would convince myself I had something... It must be so frustrating for doctors.

    The initial weakness was caused by severe foraminal stenosis in my C4/C5 and C5/C6 which then gave me hypersensitivity to my body as it took them time before they found the stenosis.

    By articulation I mean I'm so tense/stressed and start swallowing so much that I pretty much tire my tongue out and it starts to ache/feel swollen and some words become harder to say. I never even knew that was possible before it happened. Last time it took months to resolve to the point I didn't notice it anymore.

    So essentially I'm a healthy 32yr old with a bad neck and some herniated discs in my lumbar that deflect 2 nerves going in to my right leg.

    I don't have anything to have PTSD about but sometimes I feel like the intensity of the possibly diagnosis being discussed at the time in October changed me.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. ecomama
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    18 June 2020 in reply to CatastrophySam

    Hi CS

    I'm super glad you've had all that stuff checked out. Have your bloods returned okay too?

    I hear you about all the medical tests etc. One of my children had years of medical intervention and now she can't make a Drs appointment by herself. It took years for the Dr to diagnose pernicious anaemia and it was undiagnosed years later when an we got an evil person out of our family. Now she has shades of PTSD there in her. High anxiety for sure over this.

    My tongue swells too with some situations, I haven't worked out which ones though. I think it's when I don't WANT to say the words.

    But bodily reactions to how we're thinking or feeling or how we're psychologically feeling are SO COMMON.
    If you read Mara's thread on Complex PTSD (not saying you have that at all) she mentions all sorts of physical reactions when she has to confront distressing things.

    My sister-in-law's mouth and gums begin to bleed when she sees an injured animal. She tried going to the RSPCA to get a rescue dog and it happened there for the first time. INCREDIBLE.

    SO if your physical reactions are 'only' anxiety then what do you plan to do?

    One thing I checked out that it's okay to share here is ..... when I can feel my anxiety rising and know my bp is rising too then I do some robust exercise like sweeping the long driveway outside or raking leaves or washing my car or taking the dog for a fast walk lol.. not sure if he likes that but there it is lol. I thought that if I ALREADY have a fast heart rate then I should exercise and break the 'feedback loop' inside my brain that associates these triggers with triggers..... matching the high heart rate to an healthy connection - exercise.

    This is working well. It's helping me push past the triggers and create a new feedback loop which is more mentally healthy.

    Hope that makes sense?

    Do you think you could do something similar in your life?

    Love EM

  5. CatastrophySam
    CatastrophySam avatar
    9 posts
    19 June 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Hi EM,

    Yep bloods were all okay apart from my CK levels which were very high but then decreased when I stopped exercise.

    I think it's just a learning process for me now on stopping the process happening again. I know what happened again this time to set it off and I will avoid that in future.

    Certain things I was apprehensive about, such as mindfullness meditation and breathing techniques are things I really understand are very important in the process now. It like a natural relaxant etc. I've also gotten pretty good at changing my assumptions to positive ones and the way that I might google search.

    Just today I really didn't want to get up and go for a surf. It was cloudy, windy and raining on and off but I forced myself to get out there and I find keeping that going if very important. I don't feel great that I've done it, but I know I would've felt annoyed about it if I didn't.

    Exercise got quite bad for me, all this anxiety has triggered asthma which I haven't had since I was a kid. So the pulmonologist now has me on a preventative. My neck and back give me a bit of grief as well so I try to do sports such as surfing which are low impact.

    I've never heard of gums bleeding but nothing surprises me now. Through this and studying about anxiety I've seen that everyone has different physical manifestations of anxiety which can come down to their DNA or just how extreme their anxiety is.

    I'm in that phase right now of trying to break the loop. I could feel it coming and knew it was gripping me again but I wasn't proactive about it. The physical symptom triggers the fear and then the fear increases the physical symptom (even creating new ones) and round we go higher and higher.

    My job is also quite stressful and I have weekly targets to hit which give another layer. When I'm like this I just can't perform like I used to. I'll come out of it though and definitely will avoid my most recent trigger which was some exposure (part of anxiety modules). But I realise I just can't expose myself to it... yet.

    What triggered your own anxiety/PTSD? Do you feel you have a good handle of it now?

    Cheers, Sam

    1 person found this helpful
  6. ecomama
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    2202 posts
    19 June 2020 in reply to CatastrophySam

    Dear Sam, thankyou for sharing more. I know for myself that my work can be extremely stressful but my heart is in it and it's kinda like my calling if you get my drift?
    It's the things that have happened in my personal life over long periods that have created Anxiety / PTSD.
    I've beaten depression over a long period without "support" - long story. But it could pour back in at any time so I am my own sentinel there.

    On my thread 'new person' somewhere here lol I talk of the therapies I'm having / doing and their successes / challenges.

    I'm really glad you went for that surf. You can be very proud of yourself for pushing through to do something for yourself. I call these times "push me - pull you" times (like in Dr Dolittle)...
    Notch that one up as a SUCCESS. I believe you would have felt worse if you didn't go.
    Surfing is part of our culture here. I have a bond with the water here. I see broad spanses of water from my balcony and lounge room and kitchen sink lol. It's soothing to me.

    Exposure therapy - I talk of that going on for me in the strangest of ways lol with my Specialist Trauma Psychologist. I took 2 month's leave recently to embark on it. I'll only go back 3 days per week for maybe 6 - 18 months not sure yet. As a sole parent with sole custody of all my children, finances could be tricky lol. But I'm pretty much all over that atm. I hope!

    I told my psych that I've dealt with SO MANY triggers alone but she more or less said I hadn't because I still had triggers (NB the past tense I'm trying to use lol!). She has peeled back the trigger, what it is, why on the first level, then deeper on the next level, then keeps going till she knows the PERSON that inflicted the trauma at the base onset. And names the whole string of events "THAT person's name".

    Looking at it HER way, I have only TWO triggers. My mother and my exH.
    When I thought it was all these other things / activities / places etc etc etc.

    It wasn't.
    Just 2 people. I am NC with both ofcourse!

    THIS week (Session 4) I noticed afterwards that I am freer. I can now relax to about 90% which is unbelievable really. My sleep is amazing and not disturbed unless by the dog lol and I don't react with fear even then like I used to. I will update my thread presently, more happened today.

    I'm also watching alot of Kristen Neff online and bought her workbook, it's on backorder. Also reading Dr Joe Dispenza.

    Talk soon!
    EM

  7. CatastrophySam
    CatastrophySam avatar
    9 posts
    21 June 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Hey EM,

    What did you do about the 2 triggers (Mum and ExH)? You can avoid them but does your psych think it's best to address them through exposure etc? I've found I just can't expose myself (not yet at least) to any of my triggers because of how quickly my mind starts running and making negative assumptions. Then I literally obsess, to the point where I forget how to use that body part they way I used to. My breathing, hands, leg tongue... everything. I even changed my gait and didn't realise it until I compared to the left leg and then corrected it and the pain I had due to my new gait, vanished in a few days. I was convinced my muscles were changing or not working the way they should. With my breathing I was convinced my diaphragm wasn't working, the lung function test showed my diaphragm was functioning at 140% of what it should. Then with my tongue, I was convinced it was getting weaker and words that would usually just come out effortlessly seemed so much harder and I would get tongue tied all the time.

    I can't believe I'm back in this place. I felt 'normal' for a good 1-2 months and i'm back in that negative loop.

    What have you found to be the most effective at breaking these negative feedback loops? I have small moments where I seem to get clarity but then the anxiety comes surging back.

    I'm a big fan of Dispenza!

    Cheers,

    Sam

    1 person found this helpful
  8. ecomama
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    ecomama avatar
    2202 posts
    21 June 2020 in reply to CatastrophySam

    Dear Sam

    Another fan of Dispenza! lol... he's unbelievably amazing.

    I hope I can answer your questions but ask more if I missed something you're after.

    It's not that I avoid mother & exH it's more that police intervened, jail etc. NC is a better description due to us preferring to live. Victim's Services have put in CCTV - hope you get my drift.

    I could NOT do exposure therapy without my Specialist Trauma Psych (STP) guiding me. No way. I have had a Counsellor for 4+ years & my psych friend noticed me dissociating this year (due to her studies of such) but I may have been dissociating since childhood - IDK.

    Anyway psych friend said I needed a tailored 1:1 program with an STP, so I found a highly recognised one involved in cutting edge research for PTSD therapies. These are weekly sessions atm. My 5th one is tomorrow.
    I wanted to maintain my Counsellor, so have fortnightly sessions with her.
    I also have an Allied Health Professional much like Dr Joe Dispenza.

    My STP wanted the approval from my Counsellor for me to do exposure therapy (ET). She got it.
    My STP had also formally diagnosed me with PTSD and Anxiety. No depression.

    I've not articulated the ET succinctly before. I'll give it a go.... maybe more detail is on my thread 'new person'.
    NB: I would NOT do this alone.
    * Session 3 was via zoom for the first time (previous 2 sessions were via phone). During this session she did a partial ET for the first time. She wanted to 'test the waters' as it were to see if I could effectively settle myself without her intervention. I could. I went from a 75/100 stress level during the ET and down to a 10/100 in less than a minute - she timed me.
    * Homework: Journal same activity through to end, a self-managed ET I'll call it. STPs aim is for me to eventually do this alone via Journalling should needs arise in the future (she aims HIGH).
    * Session 4 revealed I didn't do it properly. I avoided the activity ie opening private emails. Base person exH.
    * Homework: I am to record myself voicing ALL bodily reactions in detail and then imagining sitting at my laptop & opening emails of horrid content & reading them through. I am to listen to this ie my own voice recording every MORNING. Must be morning. I haven't done this yet! I will do it tomorrow morning and she will not be pleased. My session is tomorrow afternoon. Oh well - difficult week.

    STP won't do prolonged ET until we are in the clinic room together. From July.

    Please ask anything you want.

    EM

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