Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hi, my name is Alison...

Some of you who haven't been reading since the beginning of this blog may not know that I have an illness.

It isn't lupus or Crohn's disease. It's not even asthma. It's a mental illness.

Just to type that phrase is scary to me, like you'll read that and think, "She's crazy! Run!"

(Yes, I am crazy, but that is not what I'm talking about here.)

I think we still have a hard time thinking of mental illness as an illness that needs to be treated. I know I do. For the past year and a half, I have been treated for anxiety and depression. I have taken my medication every day and been so, so thankful that it works. Because, you see, the mental anguish that clinical depression and anxiety brings is as awful as any physical pain I've ever had. Worse than childbirth, really, because I couldn't get an epidural for my brain. But since I've been better, I had kind of assumed that it would never come back.

The past few days have not been good for me. My major symptom is insomnia, and I've been waking up before 5 every morning, unable to go back to sleep. So I've been anxious that the worst is coming back, that all my gains have been lost, that I'll have to suffer again. All that anxiety doesn't make for a peaceful day or a sleep-filled night, so it's a vicious cycle.

I do have a plan in place. I have medication to help me calm down enough to sleep. If, as my husband thinks, this was triggered by hormones (which totally can happen), I should be better next week. If not, I'll need to consult with my doctor about changing my dosage to get me back to a good place.

It's just the waiting that's hard. I've been so happy the last 18 months, it's hard to have to fight something I thought was taken care of. However, as with any chronic illness, it can reoccur and thank goodness there are plenty of options for keeping it under control.


  1. Shit! I hope you can manage to stay relaxed enough to get through this one. Of course anxiety feeds anxiety and that's not real handy. I'm wondering how old you were when you were diagosed. We worry about my daughter because she makes things so difficult for herself and there is much family history. I wish you well! And a good night sleep! erin

  2. Hopefully Justin is right and it will correct itself in a week. I'm so sorry you've had a rough time the last few days. It's hard to deal with lack of sleep under any circumstance, and I can only try to imagine how much harder it is when you're dealing with anxiety and all it's complications. I'm praying for you, girl.

  3. My husband has an anxiety disorder as well, so I can relate to how you have been feeling! For the first year of our marriage, we did not do anything outside of the house. Nothing, no movies, no groceries (I would pick them up on my way home from work), no outside activities period.
    Then I made him see a doctor, and they put him on paxil. It has been a lifesaver, for both of us. He takes one pill a day, and he is his old self.
    I will keep you and your family in my prayers, I know how hard it can be on someone.
    Hang in there!

  4. Hope everything gets back to better soon. Needing more sleep isn't good under any circumstance, but it being fed by anxiety is worse. Best wishes for you.