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Old 06-11-2019, 10:25 PM
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Separation anxiety?

Hey, I need some advice. As many of you know, I have several mental health issues. I don't count having conversations with Skittles in other languages to be among them. Neither does he, as he explained to me earlier.

Anyways, in all seriousness, for much of my 'adult' life, the illness that has been the HARDEST to keep in check is my OCD. When I was a teenager and young adult (up to my early-mid 20s), it was my Bipolar that was hardest.

I recently stopped my bedtime anxiety pill because it wasn't doing much other than making me drowsy the next day and I wanted to try something more 'natural' so I switched to Melatonin. Its been fine. My anxiety medication did work, obviously, but IMO not enough to outweigh the side effects.

Problem is, I've noticed an increase in anxiety in the evening. I've experienced dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations etc. I know its anxiety and NOT a heart issue BUT I am mindful of taking it seriously regardless. Evenings are my favorite part of the day- particularly late nights because thats when most people aren't around and its 'peaceful'. I also look forward to my "me time" since Skittles is so demanding during the day and I often can't get things done that I want to do but I am able to do what I NEED to do. So I figured if anything, I'd be less stressed after putting him to bed.

I met with my therapist today and we were discussing it again. She asked me what I do during the day and what I do at night and what the difference is. The only difference is Skittles. He's not around here at night, he's in the bedroom. BUT, I've had him for over 8yrs, I imagine that if it were going to be an issue, that it'd have surfaced by now. My therapist then reminded me that I recently went off my anxiety medication and also did a decrease of my OCD medication. (The latter is common, the doses adjust according to the 'irrationality' of thinking). She hit the nail on the head. Within an hour or two of him going to bed I get this tremendous anxiety and irrational fear of dying. He spends about 90% of his time outside of the cage either on me or near me. He spends hours each day either cuddled up to my neck on my shoulder or hanging out inside my shirt. I get used to him being there.

Now that I'm pretty sure I've found the cause, what the heck do I do for a solution? I thought I'd post this here in case anyone else has found themselves with such an issue and maybe they have some thoughts or ideas. My therapist suggested it as well. I did recently invest in 100% pure lavender oil and a diffuser that I use at night in the living room after Skitty goes to bed. I did read that Lavender (100%) is safe.

I'm gonna be discussing all of this much more with my psych when I see her tomorrow, but I REALLY REALLY do NOT want to go on any more meds.

Thanks.
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Last edited by Skittys_Daddy; 06-11-2019 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:57 PM
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Re: Separation anxiety?

I have a number of hobbies (in fact “starting new hobbies” is practically a hobby in itself LOL) that I find helpful. I knit and crochet-the repetitive motions are calming and really quiet the noise. I’ve recently started “diamond paintings” which require no skill whatsoever but are still fun, and pretty cheap. Coloring is good. I have the stuff to learn calligraphy but I’ve only looked at it. Weirdly, target shooting is great-have to empty your mind of everything and focus on exactly what you’re doing. Puzzles are good.

Some people say exercise helps but I haven’t really tried that for myself.


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Old 06-12-2019, 03:20 AM
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Re: Separation anxiety?

Hi, just wondering if you keep busy after Skittles has gone to bed if this would help you in the short term? Take care with the Lavender oil, check for additives to the oil which make it cheaper, as these are the things that are often fatal to our birds. A pure oil would be better, this will be possibly a lot more expensive. Be sure to air the room before bringing Skittles back in, in the morning. Have you tried drinking Chamomile tea? It is possible to buy loose, dried, Chamomile.



Try and live in the now hun, difficult I know. :-)
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:04 AM
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Re: Separation anxiety?

I take medication for OCD, anxiety and depression. I know what you mean.
Any time you change the amount of medicine, you are going to experience discomfort. I have been through similar. At one point, I even thought I could do without medication so I decided to slowly wean off of it (talked to my doctor about it first). Let's just say it was not good. Don't want to experience that again.
As far as what to do now, not sure. If you don't want to go back to the same dose of medicine, whatever you were taking, you are going to have to wait it out. Skittles is kind of your security blanket and a distraction. That's why anxiety spikes up when he goes to bed. For me, I always feel better when my husband is around. But, once he leaves for work or whatever, I often feel what you described.
If you want to talk about it more, feel free to pm me. I totally sympathize.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:30 AM
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Re: Separation anxiety?

Could it be a combination of withdrawals and anxiety? I wonder if it will improve once your body adjusts to the decreased medication (?)
Could you spend time walking outdoors or exercising in the evening--might wake you up, but depends on how hard you push I suppose.
The more I exercise, the harder it is to get anxious (once I am seriously exhausted anyway).

Last edited by noodles123; 06-12-2019 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:01 PM
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Re: Separation anxiety?

Hey,

Thanks for the replies. I'll reply back in order-

@Inger You are definitely right about that. I actually play on my tablet a lot at night. It has a blue light filter so it doesn't interfere with sleep. I play a number of games on it, but my faves for distraction are: jigsaw, crossstitch and colorbynumber. Though I have a lot of others too. I also have crafts I can do but haven't gotten around to yet (as I'm still in the process of re-organizing). While these DO work for me, for my OCD I don't want to spend my entire night doing puzzles or projects just to keep busy. I want to have some time to do things that don't require much thinking (I've already ruled out politics lol). They also don't get rid of the physical symptoms. They just distract me from them.

@Plumsmom I do try my best to keep busy. Not just because of this issue, but because its the best way to prevent racing thoughts and help keep obsessive thoughts from gaining traction. As for the lavender, I made sure that the kind I bought was 100% Pure with no 'fillers' (whatever that is) and the ONLY ingredient in the one I bought is extracted directly from the lavender plant. I had read that the kind with fillers can actually contain toxic chemicals that could harm or even kill birds. I did have to several dollars more for the pure kind, but nothing is too much when it comes to protecting Skitty. The bottle has only that one ingredient. My living room air purifier is right near Skittles day cage and is running constantly. I'm VERY sensitive to chemical smells and the like so it actually benefits having a bird. I had not considered chamomille tea but I am going to try it.

@Remibird I've never been the type of person to run the medications when I have a problem, so I get what you mean there. I try to be on as few meds as possible but I also know that some conditions may require medications and even therapy in combination. I used to have a habit of stopping my meds when I felt better. I just never considered it as an issue cause I figured going off of a medication when you feel better is logical. Just like with anti-biotics or pain meds. But I never had considered that maybe I was better BECAUSE I was taking the medications because I figured that would be obvious and something only an idiot would do and I never considered myself to be an idiot. Come to find out it has nothing to do with intelligence, but is actually very common in people with mental illness. Once I found that out, I made an effort to remain med compliant. I may take you up on the pm.

@Noodles I had considered that in the beginning. But truth be told, I've done the decrease of the OCD med before and I've even been off of it before when I didn't need it. The medication I used to take for anxiety wasn't a 'strong one' like Xanax or Ativan. It was Vistaril. I used to take Klonopin years ago when I had panic attacks regularly. But having Skittles made it possible for me to 'manage' my symptoms without such a strong medication. But I didn't feel the Vistaril was doing anything more than helping me sleep and I wanted to try something more natural since I've had several non-psych meds added in the past year for non-psych medical issues. Since the Melatonin has helped me sleep at night, I figured it was doing the same as the anxiety medication. Perhaps the Vistaril was doing more for me than I thought. I did see my psych today and we agreed to increase the Luvox back to 300 to see how my OCD adapts.

But for me, its the physical symptoms I feel that are the most bothersome. If it were out of control OCD, well I'd pretty much have a handle on that with meds. But this is different. Its the physical pain I feel that is bothering me. I can only describe it as like "phantom leg syndrome". Its how I feel. I get the physical chest pain on my left shoulder as well as above my heart. These are the places where Skittles spends most of his time. It probably sounds nuts and I originally thought it was as well until my therapist mentioned it and truth be told its the only logical explanation I can think of. As soon as I go to bed and hear him in his cage I begin to feel myself calm down and the symptoms subside. As insane as it sounds. I can't go in there and keep him up so I can feel better.
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Last edited by Skittys_Daddy; 06-12-2019 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:02 PM
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Re: Separation anxiety?

Have you thought about Hemp CBD oil as a treatment? With the near zero amount of THC you don't get high. Like you I am also plagued with mental health issues. Hemp CBD oil is supposed to be very good at helping with depression and anxiety as well as many other things. I looked into it as an alternative to medications. My meds cause weight gain and I'm diabetic so not a great option but it is not really available here in Australia so stuck with it. It might be a little off the wall but the cannabis oil my stepfather takes for his Parkinsons works amazingly so I thought I would suggest it.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:55 PM
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Re: Separation anxiety?

I'm not sure if this would help you but these things personally help my husband and I. We both suffer from chronic anxiety and depression.

I found that personally not drinking any caffeine at least 8 hrs from when I have planned to go to bed. At night, an hour before I go to sleep, I try to talk to someone or listen to something. Audio books and podcasts are a favorite. I used to listen to Welcome to Nightvale because I just find Cecil's voice very soothing.

Someone also suggested it but chamomile tea has a calming effect so I drink it in the evenings. If you have any bulk stores, they sell it for like 100g for $3. The loose leaf stuff always tastes better imo. Parrots can drink it too if you choose to share it with Skittles. If you do choose to do that, make sure it's fully cooled and you may have to dilute it for him.

I have heard good things about Lavender but it's never worked personally for me. I feel like regardless, it'll at least smell nice even if it doesn't work. I will tell you though many companies will sell overpriced nicely packaged oils saying that they're "therapeutic quality". There is no such thing. The no name brand oils work just as well.

My husband does take meds as well for his anxiety. He gets two pills. It took him quite a long time to get it just right. He had to try several different meds, different dosages, and different combinations.
It's a really annoying process honestly. It's definitely worth though if you have the money. He's doing much better day to day. It does make him a little more apathetic but the important thing his lows are not nearly as low.
Ultimately, I don't know your situation or anything so I'm not going to tell you that you have to get meds. It's ultimately up to you and your support system.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:00 PM
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Re: Separation anxiety?

I second the CBD oil. I have never taken it myself, but my parents give it to their elderly dog to ease arthritis pain and anxiety and it has done wonders for him.

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Old 06-12-2019, 09:57 PM
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Re: Separation anxiety?

I've heard of the CBD oil, but I'd have to consult with my psych and my PCP before trying it - especially given the variety of meds I take.

That being said, there is a LOT of confusion over the 'legality' of CBD oil at the federal level. Even I couldn't get a straight answer. Cannabis and cannibis-related products ARE legal in Maine for both medicinal and recreational purposes. BUT, federally, its still a banned substance and I live in federal public housing. The landlords here are obsessed with 'micro-management' and any benefit I'd get from the CBD would be cancelled out by the anxiety I'd get out of fear of getting evicted. The landlord wouldn't even allow people to have medicinal marijuana when it was legal only for medical reasons at the state level. Regardless of prescription and even if it was not smoked. They are just power hungry control freaks. tbh.


Once there is a definitive answer on it, I may look into it. But until the answer is crystal clear at the federal level, I'll have to refrain. If I did not live in public housing then it wouldn't be an issue.
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