Posts Tagged ‘#NotSponsored’

Blood Pressure

March 23, 2020

I have refrained from writing about the following because of anxiety and embarrassment. However, I realize that I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I have been struggling with my mental health and my physical health for a long time. I do not like to talk about it but, now that things are getting better, I feel strong enough to talk about it. I have long suffered from anxiety which often overlapped with depression. This led me to me binging on bad food and hiding in my room when I lived in New Jersey. I did not really take care of myself but anytime that I got a little sick, I panicked. Homesick and depressed, my mental state deteriorated. I gained weight. When I got bronchitis, I panicked and thought that the problems from when I was 12 had returned and I was dying.

When I returned back to Baltimore from New Jersey, my mood lightened and I worked at a job that was very physically demanding so I lost weight and got stronger. After that was over, I got a desk job where I was once again not getting exercise. This job started out alright and I was happy to have found work. However, it was social work for the government and my generalized anxiety and social anxiety made it very difficult. I did not know how to deal with the phone and piles of work. I felt stressed all the time and I had migraines all the time. One day, I had a full-on panic attack and I rushed from the office to the urgent care center half a block away. I could barely breathe and my blood pressure was so high that they called an ambulance.

After a hospital visit and during a period of time away from work, I visited a doctor and was told that I had high blood pressure and anxiety. Something got stuck in my head and I was afraid that I had developed diabetes and that I would be blamed. Worse, I would have to deal with needles every day of my life. I started going to the gym but stopped going to the doctor. I did not want to know what was wrong with me. The medications my doctor gave me ran out but I did not go back to renew. I did no further tests.

I lived more or less normally, my weight fluctuating as I gave up on the gym and then went back. After my family went through a particularly rough encounter with alcoholism, my brother pushed me to get therapy. I went but got little out of it. My therapist left town to attend to her granddaughter and I did not find another. However, eventually, my brother suggested I visit a psychiatric nurse practitioner. He pushed the issue and I eventually gave in. This was the first time in my life that I was diagnosed with generalized and social anxiety. She took me seriously and I took her seriously.

She prescribed me Xanax and, once I adjusted to it, it was like night and day. The fear and anxiety I felt every day lifted. I felt more confident and I felt happier. I went back to the gym, realizing that I would stop going because I was anxious in public places. I would go back because I had heard that you could work off diabetes. I was told by my new nurse that I had troublingly high blood pressure and that, although I felt fine, I was definitely not. I found another doctor and they started to do tests on me. They could not figure things out so they ordered bigger scarier tests. I quit and walked away.

Recently, I switched my insurance to Kaiser Permanente and went in for a visit again. I was finally ready to accept whatever was coming to me. I immediately fell in love with the new set up. I was not visiting with a doctor who was a resident in med school who cared but did not seem to have time for me. Instead, I now have a doctor who speaks plainly with me and is super approachable. I can message him through an app with questions and he answers the same day. The big thing is that the laboratory is inhouse so I can just walk over and do bloodwork or whatever. It makes it harder to make excuses and avoid things.

I am now also on blood pressure and cholesterol medications and I am working with my doctor and the nurses to get my numbers down. I am starting to see improvement and I am sticking to the gym. (Historical note: My gym was closed due to Covid-19 last week). I have a blood pressure monitor at home which automatically sends my numbers to the nurses. I am doing a lot better and I am feeling a lot better and clearer. Best of all, my doctor finally shot down my old fear that I had developed or was developing diabetes. No diabetes. I’m doing pretty great, actually. I am also doing a job that I love and that leaves me with a lot more energy at the end of most days. So that’s how I’m doing.


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