yeah, it’s still there…

…my heart, I mean.

Yesterday I went and had myself an echocardiogram. Not because anything new had developed, but just as a “Gotta Make Sure” measure. It lasted about half an hour and was pretty easy on my end, since all I had to do was lie on my left side, try not to shiver as the doctor smeared cold clear gel around my left breast and try to relax while the doctor kept pushing the echo transducer into my chest, following the trail of the now-skin-temperature gel. A few times it seemed she pushed the transducer so hard that I’d have bruising, but so far no bruising has developed.

It was actually pretty cool, trying to watch my heart beat on the monitor, seeing my valves open and close regularly and the blood rushing through. I’ve always been fascinated with what doctors and dentists do to my own body. When at the dentist, I like to keep my glasses on, if possible, and watch the action in the metal center of the light, which turns into a mirror if the light is reflected just right (which it usually is). Chances are if I ever had a triple bypass, I’d try to find a way to watch that. This despite the fact that I can be very squeamish and can’t watch anything graphic in movies or documentaries. I could never watch medical documentaries or even the graphic scenes on Nip/Tuck. Hell, I still haven’t seen the steak crawling scene from Poltergeist, even though I’ve seen that movie more times than I can count.

Anywho, good news: she said that everything looked okay to her, but it would be a couple of weeks before the full results would be known. Unless, of course, they saw something immediately that was concerning, in which case I’d get a call from my doctor. But I’m betting that nothing unusual will be found. Which is good, because it’s obvious that having a heart problem would really suck. But there is still a part of me that thinks, “Aha! If they find something physically wrong, then I’ll be vindicated.”

Yeah, I know.

However, it looks increasingly as if the diagnosis is a newly sprouted anxiety disorder. Whee! I’ve been coming to this conclusion as well, especially considering that recently I have felt anxious in situations that have not phased me in the past. Driving, for instance.

Since I don’t have a car, I don’t drive often. I have, however, rented cars in the past when needed and had no problems. Aside from the usual, “All drivers that aren’t me are idiots,” sort of frustration that pretty much every driver in L.A. feels, that is. But on the weekends of 1/13 and 1/20, when I’ve rented cars because I’ve been exceptionally busy, at least a few times while driving I felt some of the symptoms from November and December come back. Nothing bad, and not enough to distract me from my driving (though they did make the drives interminably long), but they were there nonetheless. And this time I really did feel as if it were anxiety that made an appearance, instead of my heart and head deciding to conspire against me.

So guess what I’ll be picking up tonight? Ativan. Oh fucking whee.

I don’t like pills. I take ibuprofen when needed, which is more than I’d like due to my bad neck, but I take the smallest dose I can get away with. I take vitamins when I remember to do so. But that part of me that thinks I should be able to “power through” my anxiety is highly annoyed that I have to resort to taking medication for it.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a number of friends who are taking or have taken medication for anxiety or panic disorders. I fully understand why they’re on such medication and am happy that it helps them out. I’ve seen great improvements in the quality of their lives.

But I still have remnants from my past that tell me I’m the strong one, I can take it, I don’t have to resort to chemical assistance to make my life better. It’s unreasonable, I know that. But there it is.

However, if this medication is going to help me, is going to keep me from experiencing such overwhelming anxiety that I swear I’m having a heart attack or that I’m going to faint while sitting at my desk at work, well, then I’ll take it according to the doctor’s orders, but make sure that I don’t become addicted to it. It’s going to be the lowest dose available, so I think I should be okay on that front.

Hey guys, I’m joining the Benzos club. G-d, I hope there’s no initiation…

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