So now what?
My first post, yay!! I meant to be earlier, but then my life got a little crazy. Well, more than a little. It was like throwing a wrench into the belly of an industrial air conditioning unit and turning it on. Or one of those weird medical shows where the doctors have just finished a surgery and then when the patient still has pain they do an x-ray and found that surgeon left the scissors in.
I decided a few weeks ago that I was done Lexapro, an SSRI that I had been taking for 4 years, but it quit working right before I left for college, which is a whole different story. I knew that coming off wasn’t going to be a party, that there would be physical and psychological symptoms. And 2 Thursdays ago I broke my personal record for the number of panic attacks in one day (sometimes what my brain can do really impresses me, not sure if that's good or bad) and God bless my college fam for sticking it out with me. I was prepared for the brain zaps, the dizziness and the nausea. Then I could barely walk down the hallway, let alone get to class. Then I felt too sick to even drink water. Then I couldn’t remember if I had gone to class or what I was doing or where I was going. I was so frustrated with my own body, and I felt out of options. I know how to deal with the psychological, but I was way out of my depth trying to fight my own body. When my mom texted me “need to come home?”, I finally gave in. I hadn’t showered in 72 hours, eaten or drank anything in 36, and I was very very tired. So I brought a ticket home for the next morning.
So I got up the next morning and got ready to go to the airport. I got there okay, but to my foggy brain the line looked impossible. At one point I was just kicking my bags forward and pleading in my brain “please don’t hate me please don’t hate me” at the people behind me. Once I got through the line, I learn that my gate is all the way at the other end of the airport, and I still had no seat. But I had an angel waiting for me at the end. I made it, collapsed in a seat and told myself 5 minutes, then I would go up there and get it fixed. I expected a battle, because usually these poor airline attendants are overworked, underpaid, and generally not in the greatest of moods. But she gave a cursory glance at my ID, and handed me a new ticket with my seat number and boarding group. And when I boarded, I had a row to myself, and it was the smoothest ride from Chicago to a very windy Kansas City that I’ve ever had in my life.
Once we landed, my dad picked me up and took me straight our local ER, where there was possibly the shortest ER wait of all time. In less than an hour and half of our arrival, my vitals and history had been taken, blood tested and I was hooked up to 2 liters of saline. I thought the most they would do would be to send me home with a prescription for anti-nausea, tell me it was all psychosomatic, maybe give me max one bag of fluids. I honestly did not expect for them to take me seriously at all, and I think most neurodivergents feel that. I'm with you people, and I believe you. Don't give up on yourself.
At one point, the doctor told me my blood tests were indicative of hyperventilation and dehydration and he wanted to give me Ativan. I very rudely refused, and told him straight out that I knew what anxiety felt like and this wasn’t it. To all my fellow anxiety, depression, and any other mental illness sufferers, DON’T EVER STOP ADVOCATING FOR YOURSELF. Some doctors will just ignore you, but if you stay calm and keep on it, they will pay attention. Don’t ever give up on yourself. You know your body and you know your brain.
Long story short, (and much to my frustration) I’ll be at home for the next couple of days. I’m working on getting better and working on school, because my amazing professors and Loyola’s student services department have been super accommodating in letting me work from home. I owe a big massive thanks to my college family, who dealt with a lot more than most eighteen year olds have. They stuck by my sorry butt through a lot and I honestly can’t believe how lucky I am with the people in my life.
I'd like to end most of my posts with a pretty quote and picture, sometimes it'll be an entertaing story about college kids generally scrabbling their way through life. But tonight it's a quote.
In the words of Glennon Doyle Melton, "Carry on, warrior"