Anxiety and Arthritis Flare Ups: Scared Stiff

Fudge… I can't go back there, I can't feel like this again.


I haven't had this kind of flare up since the day after I danced all night at the company christmas party 20 years ago. That morning I had to crawl out of bed, to the bathroom (my bladder muscles were tighter back then) and then slide down the stairs on my butt. I remember being so scared that I would stay like this forever, frozen. But it was an episode, and gradually after a few hours, I started feeling better.
The same exact fears came rushing back to me on Tuesday. Except I didn't make it to the bathroom when I woke up in the morning. My first thought of the day was: Am I going to be like this forever now? I couldn't walk without holding on to the walls. I had to hunt for the cane that I thought I put away for good in 2011. My knees hurt so bad, and they shouldn't, they are artificial! My back was in spasms.
I had promised Nikki that I would go over to watch the babies while she went to the gym Tuesday morning. As the morning wore on, I was becoming more apprehensive of this new pain.  I didn't question my ability to care for the boys (nothing ever hurts when I am with them). Once I got there though, I knew picking them up was going to be difficult, if not impossible. I resorted to turning Caillou on Netflix so I wouldn't have to explain to Quinn why I couldn't get on the floor and play with him and Gavin.
As the morning wore on, I was just getting worse. Nikki suggested calling the surgeon to ask if possibly there could be something wrong with the knee replacements. The pain was obscure though, it wasn't centralized in my knees, it was in my legs, my back, my arms…
When I got home I was in a near panic. After sitting down and googling "arthritis flare ups" I tried to stand up and I couldn't. My mind totally went blank, I couldn't remember how to stand up. All my muscles and tendons and bones and joints, everything felt frozen, stiff. I was unable to move my body no matter how much I willed myself. l kept repeating to myself "stand up" "stand up!" and I couldn't, without help.
I had an endodontist appointment at 1:15 to finish the work on 2 of my front teeth that had an abscess. We got home from my endo appointment at about 3pm, and I laid on the sofa and fell asleep. When I woke up I still couldn't get up without hubby's help.
But as the night wore on, and Tuesday turned into Wednesday, I started feeling better. And he had gone to Culver's to get me ice cream Tuesday evening. You know ice cream always makes me feel better.
Yesterday the pain was half what it was the day before, today I'd say a quarter of yesterday. I put the cane away.
Hubby and I were trying to figure out what the trigger was. What caused this? A change in the weather? His shoulder hurt Tuesday night so I guess it could have been the weather.
But more than likely, no matter how much I hate to admit it, dental anxiety brought it on. He had taken an X-ray a few days ago and the infection was still there. I had worked myself into a frenzy.
Do you know what scares me the most about this episode? That my body is capable of feeling such intense pain. And that I was at a point where I couldn't stand up unassisted. What if it was permanent?
I decided that now is not a good time to be weaning off the cymbalta.
What about you? Have you ever had an anxiety related health issue?
This is an article written by a member of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.

More from living

by Rebecca Waldron | 2 days ago
by Cursha Pierce-Lunderman | 3 days ago
by Fairygodboss | 5 days ago
by Fairygodboss | 10 days ago
by Justina Huddleston | 10 days ago
by Aly Walansky | 11 days ago
by Fairygodboss | 12 days ago
by Justina Huddleston | 15 days ago
by Aly Walansky | 25 days ago