Well, That Was Unpleasant

As I mentioned in a previous post, a thyroid condition causes me to take a medication that, when administered in the wrong doses, causes some pretty extreme panic attacks. Two and a half weeks ago, the doctor increased my medication. About a week and a half ago, I first noticed the dizziness that often accompanies a panic attack. Coinciding, as it did, with the onset of a cold, I tried to tell myself that my problem was just a virus, that I would be fine in a few days.

Well, I was kinda right, in the sense that last night, I promised myself I wouldn't take my thyroid medication the next morning, to see if I could make myself feel a little less miserable. Lo and behold, as today's gone on, I've felt a newfound calm-- I didn't realize exactly how absolutely shitty I felt until I began to feel better.

Obviously, I don't want to keep messing around with my prescription medication (Emily asked me today what would happen if I just stopped taking the pills, and I told her that I would probably gain eighty pounds and start taking frequent naps. "Oh, and I'd lose my sex drive, " I added, "in case you have a fetish for snoring fat guys."). So I'll be going to see my doctor again to try and get the thing figured out.

I'm writing about this, I suppose, because I think panic and anxiety are widely misunderstood-- when my college girlfriend developed anxiety problems, all sorts of well-intentioned people tried to offer up advice. "Cheer up," they told her. Or, "Don't be so negative." I'll admit, I was often one of us those well-intentioned jackasses. In fact, I sometimes wonder if my own thyroid problems are some type of divine justice for remarkable insensitivity when I was 21. But then I figure, if I was going to be punished for stuff I did at 21, I'd probably have several venereal diseases and/or illegitimate children. No, not really. I'd have carpal tunnel syndrome and/or tennis elbow.

Anyway, I'm lucky enough to not have a real panic disorder-- my problems occur when I'm overmedicated, and are quickly rectified. But statistics show that 1/3 of American adults will have a panic attack this year-- most of them will probably feel like they're losing their minds, or having a heart attack, or are unfairly burdening their loved ones. Which sucks, but I think it's kind of comforting to know that so many otherwise healthy, productive people occasionally have these problems too. Or, at least, I find such knowledge comforting.

Anyway, since I haven't said it lately-- or nearly enough-- my wife is, like, the most wonderful and patient person in the world. And I know she must love me, because she told me today-- as I became calmer and calmer-- "I no longer want to kill you." I'm a lucky guy.

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