It's All In Your Head

Discussion in 'Training Logs' started by Ero-Sennin, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    This 'mindful meditation' is that what it recommends? That one be acutely aware of every thought and emotion?

    That's usually contraindicated for anxiety, generalised anxiety and OCD patients. I'm not your therapist, but...if I wanted to lock my son into 3 sleepless days of anxiety, that's probably a good method. That kind of hyper-awareness...well, that kind of 'ungrounded' for lack of better terms, ungrounded or 'free-based' - sorry - meditative state particularly with obsessive, cyclical thought patterns sounds ... well, I'm really careful to offer unqualified, personal opinions at this point.

    But the thing that caught my eye and made me to question in the first place was several times you mentioned 'strain', 'mental stress' and such terminology to describe your session.

    Again, my very uneducated opinion on this, except the father of one who has suffered...that doesn't sound right. Its not supposed to be 'straining', huffing and grinding your teeth - that is definitely going to create anxiety - its supposed to be lightening, fresh, calming...all the other adjectives that so describe.

    But maybe the therapist has a reason for this approach...hopefully it will turn out to be a brilliant suggestion on your therapists part.

    Also, pay very close attention to the dates and log, make very detailed notes regarding the day or so preceding the upsurge in anxiety - foods eaten, medications taken ( especially include herbal supplements ), missing doses or delayed doses of some psychotropic meds can have baffling consequences that you'd not think; intro anything new to your diet, even something as innocuous as soy milk or had a lot of sugary cereals one morning just prior?

    Don't leave anything out. Some of these have a cyclical nature ( as in my son's case ) others are TRIGGERED by external means.

    They don't just 'happen'; though it will seem like it does...this is exactly what your log is for.
  2. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    I thought the mindful meditation was used so the person can be more aware of when and how their problems start and effect them. This also allows them to discuss it with the therapist.

    Also, the person is "in the moment" and therefore not thinking about the past or future which can create depression and anxiety. Like the old Lau Tzu quote.

    Ero. Have you tried "normal" meditation? Maybe give it a go. I doubt it will do anything negative if it doesn't work, all you're doing is nothing.
  3. ned

    ned Valued Member

    Little and often is sometimes better with meditation(imho).
    Most important thing is to relax and release all tension.A simple method is counting
    your breaths,focusing on the air being drawn into your lungs and leaving your nostrils,you can picture yourself in a favourite peaceful place outside.
    concentrating on your awareness of your body helps keep thoughts at bay ;I start with my head,shoulders,arms,down back,legs to feet and hands trying to release all tension,this can also help you identify areas that need more attention.
    Sorry if this is too pyscho-babblish ,just my experiences for comparison :)
  4. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    One of the things the therapist mentioned was that there's a small group of people who have an adverse reaction to the mindful meditation techniques, that the focus on their thoughts/emotions/physical stimulus pushes them to experience them a lot stronger and experience a spiral down into anxiety/panic attacks rather than help relieving them. She didn't state it but at the start of the conversation when I was describing stuff it looks like she may have been second guessing her suggestion.

    That said, I do not believe the increased anxiety levels the following evening and over the next few days had anything to do with me suffering from anxiety brought on by making myself more aware of thoughts/emotions/physical stimulus. What I think may have happened is I hit a level of mental awareness that was strenuous for my brain, I focused and attempted to maintain that state of mind throughout the day, and it triggered a series of migraines due to the mental stress it put on me. Further more my neck had also been growing more tense throughout the days leading up and I neglected stretching it, the tenseness can be bad enough to cause some pretty bad tension headaches which in turn can spiral down into a migraine. This is something I experienced a few months ago when my neck was so bad I couldn't turn my head. The headaches/migraines started receding when I started working the kinks out in my neck.

    I think between straining myself mentally and my neck starting to be in bad shape, it all resulted into the current development. The feelings of anxiety only feel "like me" when they are at their worst (on a scale or 1-10 in severity, it takes a 8-10 to feel things like "I'm going to die" and actually feel like "me" feeling that way). Around 6-7 the "flight" response of the anxiety starts manifesting itself into physical symptoms quite strongly, enough so to the point where I disengage whatever I'm doing and hit the couch/bed before they ramp up to the 8-10 range.

    After two days of really taking it easy and stretching/massaging my neck I'm feeling A LOT better but am still cautious. I honestly think it was a case of mental strain and actual physical problems (neck) that caused my situation rather than being mindful of the feelings I have. I think this because the feelings from anxiety involving any PTSD thoughts or thoughts involving the head injury don't cause feelings of dread for me, they just make me emotional (mostly angry). I don't feel a need to avoid them, but rather to be accepting of them.

    That said, I also believe the strong levels of anxiety I was feeling were because I was having severe migraines. I have logged that anxiety symptoms are much stronger when I am having migraines and I think -that-, more than the meditation techniques were what was triggering the panic/anxiety attacks. I've also used (not as successfully due to the severity of the situation) the mindful meditation techniques when I was having a particularly hard time the last few days which have helped calm me down momentarily, but they haven't been as successful as when I'm just experiencing anxiety at a 3-4.

    I think all in all I still need to give it a try, just not as intensely, just to be sure.

    I do small bouts of normal meditation all the time where I just sit and breath and try to keep focusing my mind on my breath and relaxing my body. It always works great and I find new areas to relax that were tense with each breath. It certainly helps, but it works best when I'm in my home vs. trying to be out and about. I've had some success with the mindful meditation whenever I try to go to the store or be outdoors but I haven't developed the technique enough to really be able to use it. The previous Tuesday of this week was the first time I tried to maintain it during the day and it worked pretty well during the day, but it's certainly not like normal meditation as you're not calming your mind as much as you are being aware and "accepting" of what's going on in order to relax. It's mentally stressful vs. mentally relaxing, but the goals are also a bit different. It's all really baffling at the moment. :p

    Little and often for the mindful meditation was the final recommendation by the therapist. It seems I kind of jumped into it a bit too strongly.

    I want to state that all of this certainly isn't psycho-babblish. I'll be honest and tell you I feel that way a lot of times about this stuff as well, but it really isn't. Would people tell you it's "psycho-babblish" if you described how in combat it's beneficial to learn how to turn your emotions off? It takes awareness of yourself and focus to be able to do that. I was telling the therapist when we were discussing PTSD a bit that I found my panic/anxiety attacks funny because I've had rounds skip up in front of my face and had a man blow up 15 meters in front of me and the only thing that has ever bothered me about it was that it didn't bother me at all. I've been successful in the "mind like water" bit martial artists like to talk about and have been in the situations it's beneficial both in a combat zone and doing things as simple as taking an exam or sparring. I also think that because I've always been good at doing that part that I've missed out on actually being able to cope with how I feel. As I wrote a couple posts above (deadlifts teach perspective) I think there's a part of me that's really weak in dealing with emotions/physical stimulus and it's causing me problems now.

    In my opinion from my experiences, emotions and physical stimulus can be ignored to a point. These things aren't just things we "feel" but cause us to have actual physical reactions as well. Chemical/hormones change, there are repercussions to feeling certain things. I think I've reached a point where my body is having a reaction physically/mentally that it won't allow me to ignore anymore and has found a way to force its way into my head. That's why I think it's still important for me to try the "mindful meditation" stuff, but as you put it: "little and often."
  5. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feel free to ignore this log entry. Not really a log update, just a desperate sounding rant.

    Life is sucking pretty hard right now.

    Really sucks that I seemed to be doing better and then BAM, back to pretty much laying down and doing nothing all day. Getting up and moving about seems to aggravate any symptoms I have and although I seem to be progressively getting better, getting out and moving about is met with a feeling of fatigue. I feel weak, like you do when you have the flu but without the body aches and actual sick feeling. On top of that I get the slightest numbness in my left hand and sometimes my feet. I don't lost any strength or feeling in those areas, but it's incredibly unnerving. I also am privy to feeling my heart pound in my chest lately which I'm confined is just anxiety over the constant symptoms I'm having with the migraines that won't go away. So much fun, so much time Google symptoms for no reason because I've done it all before months ago with the same kinds of symptoms only much more severe.

    8 freaking months so far. I've basically lost a god damned year of my life, and it's looking like I will be losing a year of my life too because this crap just hasn't cleared up yet. Got out of the military in 2012 and had to relocate, overcome depression, and find some sort of direction. That was year 24 of my life so far and I felt like it was pretty wasted. Got things on track with Boxing and schooling, and then this head injury and another year down the drain. What the hell man.

    I keep having this "squirting" sound at the base of my skull/neck, and it seems to occur whenever I'm having a migraine and whenever my neck is really stiff. I don't know if it's a neck issue involving spasming muscles or something to do with dilating blood vessels involved with migraines? This "squirting" has been there since the start but I thought it was ruled out due to neck spasms, maybe not, maybe so. Definitely going to bring it up during my next appointments though. Sometimes I feel like I could deal with the anxiety issues I'm having if my body/head would just stop being screwed up, but I guess that's asking a bit too much.

    Anywho, rant over. Just felt like writing something after searching symptoms for an hour online and being frustrated. Don't have the ability to release through exercise so this post will have to do I guess.

    Edit: Heh, things can always get worse right? Just checked my college email and it turns out distance learning courses require you to attend the university to take an exam. Stupid me. I took a class where I was given at home/online tests to do and thought that's how the distance learning worked, apparently not. Well, time to check the disability office for options, but am probably going to have any educational goals/pursuits crushed. Keep piling it on life, keep piling it on. Kick me while I'm down, just make sure each consecutive kick is harder than the last. ;D
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  6. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    I won't patronize you with the "well, at least you came back with all your limbs" bit, 'cause you already know and just ... because I won't.

    I feel bad 'cause I canna buy you a pint, as what yer needin is some old fashioned relief.

    However, I did come across the wife's Newcastle Brown she stashed before she left...:D

    I don't really indulge drink unless its heavily caffeinated, but I'll nick one of her bottles and lift one up for you!
  7. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Good lord I would love to drown myself in some Guiness right now (be gone haters of Guiness!). I rarely drink but I could use a happy buzz vs. the normal buzzing of the left hemisphere of my brain for a change. Almost asked the neurologist a month back if it were safe to knock back a few but thought better of it because I'm not doing too hot. I would love some caffeine too as I was addicted to it. Leaving that on the side because it has been making my head buzz. Can't get a buzz from alcohol, can't feel up from caffeine. Just stuck with suck and a hard log.

    I purposely got drunk once because I was so damn depressed and angry when I had gotten out of service. Unemployed and no direction too. I used a "suicide/ptsd hotline" thing online and talked to some lady about some stuff while trying not to fall out of my chair. Only thing I really remember was being told how well I typed for somebody who was drunk. My wife wasn't too happy in the morning though because the only alcohol we had in the house was her vodka, and I drank it all. :p

    I did come back with my legs though! We took a group photo of our legs before we flew out, unfortunately one of us didn't make it in that photo (I think he was in it). The things you'll laugh at and make a joke of at times.
  8. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Just remember, as I told a woman sitting next to us at a sport Pub who was havin troubles drinking out of her little martini straw, "If you can't succeed...suck harder" :eek:

    Ha. I'm sure she was overjoyed. I remember after we were first married, the wife's father would periodically send her this...liquor ... from their family home in the PRC. Something like Vietnamese rice wine? Whatever it was, was strong and reeked to high heaven.

    Anyroads, the labels were all in old style Chinese calligraphy, so of course, I couldn't read what was in the bottles. Didn't look anything like liquor - I thought it cleaning fluid - cause my father-in-law was such a high-strung clean freak.

    So I mopped the floors with it. every time we'd get a package from him that had this stuff, I'd think " oh, right...I'll get the mop".

    This went on for over a year and finally mother-in-law paid a visit and asked the wife what became of all the "good luck Whiskey" that her da had been sending her for the last year...turned out it was some sort of rare, hand-made liquor, LOL!

  9. Dave76

    Dave76 Valued Member

    Randomly came across this on MAP today. Made me think of your post about your cheesy guided meditation. Maybe some of this stuff would be a little better.

  10. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Well, it's been a hot minute since I've written anything in here. Been waiting for the physical therapy appointment so I have some legit stuff to put in here. I kind of felt like writing about my anxiety stuff was making me think more about my anxiety stuff, and in turn making me have more anxiety. In my absence I've had another migraine attack and bout of "why even wake up anymore" which I wrote about, but not much else has gone on. My days are about to get structured next week on Monday when school starts up so I'm happy about that.

    My appointment with the physical therapist was great. I got some points on my neck massaged and discussed some of the issues I was having, and like I thought my tenseness helps amplify my anxiety issues as well as headaches. One of the things she mentioned was that with how tense I am, my neck is causing my blood flow to be restricted which is definitely contributing to headaches and migraines. I got a few different exercises for areas of concern being my neck and scapulas, wish I had known about the scapula stretches and exercises as it's been an area developing problems and I had no idea how to approach it. The amount of work prescribed is a lot and time consuming but hey, not like I'm doing anything else during the day. :p

    Aside from that I think there's a very strong link between the neck issues and my anxiety. I almost feel like I'm choking sometimes if my neck/shoulders/head gets really tense and I start clenching my jaw; it only takes a little spike in anxiety at that point to make me feel like I can't breath and am choking and headaches/migraines usually follow after. I think the anxiety issues I'm having is more related to being messed up physically than it is emotional/mental right now, although the emotional/mental aspects are still relevant to work on. Definitely was implementing some of the stuff I learned from mental therapy today at the hospital to try and stay relaxed and it payed off pretty well.

    With that, I'll be updating more often. Can't wait to nob the heck out of my back/neck/shoulders with the back nobber, even had the wife pick up some KY so it's not yanking all my nasty back hair and giving me friction burns. :p
  11. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    That's the best news, really - to have found methods that work.
  12. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Well, my last declaration of "making sure I keep updating my log" was now eight days ago. :p

    I've been a bit busy since then. My online classes started up, plans for moving to subsidized housing for low income individuals involving a move from the fifth floor to the first floor of our apartment building got bumped up a month from end of march to this Friday (and good lord the paperwork I had to constantly run to the office and be on call waiting for hours to get them), and I've been busy incrementally packing the house up to move for a week which can involve me laying down for an hour because I feel like I'm going to die between headaches, anxiety, and my heart rate skyrocketing from what I suspect to be a new headache medication I was prescribed that I quit taking yesterday. Nothing like having your heart rate at an inactive/sedentary but healthy 77-88BPM to shooting up to 150 BPM just by standing up! Like you just ran a sprint, only you're not out of breath.

    That said I still want to log in some things that I think I should make note of as bullet points for future reference and I'm doing it now so I don't forget in the future.

    Jan-21st - Went to VA, also started taking new meds day prior to the VA visit. Had a hard time with anxiety, mainly tenseness and throat tightening and this also caused my heart rate to increase a bit during tense moments. Was able to maintain composure and implement some of the meditation techniques I've been taught to make it through.

    Jan-22nd-27th Due to having to move I have been much more active throughout the day between running paperwork back and forth to the office and packing things. It's been nice really, having a feeling of getting things done for once. The exercises, stretches, and back nobber massages have REALLY helped my neck out a lot. My throat still gets tightened up which seems to be both anxiety and tenseness related. Overall I'm doing more than usual though, even had a migraine for a day with a day prior and post to it where I felt bad but still got some things done.

    Jan-27th-29th Started noticing my heart rate skyrocketing and pounding whenever I just stood up. Noticed it was worse in the morning than the evening and I take the new meds at night time before bed. 28th I decided to stop taking it and as I'm writing this on the morning of the 29th my heart rate is still increasing upon standing up but I'm sure the medication is still in my system. That said, heart rate isn't increasing as much as fast. Pretty sure it's the death meds I was given. Notified VA of this yesterday and waiting to hear back. Heart rate changes (speeding or slowing) is one of the "contact your doctor immediately" symptoms of the medication so I'm just not going to take it anymore.

    *** Overall I feel like I've been able to work with my anxiety, and the anxiety hasn't been as intense since I've loosened up my neck a lot and I'm not as tense throughout the day. Usually around 1pm is when I start getting tense after completing a few tasks and working my neck out with the back nobber helps out.

    Not much else to add, feel like I'm making small steps in progress though. Drinking a lot of water to help flush out the death meds.
  13. LemonSloth

    LemonSloth Laugh and grow fat!

    What in sweet santas' sack were you given?!?! :eek: :jawdrop:
  14. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Another psych. med that in lower doses helps treat migraines. The first drug they gave me helped with anxiety in higher doses and they hoped that as it built up in my system it would help with anxiety. The downside was it made me drowsy so I couldn't get into a normal sleeping schedule because I would knock out for 14 hours and would wake up with a headache. They shifted to this stuff and I've now labeled it the "death drug." I think I'm going to deny any other medication honestly, or at least tell them to give me something that doesn't attempt to change your brain chemistry in higher doses. :p
  15. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Probably due to the medication causing high plasma norepinephrine concentrations.

    Have you noticed your veins to be enlarged - similar to what happens when you pump weights for a long period of time?

    Do you have a blood pressure cuff at home?

    Definitely stop taking it ... also DRINK LOTS OF WATER

    You don't want to become dehydrated with this.
  16. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Funnily enough I did notice my veins in my hand looked like I had a "pump" going on doing the exercises for my neck/upper back. It's with a theraband and not exceedingly difficult, definitely not a pump enduring endeavor. I noticed that about two days ago.

    Coincidentally I emailed the VA yesterday and got a phone call from the doc. this morning saying "yeah, go ahead and stop taking it." Apparently 1%-5% of the population gets this side effect and it looks like I'm 5% special from the rest of the population. I'm still getting it today but the heart rate is only getting up to around 120-130 bpm but it's obviously not going to stop immediately as the drug will be in my system for a bit since I was loading it for 8 days.

    Water is a definite. I might sit in a hot bath a couple times a day to get myself sweating too, try to get this stuff out of my system before I have to move on Friday. Having your heart rate skyrocket doesn't work well with anxiety either, but strangely enough I've felt that it's been a different enough symptom caused by "something else" that it doesn't seem to cause much anxiety when it happens, just "normal worry" and "what the heckness."

    It's been like those times when you experiment with pre workout supplements and you take too much, and your heart rate skyrockets but you're not out of breath or anything. Normal feeling if you're going to the gym, a little unnerving when all you did was stand up!
  17. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Almighty, confounded, jumpy laptop keyboard :bang::bang::bang:

    Once son had taken this for a couple or more years in the form of Depakote Sprinkles.

    How long did you take it?

    You have to remember that it takes time to reach the 'therapeutic dose' - that's the level of blood-plasma concentration - your 'maintenance dose'.
    You can often have side effects after initially beginning this type of med that will disappear by the time you reach your therapeutic dose. Your physiology has to learn to adjust itself to the new med.

    Sometimes, a given person will be intolerant to a med, but until you've been on it long enough to reach treatment levels, you really won't know if the med could've helped or not.

    In the case of what you're experiencing with POTS on the 'death med' - that is a deal-breaker, of course.

    Anyroads, had lots more to say about Valproic Acid, offsets to deal with the fatigue, etc.,
  18. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    That's a major reason I sent an email to the doc. that prescribed it. Sometimes stuff happens when you introduce something new into the body. I didn't decide to stop it until later that night when we were looking at the warning label saying "contact your physician immediately if you experience rapid or decreased heart rate." Then he got back in touch with me and said to quit it.

    I only took the stuff for about 8 days, my heart pounding away has only been noticeable for about 3 of them but noticeable for me is "hmm, well this isn't normal and I feel like my chest is going to explode." Fatigue was also happening but that could also be because of the head injury along with being pretty much as sedentary as you can get.

    I believe the therapeutic dose is reached after 2 weeks of taking what I was prescribed at night time because the dosage transitions to twice a day. I didn't really want to deal with my heart trying to jump out of my chest while moving this Friday though. I can deal with headaches to a certain extent, feeling feint, heart pounding like crazy, and fatigue aren't going to work well with moving all our stuff. :p
  19. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    The tachychardia (rapid heart beat) is from Valproic Acid or something else, sorry.
  20. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    The data certainly suggests it! I was questioning whether or not it was just anxiety at first but with anxiety it just stays high for a little bit whether I'm laying down or sitting or doing things. This has definitely been a "you just stood up now you're going to die" situation which was repeated multiple times and showed consistency.

    I just need some steroids and I think I'll be fine honestly. :p

    Not really though.

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