Wow. Over the past few days I have nearly come full circle, but I'm coming back from a freakout...
The job stress was just part of the issue. The other part is some personal family stuff. The issues were all combined and tangled. Where I found peace with one aspect of the conundrum a month before (prompting me go to off meds), I found conflict with another. It all had to fit together or I would be totally lost.
When this happens, I feel life stop. I slept 40 minutes the other night, and I was spinning out of control. With no meds I felt like I wanted to crawl out of my skin, and then there's the lovely physical symptoms that come with panic attacks. When I wanted to sleep I felt horribly alone and panicked. When I tried to eat, I gagged. It's a vicious cycle. I felt like my mind was on overdrive, I couldn't think objectively, I was totally out of control and I couldn't shut my mind off. I hated today. I hated tomorrow. I imagined that it would be easier if someone would just wreck into me out on the road, put me in the hospital, and everything would come into perspective. I was scared that I had gotten this way so quickly, and I KNOW it's because of the stress at my job and mistakenly thinking I could handle it unmedicated.
I talked to everyone: My pastor, my parents, my husband. I took 3 days off work to get things together--I simply couldn't handle anything, and am still not ready to handle work stuff. I have to take care of me. Fortunately I was able to see my therapist yesterday, AND the medicine doctor, so I am on the right track. My therapist found a way that it all fits together--the family stuff, the meds, the work. Honestly, to God be the glory for that because I was utterly incapable of coming to the conclusion she came up with, and Husband likes it, too. It's a decision that gives me the most peace.
Everyone was telling me I had to go back on meds, but it didn't match up with the other part of the puzzle, the personal stuff. I was afraid it meant that I was simply going back on meds in order to work at a job that I find overwhelming anyway. But my therapist helped me to see the big picture. The important thing I learned is that if I ever plan to be unmedicated, I have to take a less-stressful job, and I am 100% ok with that.
Last night I went to a sporting event after not working all day and not having slept more than 40 minutes in 38 hours. It was a good distraction, but work stuff was still on my mind. I had hope in knowing that in a few days I'll have more meds in my system. (I actually am trying a new kind this time.) When we got home I took an Ativan as recommended by my doctor and slept last night. I didn't even hear my husband get up this morning for work until he kissed me on the forehead when he left. I tend to fear sleeping pills and medicine of that type, but I know that I need sleep to start to heal the damage I've caused over the past few days. I'm actually hungry, too!
Some readers of this blog have said that OCD follows you everywhere. Indeed it does. When it is time to take a lesser paying job, I will surely encounter stresses, but my thinking is that they are of a more manageable scale.
Today work is still on my mind, and I keep fighting to let it go. At this point I think I just have to accept that, and use my tools that my therapist gave me when it comes up. I'm tired, but I won't take an Ativan until tonight because I think it's smart to stay on a normal sleep routine.
There is a spiritual aspect that I've realized, too. It always feels like I learn it and re-learn it, but I have never committed to it. I need to learn to relinquish control to God. He created me, He knows what I need, and the whole of my life is in his hands. My pastor says something that I like: "Don't finish God's story." I guess I never realized how much of a perfectionist control freak I am. I mean, from my perspective, I'm in the driver's seat! I'm hoping someone will step out in front of me who is willing to help me learn to surrender.