About two weeks ago, things finally got to the point where my chronic pain (thus far virtually untouchable by opioids, muscle relaxers, amitriptyline, physical therapy, herbal tea, and massage) was giving me tachycardia. Not the usual oh-I-can-feel-my-heartbeat stuff I’ve been feeling ever since I was a teenager, but honest to god ER-style tachycardia. So, now I’ve got another weapon in my IIH-related-bullshit arsenal: a beta blocker.
It’s called propranolol, but it’s not very funny. Apparently rock stars use it to help with performance anxiety.
It does work, though. After taking half of one of these little green pills, I get to have a normal heart rate even while I’m in pain. While it doesn’t touch any of the mental aspects of being in pain and panicky, it’s good at stopping the racing heartbeat anxiety spiral. It makes my dizziness and headaches worse, but those are pretty common side effects that I am completely willing to cope with if it means I won’t feel like I’m about to die.
Am I disappointed that I’m on another prescription? Yeah, but who wouldn’t be?
It was nice trying to keep everything handled by adhering to a good diet, relaxation techniques, and assorted other non-drug measures, but (regardless of what the internet tells you) some things are bigger than drinking green smoothies, taking herbs, wearing the right jewelry, and meditating.
I’m still going to keep doing whatever I can do to help myself feel better, but it’s good to know that I’ve got backup. No matter how many vegetables you juice, nothing’s going to stop your nervous system from going into overdrive when pain dumps an assload of adrenaline into you. Such is life.
So now I’ve got mountaineering pills for a brain disease, and rock star pills for anxiety.
My medicine cabinet makes me look way cooler and more interesting than I really am.