Over the course of November, I have chronicled my social anxiety and my struggles with Ativan. In “Realities of Ativan” I discussed researching this medication and the ongoing struggles with my psychiatrist over my dosage. It’s a great read.
I wanted to update something about this “journey” and how it continues to get worse as the days in November continue. The first problem I have is the amount of Ativan that I have available to me during a thirty-day period. I have a morning dose and an evening dose of 1mg. It’s not a high dose, and as I research this issue more, and with the comments with my last blog on this subject, the doses for each person varies.
I used to take 1mg three times a day, and did for almost seven years until my psychiatrist at the time three years ago changed the dosage and then she decided it was time to retire. Since that time I have fought to get back on a dosage that worked for me for seven years.
Since that time three years ago I have had more panic attacks than I did in the previous seven years, and more hospital visits because of my anxiety. I get it, Ativan is a short-term solution drug that is very addictive. I have no doubt that I am having issues because of the length I have taken this medication. But I didn’t ask to be on Ativan. The doctors just gave me the medication not telling me that this short-term drug is not for long-term use.
My second problem is that my last three psychiatrists (I have had so many in the last five years, I discuss this in another blog) have flat out refused to change the dosage, but offer no solution. My current psychiatrist basically told me to just take it like your supposed to and that was it. No, let’s work on this. Nope, it was this is it and see you in two months.
This is a downside of being in the “system of behavioral health,” none of the people really want to fix anything. State/county run behavior health always changes psychiatrists on me, and I have no control or stability with these psychiatrists. I like to compare it to a fast-food joint. I go in and out in five minutes and always leave with more questions than answers. I spend more time sitting in the waiting room than actual face time with a psychiatrist.
It helps to have my therapist/caseworker on my side and she is right there battling with me all the time, but her power is limited.
So the last few weeks I have had no choice but to adjust and make up for the lack of medication by waiting until my anxiety is so high that I take an Ativan. This usually happens by the afternoon. Up until that point, I am a mess just waiting for my anxiety out. What has changed is that I feel better after taking that first dosage, but then hours later my anxiety is worse.
Over the last week my I have had a panic attack late into every night, usually before I am trying to sleep. I have had to take a third Ativan a few of those nights. I am trying to work on my sleep hygiene, but I am so stressed by the time its time to step that I just can’t meditate. I do mindfulness breathing which helps most nights, and it helps to work on my CBT exercises with mood induction with music.
I am weary.
I have been so strong lately but there are just moments where I can’t be me because of my anxiety. My anxiety is so out of control and while I can work on my CBT it is only effective when I can work it before my anxiety takes me completely over.
I have thought a lot about the possibility of checking myself into the psych ward during my vacation from school to get off the Ativan. It would be a controlled environment which is recommended. I could also talk to my doctors about slowly getting off Ativan on my own, but considering how bad my anxiety is right now (3:38 pm) when writing this before taking my Ativan, I am doubting I will ever be able to be off of Ativan.
So this is where I am at in the moment. It worries me that I am no closer to getting my anxiety under control than I was in January just before ending up with the hospital with really bad stomach ulcers (I was so anxious every day from January to my hospital visit in February it was just crazy) and the stress I am under then has gotten worse.
I always talk about working on my mental health, and I do work on it every day. My anxiety is just something I need to find control. I was meditating in the morning. Maybe I need to bring that back. I do my mindfulness breathing even more. But at some point, my psychiatrist has to discuss this issue and help me fix it. It is getting bad enough to where I fear hospitalization.
Please Help me Publish my Memoir
I am almost done editing my memoir “The Bipolar Writer,” and I have decided to go down the self-publishing route. If you can donate anything towards my goal, it would mean the world to me. I am still working towards enough to pay an artist for a good cover. Those that donate will get a special mention in my memoir on a page dedicated to those that made my memoir possible. Thank you in advance!
Photo Credit: Bulkan Evcimen