beta blocker appreciation post


I’m nearing my second month of taking beta blockers and I still can’t stop thinking about them. I can’t stop telling people about them either. Often when I do, the person stuck listening to me talk about loving my medication tells me that they’re on beta blockers too. They take them for anxiety, migraines. Some people take them for heart stuff like me. I didn’t realise they were so common. And I love them for helping us out.

I take beta blockers because Covid messed my autonomic nervous system up. I have a … genre … of Long Covid that is dysautonomic. The usual functions my body is supposed to get on with are now going a bit wrong. A lot of the stuff I’m going through can be defined by Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. When I change posture, my heart overreacts to a silly level. It is what was making me so breathless and fatigued. POTS explains why I was so fucked in the heat last summer. It explains why I get weird pains in my legs - - from venous pooling. It is what causes my brain fog and new bad memory. Light sensitivity. There are just lots and lots of things to deal with because the nervous system covers so much, it’s all over me.

Now, they can’t treat everything but one thing they can offer me is beta blockers: pills to slow my heart down. This calms my breathlessness and cuts the fatigue down a bit. I felt the change right away, first day. Two months in, I am feeling so grounded. I feel more like myself but not completely, not close. But I’m so much better than I have been for the past year of just / vague Long Covid / so I’m celebrating. The change is like this: I’m moving at a faster speed. It is funny to me that a pill that would slow my heart down is allowing me to move faster, but it really is. The person who transcribes our podcast episodes made a comment to me this week that even my voice has picked up.

I’m still adjusting. I feel like I did nothing for a year and now I’m being careful not to do too much, and making mistakes here and there. buttttt I’m enjoying the rush. I am surprised it’s worked! You know, I never take paracetamol if I have a headache - I never have - because I can’t feel it, don’t believe it. I forgot medicine can be real. I am sitting back at a desk again doing work – and I know, I know, ‘getting back to work’ isn’t the aim here but my work is creative writing and I really like it – my work is the white pube! I have been able to visit my Nan. I have been able to go for an eye test and order new glasses 8-) I have been able to have two friends over my house. I have been able to GO to another friend’s house for a fun takeaway catch-up evening. I got the bus! I don’t know how to stress how big these things are. I didn’t leave the house from June to January unless I was going to doctor’s appointments or walking once every other month around the block. I felt dead!! I love beta blockers. I am coming alive again.

I like it a lot. I have a follow-up appointment with the Long Covid clinic in a week and I’m excited to tell them they really helped me (they’re the ones that realised I had POTS (my GP doesn’t know what it is)). I am excited to tell you too :)

here is a song to celebrate