I need to figure out where I am right now, because things seem very confusing inside of each moment. But maybe if I step back and look at where I am in the larger chronology, it will help me get my brain wrapped around things.
- Mid-April: Symptoms make me feel that my back has officially gone bad again. Back to freakout mode.
- Read stuff on internet and decide Ambien could be causing some of my muscle pain. Try to quit it. Watch my nice long period of good sleep completely fall apart, and become desperate for sleep. But now, even taking the Ambien again doesn't seem to work.
- Go back to psychiatrist, but refuse to take the mood stabilizers again. Why am I paying all this money if I don't want him to give me a bunch of drugs? I do try a different sleeping pill (low-dose antidepressant). It knocks me out but makes me feel like a zombie who can barely move my limbs during the day. Quit it and back to Ambien. He also convinces me to take Valium twice a day, even though I'm terrified of benzo withdrawal.
- Keep trying to fix back. Get two steroid injections. Go to accupuncture and then PT. Feel like my back is improving, but still freak at every twinge.
- During all this, worry constantly about planned trip to California. Decide to cancel trip and cry hysterically about it. Then, before getting around to canceling it, decide to go. Worry, worry, worry about how my back will do and how I will sleep during the trip.
- Beginning of June: Go on CA trip. Amaze myself by hiking long distances several days in a row, camping without even missing my trusty ice pack and heating pad. The more I do, the better things seem to feel. Sleep pretty much fine the whole trip. Deal with some anxiety and pain, but in general, be wonderfully pleasantly surprised at how much I'm able to do.
- Come home and decide fear has been holding me back, and that the trip has shown me that I need to go for it, get back to life and put this whole back thing behind me. Read book about how back pain can be caused by repressed anxiety and feel so encouraged that the pain might be something that can resolve without medical intervention. Feel power over the pain for first time in this whole ordeal.
- Mia goes to PA for a week, and I decide to pull whole life back together. I do work, clean house and exercise every day. Yes! Go me! Sign up for meditation class, start reading book about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for sleep. I can fix all my problems!
- Mia returns, along with my deepest, darkest fear that I might not be able to be a good mother to her with all my many issues: pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression. Start involuntarily remembering fun times I had with her before all this started, when things felt so much more effortless, and feel jolts of despair and anxiety. (THIS! I THINK THIS MAY BE THE HEART OF THE MATTER.)
OK, I think that brings me to now. Yesterday, I went to the first day of the meditation class. This is the class that I felt was going to heal me. I don't think it's going to work out. It's far away. My back hurt horribly after sitting in the class and then fighting traffic for an hour to get home. Pain was worse last night than in a long time. I just don't know if committing to driving somewhere far away to do something that causes me pain is the right move at this juncture.
Also, I am rereading the book that convinced me I was going to be able to conquer my pain. Upon rereading, I am less sure, less encouraged. Fears about needing spinal fusion and being disabled are creeping in again.
And sleep, oh my fucking god, why can't I sleep? Even with Ambien and Valium, I am not sleeping peacefully through the night. I can't sleep in the same room with my husband. I'm waking in the night and having to fight back anxiety to try and return to sleep. I'm having the kinds of nights that only add to the cycle of anxiety and depression. I'm starting to wonder if I should have agreed to take the mood stabilizer. But a big part of me still thinks less drugs, not more, are the answer.
I am so very confused. But I also see that, only two weeks ago, things were so much better. So I'm going to try and weather this passing storm without too much angst about what it all means. Despite all of this, I am so very blessed.