Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Morning with Anxiety

Imagine that I'm Cary Grant and that Rosalind Russell is anxiety, throwing crazy symptoms my way. That's pretty much what anxiety is like; symptoms pop up and I have to find ways to either dodge the symptoms completely or find a way for it not to affect me as much. Sadly, today's panic attack was so intense that I wasn't sure it was a panic attack until it passed.

I did have something else planned for today but my anxiety just isn't letting me do anything so it's the perfect time to tell y'all what a morning with anxiety looks like.

My anxiety has been really, really bad today. How bad? Let me outline what a day with anxiety can look like. (note: this is just one example; not every day is like this and not every person experiences the same thing). All these things happened between 6:40 and around 8 a.m.

- 6:40 After sleeping for approximately one hour after dropping mom off at work, I am awakened to this maddening feeling of agitation, my heart racing in my chest, and shaking. I try to ignore it and try falling asleep again since I have my alarm set for 9 a.m.

- Having been sleeping when the panic attack struck, my anxiety shoots through the roof as I have no idea what is going on. I try to remain calm.

- I start feeling as though I will stop breathing and faint so, while still shaking, I get dressed in case I need to get help from my downstairs neighbors.

- I start pacing around the apartment to try to exercise off any excess anxiety. I feel my body temperature rise and I feel my face flush from the anxiety.

- I reach for the holy water and dab a bit on my forehead as I pray. I reach for my Benedictine Rosary as I continue to pace.

- Still feeling dreadful, I send a tweet asking for prayers because I am still unsure of whether it's a panic attack or something else. The shaking continues but the heart rate goes down back to normal.

- I send an iMessage to my wingman and ask for prayers; wingman replies within a minute or two and continues talking to me while the panic attack passes. I start feeling faint again so I sit down for a bit.

- I try to distract myself with Twitter while pacing. The shaking begins to subside but am too wound up to sit still.

- After an hour since the initial attack, I begin to feel exhausted from lack of sleep and from the panic attack. Shaking and all other symptoms are done.

- I finally get enough courage to take a short nap before I have to leave at 9 a.m. I ask my wingman to wake me up in case I sleep through my alarm (because I've been known to do that).

- Approx: 8:05 a.m. I climb into bed with the Rosary and the Chaplet of St. Dymphna that Allison made me in my hands and I curl up into a ball to sleep. I put on The Bishop's Wife on Amazon Instant (via Roku) and leave it on for background noise.

And that was my morning with anxiety. My PTSD has been crazy. This anxiety didn't start until the library incident last month. I get startled easily, I can't sleep (and will often waking up with a start when I'm falling asleep, making the actual falling asleep process that much longer), and I never know when the panic attacks will pop up. I'm physically exhausted and I did lose some weight (almost went back down to underweight last month) because of it. It's just not good. I'm sure part of my stomach problems are because of it as well. Fun times all around.

My therapy sessions for my PTSD don't start until the 19th of this month. I didn't even realize it was St. Joseph's feast day until Julie pointed it out. Maybe these sessions will be the answer to my prayers because I've been praying for these symptoms to calm down some. I can live with anxiety... but I just want to sleep. If I can get some sleep, I can deal with the symptoms much easier.

I'm currently feeling kind of crummy and anxious right now, which is what prompted this. I know many people don't understand anxiety or they read the symptoms and don't think it's as bad as people who suffer from anxiety describe it.

It makes me sad that some people think that I simply don't "try hard enough" or that I "don't trust God enough" and am told that "nothing should make me anxious because God has my back"... and, to be honest, that really ticks me off. This is not about me not trusting God; this is my body's reaction to an incident in which I felt physically threatened. I was so scared that day that something in my brain switched on and I seem to be on hyper-alert since.

I don't have control over it and for someone to say any of the things I just listed is, well, rude. Please don't tell me that I'm not trusting, that I'm not trying hard enough, or anything resembling any of those two sentences because it makes me feel worse. Please don't try to tell me about medications or anything else. I've suffered with anxiety for almost half my life now; I've tried enough things to know what works for me. Please just say a prayer for me or just reassure me that it's anxiety and that it will pass. That's all I need about 99% of the time; for someone just to remind me that it's just a terrible moment that will pass.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with y'all my little experience from this morning. Again, I didn't intend to write all of this but it's Lent. This is a good time to share a little glimpse into the cross that I carry (and have accepted it as my cross for as long as I have to carry it). Don't feel sorry for me as these panic attacks always make me refocus on God and less on petty things that aren't worth worrying about. :)

And that's it. I'm still exhausted from lack of sleep and the panic attack from this morning so I want to take it easy before I head to bed in a couple of hours. :) I hope y'all had a great day. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

1 comment:

MCH said...

I'm praying for you, friend! I've only had one incident (passenger riding in a car driving through a snowstorm) that set me off to the point I was having trouble breathing through it, but it was definitely the scariest sensation I've ever experienced. I'm glad you're getting help and not buying into the myth that it's so easily 'fixed.' Hugs.