Last month I was finally diagnosed with migraines – a diagnosis I sort-of knew was coming, but I wanted confirmed anyway. As part of my treatment I was given tablets called Sumatriptan, capable of stopping a migraine in its tracks. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite work for me. Though they would eventually stop a migraine, they took between 6 to 8 hours to kick in, and I wanted treatment to work almost immediately, so I didn’t have to miss days of work. Hoping to find a new tablet to stop the pain, I went to see my doctor again. She did a few tests, and took my blood pressure. Last time, my blood pressure started high and reached a normal level after the seventh try. This time, it started high and stayed high no matter what. As she was taking my pressure, my doctor was asking me about work, and I’ll be the first to admit that I wound myself up talking about tech week. At the end of the appointment, I had an appointment for kidney and thyroid tests, and a 24 hour date with a portable heart monitor.
“If they come back normal, we’ll get you on some preventative medicine and some anti-anxiety meds.” She said.
Numerous times throughout our two (very long) appointments, my doctor had asked me if I was an anxious person, and I consistently replied that I wasn’t. I get a bit stressy in work – yes, but my job is stressful. Surely that doesn’t count as anxiety? I left the appointment feeling relieved I’d be getting more tests, but also confused. Could I really be worrying myself into migraines? After a long discussion with myself (internally, of course!) I decided that I don’t have anxiety – just a stressful job, a stressful home life and not enough downtime from it. The medication being offered wasn’t something I needed, I just needed to calm down in work a bit more.
That night, I woke up at 3am and didn’t sleep for the rest of the night because I was worried about North Korea and Trump trading blows. At the time, it seemed totally reasonable. North Korea was a totally rational thing to worry about at 3am. In fact, I was actually shocked more people weren’t awake worrying. I spent most of the rest of the day worrying about North Korea, and also being worried that I’d been up all night worrying.
Then, I stopped and thought about it, and realised that it wasn’t actually a reasonable thing to do. It wasn’t useful, it didn’t change anything and it just left me tired and grumpy. I slowly began to entertain the idea that, maybe, I was a bit more anxious than I’d thought. I decided to write down things that I did over the week that didn’t feel quite right to me. I’m fully aware that, due to my constant headaches, I don’t sleep very well and that will cause huge behavioural changes – but I’m also aware that my doctor suggested I take anti-anxiety medication, and she wouldn’t say that just for fun.
So, last week….
1. I was awake from 3am one morning, thinking about nuclear war
2. I convinced myself that I had Diabetes and refused to eat biscuits and my birthday cake (to be honest, the refusal to eat didn’t last too long because I love birthday cake)
3. I got extremely angry with Matt because he wouldn’t ring the plumber. I was right about the situation, but I did get aggressive quickly and screamed out him down the phone
4. I convinced myself that I had Diabetes again, because my left foot was numb. It is still numb, but I’d also been kneeling down all day every day last week making props
5. I’d convinced myself that everyone in work would hate a prop I’d made, so I wrote a list of reasons why I’d made it the way I had and kept it in my pocket. No one had given any indication they didn’t like the prop, I’d just convinced myself they wouldn’t
6. I cried because I didn’t think I’d put my hand out in time for the bus driver early enough, and he had to brake hard, and he was cross with me
7. I had a dream which echoed something embarrassing I did when I was younger, and then I was awake from 4am thinking about that
8. I had an enormous diva-fit because I was sick of drinking decaf tea because it tastes of swimming pool, even though I don’t really mind decaf tea now. I’m quite used to it.
Now, I accept these could be the actions of a sleep deprived person. I also accept they could be the actions of a stupid person who loves to worry and complain. I do also accept that maybe I don’t have any control over these things, and that my doctor – a woman who has studied medicine since she was probably 18 and gets paid to diagnose people in 10 minute appointments – knows what she’s talking about and I’m anxious.
I’m currently waiting on some blood results, and on Tuesday 29th I’ll be wearing a 24 hour BP monitor. I’ll be on show call then, and it will be interesting to see if my pressure spikes once the show has started. Once both sets of results have come back, she’ll be making her decision about what to do with me. Until then, I’m to keep away from the caffeine and painkillers, not do anything too strenuous, wear sunglasses as often as possible and try to remain calm.
I’m giving myself next week off from those rules though, as it’s tech week. Everyone needs caffeine in tech week.