I am in my spot where I find the most comfort when I need it. Its here I feel I can hide if I need too, feel safe if I need it, and know it won’t betray me. I am not a person who has ever liked wearing a housecoat. I tried many times but it was just never for me; until now. I found a slice of heaven.
I have had a very trying day. It was the kind of day where you come home and you are quiet and too wiped out to talk about it. To make matters worse I could not even cook myself a hot meal and that sent me into a sour mood. I snacked on a pepperoni stick and cheese. Then I crashed for three hours and I woke up feeling a world of doom.
I let myself weep and my thoughts were that I was crashing again. I had to understand that I was not crashing but my body and soul were telling me that they needed some TLC. It was a reminder that I forgot to take care of myself today.
That is my goal that I am focusing on right now. Taking care of myself. If I do not do it, who will?
There comes a point where we survive the emotional crash. We really do. When it is at it’s peak it feels like it will never end and will only get worse. I have been there many times and each time I am almost positive this is it, this is where my body says it can not handle it anymore. But I have to listen to my body. I have too.
I hear my body tell me its exhausted. It wants to rest and let my brain have little to think about. I have to let the panic attacks roll out of me and brace for their impact.
I feel I am on the way back up the hill. I pushed myself throughout the week on mini outings, testing how far my brain and body would let me go. Each time it sent a clear message that it was enough and it was time to rest.
Last night was the real test, a bigger outing, claustrophobic amounts of people gathering in a small space. I was there to show my love and support to a family that recently adopted me as a long lost sister and aunt to their children. It was their son’s music recital. Everything he does makes me super proud.
In my mind I had my escape planned out if necessary. But my night was filled with laughter and love. And of course a monster bear hug from the star of the show my most excellent nephew. I was worried the whole time that I would break down into bouts of tears because I would not be able to handle the entire 2 hours. I have to say half way through the show my appetite came back to a fury and I thought I could eat the chair I was sitting in. Another good sign that things are getting better.
Today is another big day for me. I am returning home. It is not my house but another place where I feel comfortable, peaceful, and full of joy. All those feelings you have for the home you love. I can smell it already the perfume I will be entangled with when I open the door to go inside.
After that I plan on a serious reward of napping because I am going out for girls night with a bunch of ladies who I never really hang out with in a social setting. Another push forward to healing. We have to do that to heal; push ourselves forward into tasks that feel a bit uncomfortable. It’s a test to see if we need more time for healing or it’s time to resume regular living.
Moral of the story: I put it out into the universe that my one friend who goes through the same thing I do; failed me and broke my heart as I struggled this past week. Selfish maybe? I won’t put too much energy into determining if I am a right or wrong. The universe responded by bringing people into my life this week that circled me with unknowing support.
On a totally different note. I signed up for a barkbox for my big dog. It came yesterday and just like a tv commercial she was almost smiling that the whole entire thing was for her. She didnt know what to play with first, the treats made her eyes sparkle with delight, and her owner thought it was just like Christmas. I would have inserted a picture here of her and her mail but there was no time for a picture when exciting things were to be played with.
Today’s post was inspired by Uncontrollably ME’s post #anxietylife. I was hidden beneath my duvet hoping that if my eyes open my roller coaster ride would be over. I figure why not distract myself with the ever so faithful iPhone and its many mind distracting apps and tons of emails inviting me to shop at an unbelievable sale of a lifetime. It was while I was scrolling through the emails that I stumbled upon her post. It gave me the inspiration to put the words out there that hey I feel incredibly horrible.
I instinctively know or can sense when the crash is coming. I pretend not to know it; like refusing to look it in the eye. But it is coming. The panic attacks are small and happen every few days. These ones are manageable. They eventually increase in strength and find myself running home to where I believe I am the most safe and comfortable.
My doctor has me on the path of trying everything under the sun that is natural. She is not wanting to pursue the path of medication. I am taking magnesium, gaba, omega-3, and (insert exaggeration) 20 other natural products. I am being open to trying them. I found for myself that the magnesium and gaba work well for me.
My back has nerve pain, adrenaline runs wild through my arms and chest, my neck muscles tighten, and I breathe patterned breathing. The natural products are no longer working and I am relying on Ativan to make it through the day. I feel like I am going to crash and burn soon. I go see my doctor and tell her nothing is working and my nerves are bad. She recommends a couple more natural products. 4 days later I can hardly keep it together, I am crying and having severe panic attacks. I actually have one that sends me to the emergency room; even though I know there is nothing there they can do but tell me to take the Ativan and let it work. They are right it works but it is short lived.
I return to my doctor four days later since I last saw her and tell her I am at the end of my rope and I can no longer keep pretending the natural vitamin and minerals are working. She prescribes a stronger sedative and tells me to come see her every day if I have too. She says that she thinks its time to have my antidepressant assessed by a psychiatrist. I am relieved because I have calculated that I have been having way too many ups and downs in the past year.
I have been using the stronger sedative as prescribed and its slowly helping me. I need to get back on my feet. I want to feel life again. I want to know what it is like to laugh and have fun.
If you have read the blog post by Uncontrollably ME; that is exactly what I go through and have been going through for way too long lately. She also reminded me that I have that one friend that goes through the exact same thing as me and I can always count on her to check in on me and talk it out. The unfortunate thing is she has been off the radar for a few months now; it’s been horribly hard to get a hold of her when I need that chat to know we get through this, we do live, it does pass. I find that there are very few people that I can tell what it is I go through because they simply do not understand because it has never touched their life and it becomes difficult to know how far you can let them in at times like this. I wish there was a private group text that anyone could reach out and be reassured by someone who lives this and knows the right thing to say.
I decided to take a week off work because I know I need the rest. My brain needs the rest. My brain also needs lots of water to heal. I am not sure if I have anytime off left for me to be off this long but I had to take it by the balls and say this time is for me and I need to recoup. Small projects, contacting my EAP program, naps, soft read books, and very supportive family is what is getting me by day by day.
I do worry about what next week will bring. Will I be strong enough to return to work? In the near future I am required to get on a plane and go work 14 hrs away; will I be able to do it? Will my brain be able to handle it all? These are all thoughts that have to be shelved in order to heal now.
Wait a minute!!! There is no cure for anxiety?!? Whoa! I feel every time I am struck with anxiety or panic attacks I must find an absolute cure. They are so debilitating and consuming that I feel there MUST be a cure for them.
I have just gone through one of the worst weeks in a long time. I was bound and determined to discover why on earth this was happening to me. Even though I have
been living with this since I was a wee kid.
I have picked up a new fear of traveling. I was supposed to go on a business trip that was 2 hr plane ride and 4 hour drive away. Something I have done for years and always enjoyed. But this time was a no go. I was paralyzed with fear and physically sick and the notion of the thought of this trip. I did not go.
My week was filled with catastrophic thinking, out of this world panic attacks, and bouts of weeping. My plate was full of this horrible stuff.
What I had been researching and with regular visits with my doctor we had discovered this new thing in my life. Premenopause or perimenopause. Oh boy! The information out there is at times overwhelming but also helpful in understanding my symptoms.
I won’t go into it here but I figure this is what is giving life my anxiety and panic. I will say that a strong support system is necessary and bless each and everyone of them for standing beside us and telling us you will get through it. I have some things I am going to try going forward and hopefully they work and get me through this hormonal mess. I miss traveling so
My mom and dad have never once in all my years shown me any physical or verbal affection. It simply does not exist. There is no pat on the back welcoming me home. There is no hug of congratulations. There is no tissue handed to me after a meltdown. There are no “I love you’s,” or words of affirmation. Zilch.
As a child growing up in a home like this I did not understand that a child should have parental love. I was frequently a part of my grandparents home where parental love was abundant. So I learned that a loveless home was normal.
I have to add a note here. My parents love me. They bend over backwards for me. They drop everything in a heartbeat if it means doing that. I know what their pasts were like for them and I totally understand why our home has zero mushy moments. But I am craving for that to change. Am I being selfish?
Growing up as a teenager and into a young adult it never dawned on me why boyfriends were all such assholes. I figured at that time guys were all like this and I just put up with it. Those were turbulent times; sometimes literally.
Today I am hidden deep beneath my goose down duvet with my head laying on my tear soaked pillow. As per usual, I like to peel away the layers of why I have my ups and downs and panic attacks. I have come up with a few items of interest for myself.
I am almost certain I am in the early stages of perimenopausal, have some workplace stress, and I am at the end stages of my period. With all these things, I have come to the realization that I am craving love. I want to experience it. I want to know what it feels like. Of course I have friends and family who love me to pieces but there is that other piece that I want to know what it feels like.
Hi. I haven’t been around in awhile. I was feeling so awesome for so long. When I was feeling good I let go of most of my self care and just did nothing.
I had invested so much in myself not that long ago. I was exercising, eating right, resting when it was necessary, and making me a priority. Stress at my old job had me tossing out myself as a priority and just stopped investing in me. And that all lead up to a tumble into anxiety, panic, and depression.
So getting back on the “me train” has been baby steps forward. Then I was feeling good so I stopped with the baby steps. When I did that I tripped and fell into anxiety and panic. It took me by such surprise that I could not believe it.
I am trying to regain myself and my confidence. Its been a struggle. I want to hide under a rock and hopefully a magical cure will land at my feet. But I know that will not happen.
I am on a work trip. Its 3 days. One day travel, one day meeting, and one day travel. So not too bad. I am about a four hour drive from home.
But I feel like hell. My anxiety is sky high. My IBS is reminding me chill out.
I know I can do this. I have done it before for a lot longer. I have the tools I need to get through this. I have great co-workers in the same hotel as me so I am not alone. Its just getting through it. There is no reason to feel scared. I got this. I don’t have to do a presentation. I don’t have to do much other than sit and smile. And heck, I could leave early with a “migraine.” And thats it. It will be time to go home. Once I get home this will be a fantastic accomplishment for me.
I have been having panic attacks since I was a wee child. So I am an expert at this and know I can get through it all.
This is my time to show my employer that I am committed to this organization. I will learn from the meeting and take away from it to give to others. If that makes sense at all; it does to me.
But what is it that is so awful? I did not have to do any driving. Woot woot. I am not alone. I know darn well I could call on any one of my coworkers to sit with me. I think my biggest fear is I will panic. That is like the ultimate fear. But there is absolutely nothing to panic about. It is like the ultimate vulnerability.
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.
I do not normally write another post so quickly. But I felt compelled to release my thoughts on recovery from panic.
Panic attacks take a lot of energy from me to the point that I have a rest. I rested after this morning’s ordeal and decided to make the drive through the rolling green countryside to my parents house. As soon as I saw their faces I felt instantly connected. Connected to their peace and quiet. They were heading out to a community dinner; I declined the offer to attend but chauffered them to their destination. I dropped them off and decided to take their two dogs to a local quiet lake location. I arrived at the small lake to find no one there. I rolled up my pant legs gave thanks for this beautiful location, clean water, and lush habitat. I strolled into the icy clear water up to my knees, bent over and splashed to cold lake water on my face several times. This is where my peace is at. This is where I am at.