A is for ativan.
B is for benzodiazepam, its drug classification.
C is for calming when taken.
D is for damned, which is what i have felt like for the last three weeks.
i could go on like this for another 22 letters but except for the W i think i will stop. i have been experiencing ativan withdrawal and it’s like having all the anxiety attacks i have avoided or weaseled out of with ativan have been waiting to be unleashed when i say enough.
ativan is a drug used to control anxiety and panic disorder. i have been taking ativan for nearly seven years. every time i get an uptick in my anxiety level, my doctor puts me on a higher dosage. three weeks ago, i was taking three milligrams a day and it wasn’t making me feel particularly calm. but if i didn’t take it, lordy, was i a wreck.
in 2011 i had a new years resolution to meet all 325 of my facebook friends wherever on the planet they might be. i stopped being afraid of things because i was forced to do things i was afraid of every day of the year–fear of flying, of meeting new people, of leaving my own house.
three weeks ago i made a commitment to quit, which started as a drop down to one milligram and then two weeks ago became a dive off the cliff. every phobia i have possessed has returned. every inclination to not leave the house. and sleep? fuggedaboutit! i even felt a fear of posting a blog. just because i stopped doing it everyday. i have the shakes. i have had hideous asthma attacks. all side effects of withdrawal. i have given my ativan to a friend who is both close enough that i can get to the ativan in the case of a real emergency and someone i trust to not take all of them.
i can’t wait to tell my doctor that i don’t need a refill, thank you very much.
13 Comments | tags: agoraphobia, anxiety, ativan, ativan withdrawal, face2facebook, facebook, facebook friends, panic attacks, panic disorder | posted in Uncategorized
so i went to a yoga class at south boston yoga studio with my facebook friend mary mcmanus. last year, she was friend number 168, meaning she was the one hundred and sixty eighth person i saw in 2011. she took me on a tour of my older son joseph’s campus–in all four years he attended boston university, i had not once flown out to see him. bad mother? maybe. but it was because i was afraid. afraid of travel, afraid of flying, afraid of everything. meeting all your facebook friends all over the world puts a dent in the fear of flying thing.
in any event, i told mary that my new year’s resolution for 2012 is to pay forward the encouragement, love and support shown to me by my facebook friends, mary most particularly. she was my cheerleader. she was always one for a good word of encouragement. i wanted to give that to others and i told her i was coming into boston to meet two new facebook friends who have trouble with panic attacks and fear. mary and her husband tom invited me to stay with them. i went out for a three hour lunch with mary the moment i arrived. i felt so loved and so happy. we went to the yoga class in part because mary is devoted to yoga but also because i wanted to see for myself whether it had the anti-anxiety effects mary promised.
it sure did. my acid reflux was gone. for the first time in weeks, i didn’t have that horrible sword in chest feeling. i’m not one for organized exercise classes, never gone in for chanting, but this was the goods! then mary and i went to meet mary tabbi-fuller and her sister in law angela lopresti. i was a little concerned about mary because she had spent the weekend in the hospital, suffering from an episode of low blood sugar. i hoped it wasn’t brought on by anxiety.
the four of us ate lunch and mary had prepared a list of resources for angela and lisa to consider. boston area doctors and therapists and, of course, the south boston yoga studio. and then it was time to try. . .
there are many ways to overcome generalized panic and anxiety — but one that i really appreciate is conquering one thing and then taking that “wow, i did it!” feeling and applying it to other situations. lisa and angela both were afraid of elevators but most particularly of heights. lisa, a phlebotomist, felt that some of her anxiety had led her to calling in sick more than was acceptable and she needed to get a grip on her fear. we chose the fifty second story of the prudential center. . .
i was so happy walking into the light with mary, lisa and angela!
angela, mary, me, and lisa at the top of the hub in boston! notice we're not scared to sit by the window, which isn't something i could have predicted!
today think of something you’re afraid of that you think most people are not. i’m not talking about playing with an anaconda. i am talking about having a conversation with the barista at your coffee joint, riding the Ferris wheel with your kids, speaking up for yourself at tomorrow’s sales meeting, forgiving a friend and letting them back into your life.
1 Comment | tags: angela lopresti, anxiety attacks, boston, courage, facebook, friendship, lisa tabbi-fuller, mary mcmanus, panic attacks, panic disorder, prudential center, south boston yoga studio, top of the hub | posted in Uncategorized