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Stress, anxiety and a “new” environment


justhere
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It’s hard, for me, to believe; but I guess pretty unsurprising, that a different environment, some added stress and anxiety and a little common cold could so profoundly increase symptoms. Usually there is a clear chemical trigger (like recently clonazepam) but not in this case (tho I understand all of these factors do influence brain chemistry) . I know many of you have had similar reactions and intellectually it makes sense but it’s still pretty debilitating at the moment.

A few weeks ago I had an increase in symptoms from Klonopin that’s persisted. I ended up taking a whole week off of work and was very close to checking myself in to a mental hospital. For whatever reason I decided to forge ahead with my original plans to move in for a couple weeks with cousins (until heading out of the state to stay with my parents )and try to go to work. In doing so I began to feel some relief...as I think Jay has suggested  maybe acting “normal”(essentially I was forced to) made me feel more normal regardless of what objectively was going on in my brain. There was simply a positive change in my experience.

Fast forward to now: I arrived last week  to my parents house (they are more uptight than my cousins) in a pretty isolated environment. I’m on the tail end of getting over a minor cold and allegedly I’ll be moving to a new city likely within a month or two. 

Almost like a switch upon arriving my dp has increased quite significantly...I suppose all these factors, subconscious etc. have really influenced the condition and I am hoping I will see a change when I get into a new more comfortable area with a routine again.

Hope your all keeping on 

 

thanks 

 

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As hard as it is, you need to embrace this change and the coming change and try to see it as a positive (as you noticed with your visit to your cousins' place, things are often not as bad as you build them up to be). Just try to jump head first into these new challenges and ride the anxiety.

My mantra, of sorts, is that anxiety doesn't exist in the past. What I mean by this is that we spend a whole lot of time anxious about future events, then the event arrives and we get used to it and the anxiety lessens, then once it is in the past, it is now just a memory that can often be looked back on without the attached anxiety. Eg, this weekend I spent with my in laws in a social situation that caused some anxiety... But now I can look back at it and view the weekend as quite pleasurable, having fun with my niece and having some laughs my my parents in law and brother in law. I have learnt to strip back a lot of the anxiety of future events, deal with the anxiety of present events then enjoy the parts of the memory that are in the past. 

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Thanks Jay

I really didn’t think I was going to cope well at my cousins’ and I did much better than I thought even with the increase—I think my subconscious has influenced my symptoms a lot as of late and possibly the little cold I am just about through with. 

Otherwise I don’t have much of an explanation for why my symptoms would be worse all of the sudden as I did not take anything. Subconscious stress, anxiety and being out of my daily routine (and I’m way more isolated so I am not forced to be “normal” out in the world etc.) I would imagine is the culprit here. 

Right now distraction is all I can do until I make my next move and unfortunately the dp at its worst cuts me off significantly from former interests/nostalgia to where it’s hard to get into anything but “faking it” and doing it anyway has always helped even just a little so I’m back to it. 

hope your collarbone’s healing up

thanks as always

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In life, there is always change.  We move, new jobs, school.  People drift in, people drift out, and sometimes we lose someone.  Without a disorder like hppd, life constantly shifting can be hard to deal with.  Having this disorder can amplify the stress of change.  All we can do is the best we can do.  I found that facing change and dealing with it gets me through.  I don't want to turn into someone who insulates themselves to avoid the stress of change.  I can see how I could have easily taken that route.

Also, wherever you end up, however life changes, stand up and be proud of who you are.  Just because we have a disability doesn't mean we're lesser people.

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I think with my significant increase in symptoms over the past 18 months I’ve just grown very tired.

this last increase tho, as said, didn’t seem to happen from anything I ingested but simply going back to live with my folks and perhaps a cold. Since it wasn’t a drug or med I am hoping it will normalize as I continue to move on and just throw myself into whatever is coming next 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all: just an update: my symptoms from before either went down or I don’t know what happened but “something” changed for the better (I even noted when i started to feel differently in my journal) 

Right now-as it were- I think I’m dealing with another increase in symptoms from tryptophan—-This sounds silly and I hope it’s just my hyper awareness and anxiety that’s lead to a flare up rather than the food actually messing with my serotonin levels enough to hurt me. To be sure I was thinking/worrying about my hppd being affected before eating but, at the same time, meat and carbs (taken together) do produce more serotonin in the brain

either way I’m sure I’ll bounce back as my symptoms always get to a more manageable level over time.

 

 

 

Edited by justhere
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Wonderful to hear that things are improving.  I think one of the things this forum communicates is that things often do get better.  Sometimes just minor progress, but for most of us that's encouraging.

I know what you mean about sensitivity to anything we ingest.  Most of my life I've felt very sensitive  to certain foods/spices.  Also, I have a "over the top" reaction to "over the counter" medications.  Interesting.

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Thanks MadDoc,

 

yeah Im still in a rough state generally but I find that my symptoms will peak for days or a couple weeks and then tend to stabilize (tho as of writing they have yet to return to my baseline) 

Unfortunately I can never tell (and I don’t think any of us can) if when I feel a bit better that’s because my symptoms did actually lower in intensity or if I just got used to it. 

What stuff sets you off and how long do these reactions tend to last?

thanks!

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What sets me off?

Any non-prescription cold medication.  Even a tiny amount of pseudoephedrine feels like a nasty form of speed.  Anything with dxm makes me feel sick.  I'm talking about the correct dosage.  Acetaminophen knocks me out.  I'd rather be sick than take any cold/flu medications.

At one point in my life I was given beta blockers to control my blood pressure.  The doctor said it was a "minimal" dose.  After I started taking it I became very depressed and I felt like I was in a fog all the time.

On the other hand, I love hot peppers.  I literally feel euphoric after eating hots.  Almost like a mild opiate.  I don't see a downside to that so I eat lots of hots.

I avoid processed foods because they generally make me feel awful.  I don't know if it's the chemicals, colorings, sodium or what, it makes me feel like I have a hangover.  

Cannabis is out of the question.  Even a particle of weed sends me into a panic attack.  However, I take CBD because just a small amount helps my insomnia.

Perhaps I'm just a hypochondriac but I don't think so.  Something is going on.

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No that’s all very valid stuff...unfortunately I’ve had diagnosed pure O OCD well before I even had HPPD and the hyper awareness and obsessiveness that’s taken over (specifically since I ate that turkey on Friday) is unbelievable 

The silver lining is I am learning how much my hyper focus and anxiety is affecting my symptoms...I never truly gave my mind/environment any credit in influencing hppd significantly...

I mean I ate chicken and carbs Friday evening well after the turkey and my ignorance that chicken had any tryptophan kept me from worrying/thinking about it while eating...I did not have any reaction 

while meds have clearly made things worse in the past—I am not so sure about the food...and the not being sure part is killing me 

the constantly checking my symptoms and hating them and fearing them is a prescription for disaster...

When I started this thread a few weeks ago my symptoms seemed/were worse (what’s the difference !?) and I chalked that up to my new environment and latent stress and anxiety...I even remember not being to not focus on my symptoms upon arrival...hyperawareness again

I felt better within a week

but now since I feel sensitized to eating food I feel like I can’t relax and let it die down like it just did before. If it was a med I would not take it again and it’s clear to me but with this I feel like I am monitoring everything I eat 

ugh..I know that’s a lot 

Thanks for bearing with me 

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I'm going to bring up meditation again.  I even roll my own eyes I bring it up so often.  So, here I go again.

I too went through a phase of hyper-awareness.  Every little thing became significant and simply "being" became more and more difficult.  Compound this with a brain that was constantly chattering away and my stress started to become a health issue.  I had a great doctor who sent me to meditation training.  I stuck with it, practicing every day.  At first it did very little.  Over time I suddenly "got" how it was helping and it has helped me immensely.  Without the practice, at a minimum, I'd be far more depressive and wound up.  It levels the brain by teaching you how to choose which thoughts to "unpackage".  Over time this ability becomes more of a reflex action.

It doesn't cost anything other than time.  You don't need a guru, crystals, or whatever.  You just need a comfortable place to sit, persistence, and patience.

Thought it was worth a mention (again).

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On 5/4/2019 at 6:52 PM, justhere said:

Thanks MadDoc,

 

yeah Im still in a rough state generally but I find that my symptoms will peak for days or a couple weeks and then tend to stabilize (tho as of writing they have yet to return to my baseline) 

Unfortunately I can never tell (and I don’t think any of us can) if when I feel a bit better that’s because my symptoms did actually lower in intensity or if I just got used to it. 

What stuff sets you off and how long do these reactions tend to last?

thanks!

I react the exact same way. Several times I've told my sister I think my symptoms are getting better, but then I realize I might just have got used to them. Then a few weeks later it is worse.

My symptoms progressively gets worse and it doesn't really seem to matter what I do in regard to my substances, diet, health, etc. I don't know if it is because I am constantly stressed about this and that is actually the reason it is getting worse. Though, there seems to be some triggers that makes it progressively worse faster, like sleeping pills (Zopiclone, Melatonin), nicotine, not enough sleep, stress... but not sure, because of above (maybe getting used to it). Alcohol is the only thing that doesn't seem to make it worse, but still not sure.

Edited by Sami
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On 5/9/2019 at 1:51 AM, MadDoc said:

I'm going to bring up meditation again.  I even roll my own eyes I bring it up so often.  So, here I go again.

I too went through a phase of hyper-awareness.  Every little thing became significant and simply "being" became more and more difficult.  Compound this with a brain that was constantly chattering away and my stress started to become a health issue.  I had a great doctor who sent me to meditation training.  I stuck with it, practicing every day.  At first it did very little.  Over time I suddenly "got" how it was helping and it has helped me immensely.  Without the practice, at a minimum, I'd be far more depressive and wound up.  It levels the brain by teaching you how to choose which thoughts to "unpackage".  Over time this ability becomes more of a reflex action.

It doesn't cost anything other than time.  You don't need a guru, crystals, or whatever.  You just need a comfortable place to sit, persistence, and patience.

Thought it was worth a mention (again).

I did a course in transcendental meditation two months ago but I am struggling to do it regularly - even though I feel once I've done it it makes me a lot more relaxed and I have less anxiety. Problem is getting started, closing my eyes and seeing how my VS is progressively worse from when I meditated a few days ago, or a week ago. So I get constantly reminded of the progress and it's really frustrating considering the other benefits I do get from meditation.

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