Random thoughts on anxiety, depression…….

The other night, lying there trying to convince my body and brain to relax enough to go to sleep, I kept hearing weird things. I thought the wind was howling, like a winter storm. That would be sort of cool, but it made no sense because it was pretty much still summer here. I looked outside, and sure enough, nothing was moving in the wind. There was no wind. I then heard sirens, but they kept going. The sound didn’t change like they were driving; it just went on and on. This is not unusual for me. I have tinnitus constantly and was told I had nerve damage in my ears. I suspect that when I had Toxic Shock twice in college, the high fever did some damage. I used to have some tinnitus as a kid, but it was only bad when my allergies were bad. Now, it’s a constant issue.

However, I learned something the other day from once again being disrupted while trying to sleep. My brain tries to make sense of the noise. It’s a natural thing for our brains to do. We try to fill in the blanks. We make “stories” to make things make sense. There’s plenty of research to show this. I began to wonder if my problems with sleep and even concentration had to do with the fact that my brain was always occupied with trying to make sense of the constant noise.

I took that idea and began to expand it. I know that both my anxiety and my depression now have a very organic aspect to them. The biochemistry has taken on a life of its own. Neurons fire and misfire without always having a context in the external world. In other words, there isn’t always a clear reason about why I am depressed or anxious. There is a physical reason for these sensations now. It’s like the needle on a record slipping into the groove over and over again.

So, I thought, what if the anxiety crops up because of the biochemistry and then I create a reason to be anxious in the external world???? Does that organ known as my brain misfire, leading to anxiety, and then I try to make the sensation of anxiety “make sense?” Do I do things that make anxiety fit into the context of my life? Do I create more problems for myself with stupid mistakes and lack of focus because there is that underlying sense of anxiety anyway?

I know from reading research on anxiety and depression that they are complicated. There is a relationship to things in the external world, but they also tend to become self-perpetuating because of how the body functions over time. Every episode of depression means the likelihood of another episode higher. Often early in the illness, there is something that triggers the onset. For someone who can recognize the symptoms so early in my life, it is not unexpected that it is less likely to be triggered by something out in the world. People who take anti-depressants are able to avoid some episodes, and that can have long term implications. So, do I at times create situations that fill in the blanks, that give both depression and anxiety a context?

I’ve been not feeling too well the last few days. I’ve screwed up on my meds and incoming money, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to get more Lyrica tomorrow. I’m worried about that because withdrawal is so bad for me with that drug. I need to stay on it consistently or I’ll get really sick. I don’t function well without it. I’m worrying a bit about my anti-depressants because I just read that anti-depressants lead to lose of calcium. Maybe that’s why my fingernails are so weak. I worry and worry.

My anxiety is a lot like that annoying tinnitus In small doses, it can be manageable, but when it just goes on and on or when it becomes more intense, it blocks out other thoughts and makes it hard for me to focus. It makes life difficult.

I hate this entry. I haven’t written in a week, and writing this blog was so important to me. I was very excited to start it, and now I feel like in a short time I’ve just hit a wall. How did that happen? I know this is all over the place. In some ways, I’m posting this just so that there is an entry. I’ll work on a good entry this week. I have to check something off my list. This is it today.

It gives you just a glimpse of how my brain bounces around, getting some good insights but not really able to settle down on any topic. It’s hard to make decisions. I feel so anxious about even picking the right thoughts, the right things to do and focus on. How silly. I twist and turn in endless circles, pulling in ideas from everywhere, but unable to move forward. I’m tired of my body and my brain not working like they are supposed to work. I’m afraid of who I have become because I don’t want to be a mess. I just am so tired. My body hurts, and my brain is so befuddled.

I feel a need to apologize to the audience I haven’t yet found. I want to be more, so much more, than I am right now. How do I get there from here? That’s always the question, and I don’t know all the answers. I’m not sure I know any tonight.


~ by Janice Holladay on October 3, 2011.

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