First a side note: when I say that this “robs me of the very things I hold dear”, this is meant figuratively. I only mean that it robs me of the optimistic, peaceful, positive and loving disposition that I have. Given the poor state of my affairs, however, that’s pretty much all that I’ve got, and all that I have control over.
As I mention, last night I upped my Doxycycline dose to 300 mg. This is my third attempt at getting up higher than 200 mg, as both the first and second experiments ended abruptly after 3 days, after reaching an unbearable level of anxiety.
Anxiety has been a daily part of my existence for the last 12 years. Quite frankly, I’ve learned to manage it and deal with it quite beautifully over the years (through tons of blood, sweat and tears, and some other happier stuff too, like love, kindness, friendship, running, yoga, psychotherapy, hypnosis, message therapy, meditation…). Just the 200 mg of Doxy has increased my anxiety, but I have been managing to keep myself out of freakout zone (for the vast majority of the time). And I intend to keep it that way.
I am now one month wiser and stronger, and hoping that third time’s the charm.
And while I’m on the topic of antibiotics’ direct action on brain infections and anxiety, here’s a doctor visit anecdote: in November, 2012, I was prescribed a 10 day course of antibiotics (Biaxin – Clarithromycin) for sinusitis by my (meh) family doctor. I’d been sick for over a month, a week on the beach and everything I tried had done nothing. He told me: “I’m not sure you have sinusitis, but this should help clear up anything from the neck up.”
I followed the whole treatment through. It did absolutely nothing for my sinuses, nor my general flu-like state. What it did do is raise my anxiety out of control and left me in a constant panic for weeks after the treatment. It was scary as hell, I had to resort to taking calming pills for the first time in my life, and I almost started to believe I was losing it. Almost, because I was also absolutely convinced that the antibiotics were to blame.
When I returned to see my doctor, I explained: “By the third day on the antibiotic, I could feel myself getting very anxious. It got worse and worse with every day, the tension in my chest and all over my abdomen, the muscle tension and twitching, the tension headaches, the racing thoughts, the rapid heart rate, lack of proper breath, always feeling like I am freaking out! There is no other factor in my life that I could point to that would explain why I would be feeling this way.”
He looked on at me with a condescending half-smile and said: “Well I can guarantee you that it has nothing to do with the antibiotics.” And, sorry to state the obvious, he had no other advice for me than to prescribe a full year of antidepressants and more anti-anxiety pills than I could ever need.
Check out my post Doctor visits back in 2010 for more doctor visit stories.
And if you are wondering if posting this on here is making me feel uncomfortable and even scared, the answer is a resounding HELL YEAH!
But to be quite honest, in all of my day, this is the least uncomfortable and least scary part, and it’s the only one that actually makes me feel like I have any power at all. The truth is, I know where I stand, I know my wonderful mind inside and out, and I am its only true expert. And believe me when I say that there are many, many people out there just like me who go through this just like me who get told their issues are in their heads just like me. I know because I’ve met them, I talk to them, I read them, and there are thousands, tens of thousands, probably much more.
All of this needs to be said aloud.