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My Walking Progress

November 17, 2013 Leave a comment

friends_walking_arm_in_arm_FAN2016693

(photo credit – www.visualphotos.com)

It’s hard for me to tell just how much progress I have made with my ability to walk. Once I sit down and think over the last several month, I realize I have made significant progress, in many areas of walking.

Walking with others. This is probably the most significant aspect lately. In an earlier post I talked about how I basically just other people’s ability to help me based on their body type and how strong I think they are (wow, I just read a bit of that post, and my mindset has changed drastically since then). That’s very bad on my part. I talked about how I needed to trust others more, and trust myself more. I have done that.

Since that post, I’ve had five other people help me walk somewhere. Five! That doesn’t count the chiropractor or assistant #1, let’s call her “D”. I’m now completely confident (more like 90% confident) with Dr. Van Loon. I am getting more and more confident with “D”. I have also had assistant #2 (let’s call her “Y”), help me a few times and am getting used to her. Plus, my niece “K” has been helping me around a bunch lately, and it’s getting easier.

About a week and a half ago, I went somewhere with my “K” and my in-laws. During the time we were out, both my mother in-law and my father in-law helped me. Those were probably the scariest times for me. My judgmental state of mind rearing its ugly head. My in-laws are older, and they both have bad knees and have a hard time walking themselves. I let that get the better part of me that day, so I was more hesitant and unsure of myself. But, it all worked out. I had a few bobbles with my mother in-law, but I stayed on my feet. I did take a Xanax that day, but it wore off while we were out (we were gone a long time). So the walking I did with my mother in-law was without anything in me. Good thing was I didn’t have a panic attack. My heart was racing, but I was able to control everything else.

Think that covers everyone who has helped me so far. And there will be more people in the future who will help me also. The thought of that actually makes me anxious, but it will happen. I need to get used to it. Side note, I went to the doctor for an annual checkup and the doctor and I talked about my anxiety. She says that I need to not be afraid to ask for help. I’m not afraid really to ask for help, but I don’t like to ask for help either. I like to do things on my own if I am able. She said people are more than willing to help others, some actually want to help because it gives them a good feeling. I understand that, and I’m trying to get that in my head. If I need help, ask. I still feel sometimes that I’m putting pressure on people when I ask, or that it’s an annoyance to help me. Need to get that out of my head.

So, I have made quite a lot of progress. I have a ways to go to where I want to end up (totally able to walk unassisted like I did when I was a kid), and I think I can get there. I haven’t fallen yet when someone else has helped me. Came close a few times (once with “K” and once with my mother in-law). But not yet. It’s best not to think about that. I’m not putting a goal date for when I want to walk alone after all I have done that already, little bits at a time. It will happen when it happens.

The major thing I need to work on still is the fear, anxiety, and panic attacks. I did get my own Xanax prescription the other day too. I don’t plan to take it too often, only when I really think I’ll need it.

And that’s that. I’ll be working on all of this forever, so I will send in updates on my progress when ever I think I’ve made more progress. Practice make perfect (except with oral presentations, still going to avoid those like the plague. No amount of Xanax can help me with that, hehe). Walking with cerebral palsy is tough no matter how severe the case is. But, it’s better to walk than not.

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Slow Mileage Monday!

Not many pictures for this Mileage Monday post. I had to take a few days off this week due to a very sore upper back and neck. I have no idea what I did, but it hurt to turn my head from side to side and also to bend it forward. It even hurt to pick up my coffee cup. I remember back before I started going to the chiropractor it hurt to pick up my coffee cup. So, in I went to see the chiropractor. It had been three weeks, so I was due anyway.

Good thing I went. My upper back was way out of whack. He found the trouble area right away, and got that sucker back in place. He asked if I had fallen, and I said no. So we both figured it was how I was sleeping. He suggested a certain type of pillow for me to try, so I’m looking into some. I have a few picked out, but have to make sure they’re the right kind before I buy one.

Normally when he adjusts my neck he does it one time to each side. This time he did it about 4 times to get everything straightened out. All the muscles were tight and did not want to move (even with a Xanax in me; took one this time mainly to relax my muscles, not for anxiety). I was still sore on Saturday, but not as bad. I used my heating pad and ice pack throughout the day and that made it a lot better.

Sunday was a whole lot better. I still used the heating pad and ice pack, but didn’t really need to take any Aleve (good thing since we’re out now). It’s still sore, but bearable now.

Not sure what my plans are exercise-wise this week. I might take strength training off the list and just do my elliptical or my Leslie Sansone dvd. Not sure about that either, the muscle near my rib cage keeps threatening to cramp up. Leslie Sansone might be the way to go and I just skip the arm parts.

OK, enough of me whining about my aches and pains. On to the pictures from last week from the virtual walk site. We’ll see if I have any for next Monday. Take it one day at a time.

Mile 592.2 (watp for 3.1 miles)                                  Mile 593.2 (watp for 1 mile)

592.2 Leslie for 3.1                     593.2 Leslie for 1

Mile 594.2 (elliptical for 1)
594.2 Elliptical for 1

 

(photo credit – Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab)

Keep moving!

Big Solution For My Fear And My Panic Attacks

Xanax

Ok, so I know you’re all dying to know what this solution is. Here it is: Xanax. There you go. It’s an anti-anxiety medication, and take it from a big skeptic…it works. My mother in-law has a prescription for Xanax, and she’s offered me a pill here and there for years. Mostly when we fly back east. I’m not a huge fan of flying and I tend to get anxious. I’ve always turned her down though. Until January.

In January, my husband and I started to work on my balance and walking without any support at all. This is how I came to my realization that my balance was actually fine, and it was my fear getting in the way. So, one day, we were out in the living room. No one else was around, so it was a good day for it. I didn’t have to worry about doors opening and closing, people sneezing, or other noises that cause me to jump (darn that jump reflex).

I was anxious during my practice, and my body was so tense I could barely move. One thing that helps that is if I close my eyes. So I closed my eyes and kept doing what I was doing, which was walking with my husband behind me. Then he had me keep my eyes closed and he spun me in circles so I didn’t know what direction I was facing. I didn’t know where the couch or chairs were. No clue. Then he let go and had me stand there with my eyes close. I got a bit more anxious, but not horrible. Then, the whammy. He told me open my eyes. I opened them, and it was instant panic.

I was in the middle of the room, nothing around to grab onto, and my husband was several feet away (still close enough to catch me if I fell). My entire body froze and I lost it. My breathing got out of control, my heart started racing, and I felt like I was going to die. But, I didn’t fall. So, now, we had a big clue as to what we had to work on. Balance is fine, mental state is not. So we kept trying this, and it ended up the same way each time. As I was sitting in the chair trying to regain control, my in-laws came back from wherever they were. They knew something was up, because I was trying hard not to cry.

We told them what was going was going on, and my mother in-law offered me a Xanax. I finally relented and said ok. However, I did not take one that day. I waited a few days. I wanted to take one before we did this “balance practice” again. I took one, and waited for 25 minutes. Honestly, I did not think these pills were going to do a darn thing. So we worked on walking and balance again, and it worked. I still felt anxious, but nowhere near as bad as before. I also avoided a panic attack after I was spun around in circles with my eyes closed. I opened them, and was in the middle of the room again with nothing around me. I stayed somewhat calm and never lost it.

It didn’t hit me until the next day just how effective it was. The next day we did the same thing, only without a pill. Same as before, I was spun around with my eyes closed. Opened them, and instant panic. I was also a lot more tense in my legs than I was when I used the pill. I had no clue Xanax did as much as it did for me. It relaxed my muscles (nice bonus I wasn’t expecting), kept my mind calm, and let me work through what anxiety I did have. I’d have to say that it cut out about 85% of the anxiety. It was still there, don’t get me wrong, but it was manageable at least.

Since January, I think I’ve taken 5 pills. I do take one when I go to the chiropractor, not just to avoid panic, but to loosen everything up. It really surprised me how much it relaxed my body. I don’t know if that’s because of the medication itself, or the fact that my mind was calm. I don’t think Xanax is used primarily for relaxing muscles (it’s mostly for anxiety), but it does have that side benefit.

I don’t plan on taking it forever, although you never know. Xanax can be addictive, but only if you take it every day. That’s not my plan. I only plan to take it when I know for sure I’ll have to walk by myself or with the help of someone I’m not used to. Remember my incident with the chiropractor’s assistant? Since then, she’s helped me out a few times, and thanks to Xanax, I’ve been able to handle it. As a matter of fact at one appointment, she helped me out to the waiting room when I was done, and she actually let go and walked behind me. I didn’t freak out. I just kept walking calmly. I was a bit more unsteady, but I didn’t panic. That was a big woohoo moment.

When we get back from vacation, I’ll be talking with my doctor about getting my own prescription. I feel bad for using my mother in-law’s. She doesn’t need them very often either, which is good, but I do want my own.

I lasted 38 and a half years without taking any medication for my cerebral palsy. For the record, this technically isn’t for my cerebral palsy, but for my anxiety. So I guess my streak can continue. My mental issues finally got the better of me, hehe. I say, if it works, do it!