I have not been here in awhile. You have my apologies. I am in some sort of weird transition and because it is something I am not familiar with, my anxiety and self sabotage are bugging me. I am annoyed with it; as in I should be enjoying my time right now.
Needless to say, I just woke up in my sleep and I am sure that it was a night terror sort of deal. I woke up soaking wet with sweat, feeling hot, and vibrating. When that usually happens I can hear my doctor saying, “Are you sure it’s not low blood sugar?” Of course, I start to hyperventilate that I am going to go into some sort of low sugar shock and start knawing on a tasteless protein bar. But I am sure it is not low blood sugar; just a night terror in my sleep. But in the moment of it; my mind races with all the poor outcomes of why I am suddenly wide awake with a ball of jumbled feelings.
I want to call my mom and ask her to sit with me. I cry because the thought alone makes me feel like some sort of incomplete human. I have my phone in my hand ready to dial but I don’t. I want to push myself to get through this what ever it is.
I have done all my laundry so there is no real task for me to keep my mind busy. I figure why not watch a nice and fuzzy warm movie. I scour through the online listing of available movies to watch but I am suddenly in sweat fits again as all I can see are horror movies. Why can’t there be a list of movies called, “Soothes her During her Night Terrors”?
I am about to text my best friend and just vent that my mind is not letting me sleep but I am in no mood for it. She has been been miserable lately and dealing with her own anxiety. So that option is out.
I watch two ambulances zoom past my window with all their lights flashing. The lights alone jolt my anxiety from it’s almost slumber. My mind races about where they are off too.
I figure the only option I have left is turning on one of the Sex and The City movies and playing oodles of solitare until I fall back to sleep. If not, I could always wash walls. No. Ha ha.
I challenged myself today. Pushed myself beyond my comfort zone. There I was standing in the shade of frozen fear. My arms and legs were moving as they were supposed to, but my mind was scrambling to exit the situation in the most peaceful, respectful, and speediest fashion. I told my brain to quit the four alarm anxiety attack and let me be here and figure it all out on my own.
I signed myself up for lessons on horse care, handling, and riding. Sounds great doesn’t? Nope. I love the beauty of any horse. But put me within touching distance of any sort of horse and I get scared. I’ve ridden a few horses as a child and absolutely loved it. Nothing ever happened between me and horse. In my mind anything bigger than me must be dangerous. Here it was my challenge; get over the fear of this animal.
Yes, my body flashed through moments of panic and anxiety through my first two hours. I requested to be given, “Nikki,” the oldest, most docile, and smallest horse of the group. There I was with Nikki learning how to brush her and get her clean. With a brush in one hand, I laid my other hand on her muscular and sleek back and asked her, “Nikki, can you feel my nerves?” She blinked with her gorgeous eyelashes assuring me to keep brushing and get over myself.
Next, I was to untie my pal Nikki from the fence and lead her around the ring and learn to hold the lead and control her. YIKES!!! What?! This animal is taller, more powerful than me, and I am to lead HER around the ring?! OMG I THINK I AM GOING TO PASS OUT. Then I remembered to breathe. I told myself, do it and quit thinking. I figured Nikki realized she got the dud of the group and let me lead her around. The next thing the small group I was in was to trade off horses and get to walk with each horse. OMG how quickly could I exit this entire situation?! Too late someone came to take Nikki. I ventured off to the side of the ring hoping no one would notice and continue the lesson. There it was, I heard my name being called to lead Celynas. Oh Celynas, so much taller than me and so alert to the wild rabbits hopping outside of the ring. There was one moment when Celynas appeared to be excited to see a rabbit and I was the one telling her she would be fine let’s just keep moving. I handed off Celynas hoping that I could go lay down and recover from the fear that was raging on and off through me. Nope. There he was, my final horse to lead. He liked to nip, lick, and do anything but be lead around the ring. Oh, and yes, the tallest of the horses we were using. His name is Callahan. I took the lead and just about passed out. My trainer noticed and did half a lap with me, giving me a pep talk that I am in charge. There I was leading Callahan, I begged him to behave and I would respect him in return. Callhan and I worked our way for a few laps without and affection from his mouth.
Next was riding and we were all going to use the same horse; Callahan. Oh dear me what Callahan has gotten himself into. It came time for me to get in the saddle and in a moment of anxiety I blurted out to the trainer, “I am terrified of heights and horses!!!!” I got on and immediately started laughing; it is what I do when I am scared. Callahan wouldn’t budge. He wouldn’t go forwards or backwards. The trainer asked me if I understood why. I had no clue; maybe I should just end the evening? The trainer indicated to me that Callhan can feel how scared I am and he was not going to move until I let go of all my fears and trust him. OMG. Seriously. Ok, and there I did it; I let out a huge sigh of air and my shoulders fell to a relaxed state and just like that Callahan started moving forward. With each of his limbering strides, I had to get myself secure in my head and body, because I was sure I was going to tip off the side of the horse. I got off the horse and leaned on the gate and smiled. The one of many lessons were over and I did it. I conquered my fear of animals larger than me. Yes I will still be scared each time I go back. But nothing will feel like how proud I am of myself in putting complete trust in something so unknown.
I should have known that my body and brain would process the entire day in my sleep. Here I am in the middle of the night woken up by night terrors. I started laundry, turned on the Golden Girls on the tv, drinking ice water, and having a protein snack. It has been an hour and half and my night terror has mostly faded. I still have Callahan on my mind; thinking about the next time I will see him. All positive thoughts.
I am so mad! Well kind of, maybe not really. The truth is I am very disappointed. I was seemingly having a great day. The sun is shining, the temperature outside is scorching hot, and I got to work from home. To me those facts alone are the foundation for me to smile all day long. My boss doesn’t need to know that while answering emails and sorting through paperwork that it all happened while I was tending to my herb garden.
I think I was in the direct sun for too long. When I went inside my home I sat under the breeze of my fan and not long later felt a bit too cool. Naturally, I grabbed for a blanket and covered my legs and then thought I would recline on the couch while writing an email. Yup, I fell asleep. Sound asleep I was until I snored so loud I woke up and figured that did not sound cute at all. I dozed back into sleep. I am not sure for how long but I eventually woke up because my bladder was pounding at me for relief. I shot up like I was going to win a marathon and before I could think, I was in full panic attack mode. HUH?! Wait, what? I thought I had to pee? As much as my bladder needed relief, I awoken into a panic attack as well.
No! This was not happening. I kept thinking this really was not going to happen right now. Too late. My mind was spinning with thoughts and my body was reacting to find the quickest and safest way to flee. Part of my brain was already crying, “no no no no no panic attack right now.” There was nothing I could do to calm myself, it was like my panic attack pre-stages occurred while I was sleeping and there was no way to calm down on my own steam.
Panic attack pre-stages – my own personal lingo for what I describe as the build up to full blown panic attack. It is in this pre-stage I have anxiety and I am doing self talk with myself to calm down, that I am safe, and I will be okay. In a pre-stage I can almost deter a panic attack if I start a very focused orientated household chore. Yes, even if it is at 3:00 a.m.
I packed my “to-go” bag and stood outside my home and caught my breath. I continued my numbered breathing pattern as I got myself to what I labelled as my safe spot; the hospital parking lot. I made myself comfortable as possible and telephoned my mom for guided and grounding conversation. It took 10 minutes of that style of talking and I was through the brunt of my panic attack. I hung up the phone with my mom and reassured her if the panic came back I would just go in the hospital. Here I am an hour later my panic attack is over. I usually feel depressed and exhausted but I feel disappointed that it happened at all. Maybe I shouldn’t look at this as a negative experience. I have to go and reflect on this on how there is some positive light to this. I may not come up with anything but I have to try.
To-Go Bag – contains items that bring me comfort and ground me. In it I carry a bottle of pickling spices (the smell reminds me of my Grandmother who was my rock during my most horrific moments in life), my super cozy blanket, lots of water, phone charger and cord, dvd of the Golden Girls, sweet snacks and carb loaded, and other little items that keep my mind busy, calm, and make me laugh. Much like a bag a woman would have ready and packed for when she is set to go to the hospital to give birth.