Friday, May 26, 2017

Clonidine

So I saw the psychiatrist yesterday. The setup was a little different. The building didn’t consist of only doctors. There were lawyers and other things as well. Usually, the nurse takes me into the exam room, takes my vitals, then has me wait for the doctor. In this case, a nurse took me into a small room off the waiting room and took everything but my pulse. Then I went back to the waiting room where I had to fill out a ridiculous amount of paperwork asking me the same damn questions that should already be on file. I did most of it but not all of it. It was just too long and too irrelevant as to why I was there.

Then, just like Stacey would come and get me herself, the doctor came to get me. She didn’t really make an impression on me either in a positive or a negative way. She was just average, I guess you could say. She didn’t make any small talk unrelated to the visit by commenting on the weather, whatever I was wearing, etc., but she also didn’t come off as rude, insensitive or like she was trying to rush me along. The staff wasn’t all that friendly except for the nurse that took my vitals.

Dr. C was a lot like Stacey. She had a very calm and “neutral” demeanor. The kind you couldn’t picture freaking out and that probably had a dry sense of humor. While they may have been comparable in personalities, they looked nothing alike except for their thinness.

What I liked about her was that she stayed in the present and let me bring her up to date on the last few years and what led me to see her without interrupting me. The old shrink may have been friendlier, but she was harder to talk to because she interrupted a lot and went off topic. I almost felt like I was going to chat with an old buddy when I would see her, LOL.

She told me that the ADD might have been what made going through perimenopause so hard on me, and explained that ADD is common and that those that have it often do better in crisis. Haha, could’ve fooled me. I had to be EMDR’d, didn’t I? I get what she’s saying, though. As Stacey pointed out, the day I freaked out thinking I was having a heart attack, I acted quickly and was able to think fast despite how terrified I was, call for help, and get out of the house.

Dr. C also confirms that once I go from perimenopause to menopause, things should stable out. They feel like they’ve been doing just that since February, but now my body is making its third attempt to generate a period since mid-March, and this time I’m afraid it might succeed. The last couple of times I would get watery, and then the water would back off. Now I’m getting watery and my boobs are tender.

She took a moment to read my old endo’s notes and commented about her being a very smart woman.

She also asked me if I’d ever been diagnosed with Graves’ disease. I’ve heard of it but didn’t know it was the term for hyperthyroidism like Hashimoto’s is the term for hypothyroidism. The neurologist I saw said it was likely that I did have Graves’ disease when I was younger, and even though they never tested me for it, I agree based on the symptoms I had back then. I didn’t have such terrifying anxiety like the last few years, but I would get overly hyper, my heart would race, and I couldn’t gain weight if I tried.

Once it got to where I could no longer lose weight in my 40s, I wrote it off to age. But then I was like, hey wait a minute! I exercise. But even with treatment, diet and exercise does me no good and I’m forever 30 pounds overweight. Therefore I have set more realistic goals for myself, which is not to gain any more weight. So far so good. :-)

Then she asked me about joint and muscle pain and I told her that my hip joints have been particularly stiff lately and I’m losing flexibility. I first wrote that one off to being fat, but there are people a lot heavier than me that have more flexibility. She recommended some stretching exercises, which I’ll be doing a few minutes each day.

She mentioned memory loss, and yes, I’m still dealing with the brain fog from hell. I have trouble focusing and will often think of something I need to get from another room, walk into that room, then forget why I entered it in the first place. Sometimes it takes me a minute to remember my own damn address and phone number.

So I told her that while I’m trying to remain optimistic, I don’t want to get my hopes up and think that the worst of the anxiety is over, and so I requested one more refill of lorazepam, which she gave me. If all continues to go well, though, I won’t finish the bottle I still have, let alone need the refill.

She asked me about beta-blockers and I told her I took atenolol once when my heart was racing when the perimenopause was at its worse and they were adjusting my levothyroxine dose, and while it slowed my HR, it also made me very cold and sluggish. I also told her about the nightmare I went through with Prozac.

I was surprised to learn that lorazepam isn’t a narcotic but a benzodiazepine. Still, she said it not only quits working after a while as the body gets too used to it, but it’s addicting.

She feels clonidine would be better for me in light of the ADD. She says it will also help with any additional anxiety I may have and help me sleep better (we discussed the insomnia and the CRD as well). She understands my phobia of medication and recommended I try the short-acting version before bed and see if it helps me sleep. Another reason she thinks this will be better for me is because it’s not a stimulant like levothyroxine or a controlled substance like lorazepam. I asked her if there was anything I should worry about if I decided to try it and she said it can make you tired, so take it before bed as needed for the next six months and see if it helps with sleep as well as better concentration and all that. As I told her, I don’t have insomnia all the time. Sometimes I’m up the standard 16 hours. But when it’s been 18 or more hours and Tom’s home (just because the EMDR has made me braver doesn’t mean I’m that brave), I will take a 0.1 mg tablet; the lowest dose possible, which they give to kids.

“If you like it and you want to take it every day, let me know when you see me again in six months and we’ll switch you to the long-acting version,” she told me.

I guess those are taken twice a day. Either way, I wonder if I should have just said no. The ADD and occasional insomnia hasn’t killed me yet, I don’t need the clonidine to keep me alive, and this is just adding one more drug and yet more appointments. Nothing wrong with trying it at least once, though, and again, I’m my own boss. I can stop taking the medicine and cancel our November appointment anytime I want. :)

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