I’m at a crossroads in my Social Anxiety life. Do I go left or right?
They say for every action, there is a reaction. I’m sure Newton’s third law doesn’t really apply to what I will discuss in the following blog, but it makes sense enough to the subject in which I will be discussing. This is part three in a series of blog posts where I share my experiences in living with social anxiety.
In my last post, the discussion was about the revolving door of psychiatrists in my and the latest chapter that saw me not getting the help I needed. I knew after the appointment that there would be real-world consequences and they were felt today.
My social anxiety has reached high levels again after weeks of working to lower it to a reasonable level so that I can enjoy life outside my safe place—where I live. One thing that is always a constant in my battle to get my anxiety under control is my Ativan. When things are going good, I need less of it.
It is part of the reason why a couple of years ago I agreed with my doctor that lowering my Ativan intake would help me become less reliant on it. At the time it made sense, I had my anxiety well under control. The problem that arises with Ativan is that it is a controlled substance, so the government is forcing doctors to prescribe less of the medication because of its addictive qualities. I was never told this simple fact, they just gave it to me. I failed to realize the reason I had my social anxiety under control at the time was that I took a morning, afternoon, and evening dose.
Since changing to just a morning dose and an evening dose, my anxiety has done nothing but increase and at times at such high levels that I get to a point where I can’t leave my house for weeks at a time this year. That brings us to how yesterday’s action, me not being able to talk about adjusting my medication specifically my Ativan, has a negative reaction today.
I just went through a hard stretch of anxiety where I was forced to take more than my dose on certain days so that I could manage to leave my house. This week especially has been hard because of finals. My anxiety is just naturally higher during this time. When this happens, it depletes my Ativan greatly. Another reaction to this is that because Ativan is a controlled substance, the pharmacy won’t refill it early. It becomes my own personal catch-22 because I am damned if I force myself to only take my Ativan as prescribed my anxiety spirals and there really isn’t anything that I can do.
Over the last year and a half, it really has been a war with my doctors in whether they will increase my Ativan again. My doctors have tried different things to no avail, and I realize writing this I still have my CBT which helps, but it only goes so far. Some days I just wake up extremely anxious.
So today I tried what the doctor told me, “just take it like your Ativan like you’re supposed to.” I took my morning dosage at my regular time and by late afternoon it wore off. It was bad timing too because when my social anxiety reached its peak for the day, I was driving my car. By the time my anxiety had entered full panic attack mode I was pulled over on the road reaching for what little Ativan I had left. With some mindfulness breathing, I was able to get the anxiety under control. But why did it have to get to this point?
The best that I can do is try to not take my first dosage in the morning for as long as I can so that, by aking it in the afternoon, it will help me survive my day. I will have to deal with some level of anxiety by increasing my morning meditation, and my mindfulness breathing to throughout the day. I have to find a way to use my CBT to an advantage again.
I think my biggest problem is that often when things are good I think I don’t need to do my mindfulness breathing and my CBT. The truth is with everything that I deal with health wise daily combined with school and writing, there are just not enough awake hours in the day to really fix my issues. I must find balance, which has never been my strong trait in life.
I must continue the process as I work towards fixing my social anxiety life because the consequences could mean hospitalization and deeper into my current depression cycle.
Photo Credit: Yeshi Kangrang