Monday, April 1, 2013

Hello Panic, My Old Friend

So it's been a while. I tend to shut down from important things when I'm feeling anxious and panicky, which seems to have been a lot, lately. Interestingly, I went back and looked through posts from my last pregnancy and this is about where the wheels started to fall off last time, too. Back then, I turned to chemical assistance in the form of Zoloft, which really helped a lot. 5 years later, Zoloft is no longer considered to be safe in pregnancy, so I don't have that crutch to fall back on.

Since we began exercising regularly, running and yoga and good exercise sessions have really done a lot to help me manage anxiety levels and keep myself sane. Unfortunately, those are the very things that are causing me anxiety right now, including one really awesome panic attack on Saturday. I had a lovely (sloooooooow) 14 mile run that morning, walking 3 minutes and running 3 minutes, (or some kind of slow waddle-jog that I'm pretending is "running," anyway). Somewhere around mile 13 I convinced myself that all of the running I had been doing had surely deprived my baby of much-needed oxygen and that she would therefore be born with some kind of brain damage and serious developmental delay, which would be 100% my fault. As I always do after long runs, I broke out the doppler to make sure that all was well in there, and then proceeded to nearly lose my shit after it took an excruciatingly long full minute to find the best listening spot. I won't even get into the places my brain was going.

So then I spent about an hour consulting Dr. Google (a big no-no, I get that) and getting more and more frustrated that everything in existence talked about "theoretical risks" of fetal hypoxia and decreased blood flow, but that those were just ideas and nothing had been proven by real, legitimate research, which actually continues to show that exercise during pregnancy is beneficial to both mother and baby. Because I couldn't possibly be satisfied by that, I then got to thinking what the authors of said research actually mean by "moderate and moderately strenuous" levels of effort, and worrying about whether what I thought was a perceived 7-8 effort on a scale of 1-10 was just me underestimating how hard I was working and that I was really exercising at a level of 9-10 and just not realizing it (never mind how irrational that is, because pre-pregnancy my speedwork and interval training regularly pushed me well past the 7-8 range and into the 9-10 and it was absolutely unsustainable for long periods of time).

Then I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it (you know, I OBSESSED - because that's what puts the "O" in "OCD.") and eventually worked myself up into a full-blown panic attack complete with crying and sobbing and gasping for breath. And my poor husband and my poor kid were there to see it all spiral down. And my favorite friend R, who consoled me through gchat and eventually helped to talk me down from my ledge, who continues to listen to my anxiety ridden worry-fests and uses her very scientific perspective to help me see that I'm worrying over nothing. Especially since she has an MS in biology and knows a thing or two about how these things work. And my husband, who was still dealing with the remnants from it last night, who helped me to see that if there really was a cause and effect relationship, then surely there would be research that showed it and surely my own OB (plus two others that I visited earlier on the pregnancy) would have said Hell to the No about continuing to run and planning to run a full marathon.

Did this post seem rambly? Because that's about how my brain is working these days. I wish you could take them out to check on their well-being and then put them back in to finish cooking.


  1. Dude - anxiety sucks. I'm glad you have a friend and a husband who are there for you and can talk to you off the ledge, so to speak. Hang in there - you're getting closer and closer to meeting your baby girl. You've rocked this pregnancy and only have a bit more to go - maybe think of it like you would a marathon? This is your last 5K of the marathon. You've got this.

  2. It sucks that the anxiety is one more thing you have to manage. But you're doing great though, impressively so, and almost there! (((Hugs)))



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