A few months ago, I was feeling really not myself emotionally and I mentioned this to my endo. She told me that I had handled my T1 dx better than many people she had seen and it wasn't surprising that three years later, I was starting to have some depression issues and told me to see the psychologist in her practice. I've been going to him for about 6 months now and my depression has definitely improved. Last month, I had my usual quarterly endo check in. My blood pressure and pulse were pretty high, 140/95, and 120 even though I've been taking losartan for 9 months and usually isn't too bad when I measure it at home. My blood sugar was also 180, about 3 hours after eating something not too carby and well measured. These were pretty surprising numbers for me. We started talking, basically small talk and she started checking my blood pressure and pulse again. they were a bit better. Then we started talking about my thesis and my job search and moving and she took my BP and pulse again. Much higher! So we went back through my numbers the last few years and basically noticed that stressful times in my life make my BP much much higher. No surprise right? Well, she bascially said that she thinks I need to relax more and told me to talk to the psychologist about anti-anxiety meds. At my next appointment I mentioned it and he said that he had spoken with my endo and the psychiatrist in the practice and while I've not been bothered by my anxiety level, the physical manifestations are a bit concerning to my endo and its up to me if I want to try some thing, probably ativan, to get through my thesis and defense, as well as job searching and moving. I should decide by my next pyschologist appointment, in 2 weeks. So my question is, has anyone had to take anti-anxiety meds for a stressful time? Any issues? I don't want to be spacy, I need to be on top of things intellectually for the next few months. Anything I could do other than meditation that's helped?

Tags: anxiety, health, mental

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I started having anxiety symptoms about 3 years after my type 1 diagnosis. They got steadily worse over the next couple of years, and made the year that I did my Master's degree a living hell. I was completely caught off guard by how much diabetes interfered with being a student. I was caught in this horrible cycle of grad-school-stress-related high blood sugar causing more anxiety over high blood sugar causing even higher blood sugar. I don't think I would have gotten through it without anxiety meds. I did a lot of other stuff, too, such as biofeedback and therapy, in addition to making some lifestyle changes to work in the kinds of activities that lowered my stress level. The way I think about it when I look back on it is that I was drowning, and you can't learn to swim when you are in the process of drowning. Meds acted as a life preserver, allowing the fear of drowning to subside enough so that I could learn what I needed to know to operate in my new diabetes-based reality. Side effects on meds vary with drug type, dosage, and the person taking them, of course. Personally, I felt no side effects with what I took (wellbutrin), but even when side effects are present, it's important to weigh them against the effects of the anxiety and ask which are more crippling. Insulin can have some pretty nasty side effects, but I sure wouldn't want to live without it! Good luck!
It is not unusual to have bouts of anxiety with a chronic depression. I have had anxiety attacks and used ativan to treat it. BUT, it's always my last resort. Ativan will knock me out - and I would never even dare take a whole pill because it makes me so sleepy. However, taking half a pill can get me to stop escalating the anxiety and calm down. I have discovered some other things that I much prefer and since doing them, find the anxiety attacks are even more seldom than they once were. I first tried mediation but it just wasn't for me. But then I discovered yoga and Tai Chi. In fact I recently made a pact with myself to try to start each day with Tai Chi. It is centering and helps get me out of my head through the movement of my body.
I will just share some of my tips for dealing with stress. I realize that some people have hormonal imbalances that requires some help to straighten out, but I've personally never taken any anti-anxiety or antidepressant pills. I have had T1 for 20 years, am a 23 year old female with major menstraully caused hormonal imbalances, crazy blood readings at times, and am also a full time student. Have also worked full time at high-stress jobs.

1) Have a sense of humor. When it all piles up, try to look at the funny side of it all (as odd as it sounds). Laughing can make you feel much better, and help you know how to deal with the situation best.

2) Talk it out- When I'm stressed out, I talk to my mom, my fiance, my friends. Talking helps me unload my problems and hearing their suggestions and the care in their voice often puts things in perspective for me, makes me realize whatever little school thing I am dealing with is not the end of the world.

3) Yell really loudly at whatever I am working at that frustrates me. Hehe, not always...but if I am doing a lab report that frustrates me, cursing is a wonderful way to let the lab report know what a pain in my a--er, behind it is. This coincides with the sense of humor I was talking about. Sometimes when I come up with a really colorful swear, I start laughing and the frustration evaporates :-)

3) Music- when working on said lab reports, I will often listen to angry music, aka heavy metal. It's the only kind of music to listen to when dealing with stuff that makes you frustrated.

4) Rewards- when I finish a major project or exam, I snooze or do something completely fun to reward myself and relax.

5) Something I am looking into: dumping my Yasmine birth control and going for an IUD. I hear there is less insulin resistance and that it eliminates most of menstruation altogether. Believe me when I say that it's the woman hormones that can really screw with insulin effectiveness. Not sure what your situation is, but thought I would mention this.

And finally...I always remember that the project I am doing is not so important that I should kill myself stressing over it. I do my best and hand it in, then if I am truly not happy with grades I talk to my Professor and see what I can do to up them.

I recently went through an extremely stressful period, on top of my normal stress. I was finishing the last full time course I'd need for my next school level, an accelerated math course in the sense that the whole thing was squeezed into the Nov/Dec period. I was also doing a Law course with huge projects. At the end of November/into December, I had the following stresses: Convocation ceremony/speech (I was picked as Valedictorian), my 2 courses, I was broke and had like $20/week for food, I was being evicted, and had a huge Law project with a video I had to make and a mock trial court case + prep work. I also had my finals on the same day as my eviction date was set, then 2 days after I finished I had to fly from Vancouver Canada to Des Moines (Iowa) to spend some time with fiance's family, a 2 month trip. When I wrote my finals I had not slept in 2 days. I got to sleep, then had to pack for trip; all my clothes had gone missing so I had to leave with a few random articles I had found lying around. Don't worry, things calmed down after, and I have had a relaxing few months after that + fiance got me new clothes. But yes I know what you mean about moving and school, and having T1. I just didn't stress about Diabetes; I dealt with my BS as I took readings, tried to eat as well as I could, and took things one step at a time. Like I said I cussed when I was mad, and that helped to relieve my stress. Looking back at it all now I can laugh and feel proud at finishing that step no matter what was thrown at me.

I hope something I said will help you out!!! :-)

- Kate
I took some antianxiety pills about 4 years ago. My mother was dying, and I didn't handle it really well. Well, actually I did, but I had to get some help from my doctor because I couldn't sleep. I couldn't get my pulse rate below 95. I also have low blood pressure problems, so they had that to work with also. Funny, though, with the antianxiety pills My pulse rate slowed and it didn't lower my blood pressure.

I agree with one little dust bunni. I love that name. That name makes me smile adn laugh inside.

Especially on No 1.
If you have a sec, go to youtube and check out this link. I think it was put together for the annual making sense of diabetes where there is a video contest about how diabetes affects your senses. Some great guy (by great I mean more clever than I am) also threw together some that are under the title My Life as a Pin Cushion.
Even if you don't have time, you have to at least watch the one called The Diabetes Police. We can all (all types of diabetics) appreciate that one.

The fact that we can laugh about these vidoes means we should be allowed to be overwhelmed at some points, I think. There is so much to keep track of. We can't even eat a banana without doing some figuring, and depending on how ripe the banana is, we will probably over or underestimate the insulin we need for the carbs. Oh yeah, and if you put lotion on your hands after the last time you washed them, you'd better not check your blood sugar before you wash them again, or you might get a reading that is too high.
I find Tai Chi helps too, also qi gong. I also find playing soothing music helps keep the brain calmer, sounds a bit odd but works. Especially when you are studying, a rather lonely business at the best of times.
I've taken Ativan a few times. My husband has a script for his fear of flying. Ativan made me feel out of it & spacey, but I have strong reactions to any med.
Yes, I too suffer from anxiety though I have not had it for a long time. There are some meds, which you and your doctor should discuss that do not have too much, or any effect on blood sugar and make you "spacey". I am on one at the moment that actually deals with the anxiety (and it is not always because of anything in particular!) and lowers blood sugars! So, my insulin requirements have reduced a bit!

It is well worth it, and as I said, there are some that do not have such side effects - it does tend to be bit about experimentation as I am sure that you know, we are all individuals and react to different things in different ways, but there is one out there for you! Go find it!

I do not know how regimented you are with your study but it would help if you could try and pace yourself and intersperse bouts of study with something mundane or taking a walk or doing something pleasant! You would find it easier to study when you come back to it!
I have to be honest with you, psychiatric meds can be a real problem. I deal with stress in my life just as you do and my blood pressure can rise (and it usually does when I see a dr). But I "cope" with my life. And from what you have said, you are doing exactly the same. Give yourself some credit, you are pursuing a graduate degree, you have D, how can you not have some stresss in your life?

Let me ask you.. Envision yourself getting up to defend your thesis in front of all the faculty and students. Do you think you will be anxious or panic? Is it serious enough that it would impede your ability to defend? If you can see yourself going through that very stressful life event, then you don't need some medication to get through life.

Remember, if you see a psychiatrist, they only prescribe medications and you should expect that you will walk out of the office with some pills. If you see a psychologist, they will give you therapy and maybe help you with techniques to deal with stress and so forth. "If" you have a problem, see a psychologist first and only use medication as a last resort. But please, do some close examination on whether you have any issues. Your feelings matter a lot more than elevated blood pressure during a doctors appointment.

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