Hi everyone, first post to the board. I'm 55 and had a cerebellum stroke in October. Prior to the stroke I had some major medical issues: Chronic migraine headaches (from which I was/am disabled) and an anxiety disorder that was very well managed such that I was off all medications for the 4 months prior to the stroke and my life was not impacted.
The physical recovery from the stroke has been slow and steady. Main residual effects are balance issues and some cognitive impairment that would not be noticed by most. But the emotional aftermath has been a bear. Up and down and up and down. When I say down I mean suicidal. But depression is not my primary symptom, rather it is crushing anxiety. There have been a few times in my life when the anxiety has been this bad. But it's so protracted and intense and unbearable, it does feel unprecedented in my history.
I know there are physiological effects of stroke that can give rise to emotional turmoil. But I have been working very diligently to combat it. I walk briskly every day, do PT, I've made a big effort to reach out to family and friends for support. I joined Emotions Anonymous, attend one of their meetings every night (mostly online) and have a sponsor. I call the crisis line when I need to.
I'm taking several psychiatric medications in low doses, My psychiatrist seems to favor this approach after a couple of tweaks. I did a two week outpatient therapy program and am now starting individual psychotherapy. I practice meditation and deep breathing, though like the rest, in moderation. I try to do stuff that's fun like playing music.
Despite all this there are still some "structural problems". I don't have a regular routine since I don't work. And I live alone and can get isolated. Still, as mentioned above, I'm making an effort to address these issues. I wasn't suffering before the stroke. Now I'm in hell.
Here's where my big confusion lies. When I was hospitalized from the stroke they immediately took me off my primary migraine medication (DHE) because it's contraindicated for stroke. It's possible it may even have caused my stroke, so I am not going back. To replace it, They have me on round the clock Norco. This seems to be working -- the migraines are controlled. But there is some concern from my psychiatrist, myself and others that the Norco may be implicated in the crushing anxiety. It may not be solely responsible, but it may be a factor, perhaps a big factor.
So I'm wondering if I should try to detox from the Norco, which would be a big undertaking and I don't know where it would leave me in terms of migraine control. Or is crushing anxiety, which lasts for weeks, gets completely resolved for weeks, then comes back again for weeks, something that could be chalked up to 'anxiety disorder meets stroke recovery'?
Any insight appreciated. Thank you.