May 06, 2015
So let's talk about weird health things. I have a weird health thing to talk about.
I mentioned recently (around the time I Q-U-I-T mah J-O-B) that my hands shake when I'm nervous or anxious. That's kinda only the half of it.
When your hands start shaking uncontrollably, your brain immediately starts thinking of Big Bad Things, like Parkinson's, or MS. And that's what was happening. I would feel fine, sitting there with friends, with no reason to feel anxious about anything. And then I'd bring my glass up to my mouth and suddenly my hand would be all:
And someone would notice, and ask me if I was okay, and I would admit that I didn't know. It was just something that was happening a lot.
The good news is that it's NOT any of the Big Bad Things. It's a common movement disorder known as Essential Tremor.
It apparently used to be called Benign Essential Tremor to differentiate it from the more vicious, debilitating disorders, but "benign" was eventually dropped because HEY YOU KNOW WHAT THIS ONE STILL FUCKING SUCKS.
Writing with a pen or pencil, putting on makeup, just about any small task involving my hands is almost unbearably difficult these days. Despite being an extrovert, social situations make me incredibly nervous now because I'm so embarrassed by the shaking (which of course just gets even worse when I'm nervous gaaaahhhhh). I used to talk with my hands; now I keep them pressed tightly against my body to keep them still so no one will notice or ask if I'm okay because I'M FINE I'M FINE STOP ASKING YOU WILL ONLY ANGER MY NEURONS.
(I use straws a lot now.)
When it gets worse, I have problems typing or holding on to my phone or small objects. My head will bob in a barely-perceptible "yes-yes" motion. Sometimes you can hear it in my voice, a shaky tremble of my vocal cords. On the very VERY worst day I ever had with it (which so far has thankfully remained a one-time thing), I felt like my entire nervous system was vibrating, and unsteady on my feet.
Later that same day, however, I was perfectly, totally still.
There are some medication options (beta blockers, anti-seizure, etc.) but the first course of action is to focus on stress levels. Which, COINCIDENTALLY ENOUGH, have been at an all-time high for me lately, and rising in perfect lock-step with my symptoms. Fatigue and caffeine also make ET worse.
Considering my life cycle for the past six months was to freak out all day about work, sleep like complete garbage all night thanks to anxiety dreams and a brain that wouldn't shut off, then wake up and chug coffee all day to make up for the lack of sleep...welp. No reason I should be shaking like a leaf there! It's a damned mystery for the ages.
So. Yeah. I'm trying. Slowly cutting back on the caffeine. Deep breathing exercises and meditation. I've upped my workout to an hour of weight lifting and take a walk outside every day. I break my day down into small reasonable tasks and won't prioritize work tasks at the expense of the ones related to my mental and physical health. I even downloaded a goddamn app for stress and anxiety, because this is America in 2015, apparently.
/small voice it's actually a really helpful app two thumbs up/
I'm still shaking. Today not too badly, and yesterday was pretty good too. I know most of you will probably never see me in person, but for those that do: Yeah, I'm okay, I'm fine, please just ignore what my hands are doing. And to the fella over there with the hella good hair, won't you come on over baby we can shake, shake, shake.
(SORRY YOU KNOW I HAD TO.)