Tag Archives: Panic Attacks

Snapshot

2 Nov

Here’s what I’m up to:

– I’m still recovering from the series of panic attacks I suffered on my birthday, and I’m sleeping really poorly as a result. I’m spending way more time watching TV than I have since I attempted to nurse Isobel, and my attachment to it  is reaching disturbing levels. Mostly I’m watching really dry, science and nature-type stuff, and my lack of sleep causing me to feel like I’m way more knowledgeable about Snowy Egrets or whatever than I actually am. The other night I watched  Touching the Void, which is not something I recommend for someone with anxiety issues who can’t sleep, but it was a fabulous, engrossing documentary nonetheless. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way he described his broken leg. Ever.

– At the advice of my doctor I’m really trying to slow down and cut back on the amount of stuff I’m trying to cram into our daily schedule, and this is hard for me. I hate feeling like I’m not getting stuff done. My To Do list is appalling. Eventually I’m going to get to my email, comments, and DMs and personally thank everyone who reached out and sent me a message. It means so much for me to know you are rooting for me.

– Halloween was as nerdy as it was awesome. Which is to say, very.

– My internet bud E surprised me by sending me this vintage cat and these awesome bookplates, which made me all nostalgic because I totally had them as a child. I love the cat, but Isobel is absolutely wild for it and so it may end up as a permanent fixture in Isobel’s Big Girl Room. That package was an instant mood elevator. Thank you.

– I was having really bad panic attacks the day we took Isobel to the pumpkin patch so I don’t even have enough photos to make a Follow Friday post out of it like I was hoping. Mostly we went to get Isobel out of the house and because I was so restless I needed some air. I ran into an old friend while pumpkin-ing (Hi, Sarah!) and she’s probably reading right now thinking, “Why didn’t you tell me you were crazy?” Well, now you know! I did get a couple cute shots, including this one that makes me laugh every time I see it. Be sure to read the comments on that one. Vastly entertaining.

– My birthday dinner was a lot of fun even though I was still having moments of wanting to hide in a closet for the rest of my life. My friends are lovely and supportive and I’m really lucky to have them. My dear friend Melynda made my favorite Rice Krispie Treats. My bestie Angela bought me a Troy and Abed in the Morning coffee cup that I’ve been using to drink vast amounts of water, and my friend Valerie gave me the g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s vintage mugs in the photo above. They were in her shop and she noticed I was drooling all over them. She also sells vintage on Etsy and has the same 1970s-grandma aesthetic I do, so bookmark her shop for the holidays.

– My friend Stefanie came down from Reno to celebrate our joint birthdays, and she brought with her sheets of Halloween stickers for Isobel. The next day I noticed a bat sticker stuck to Zorro’s butt. I pulled it off but a half an hour later, I found another one clinging to his furry orange backside. Later that night Anthony said to me, “Did you notice that Zorro was covered with pumpkin stickers?”

I ATEN’T DED

24 Oct

So. Hi. How are you? This isn’t awkward, is it? This, the first real post I’ve written since admitting certain things to the internet? No, not awkward at all.

The good news is I’m feeling a lot better and this is all thanks to a combination of a wonderful supportive family, my doctor who has convinced me that I am not crazy, better living through chemistry, and the many comments, emails, and messages I’ve received from you. I seriously cannot thank you enough for the outpouring of love I received, and still continue to receive, since last week. I hope I can return the favor for you sometime.

Certainly not helping my unstable mood was the raging kidney infection that I had but somehow wasn’t aware of. Too busy assuming I was going crazy, I guess. When the doctor ran a blood panel on me to make sure my thyroid was behaving they discovered the infection.

I hope this post isn’t already heading into pity party territory because that would be a shame. I feel like I’ve been doing all the right things for my condition: taking it slow, going through life like a horse wearing blinders, focusing only on the small bits of life directly in front of me, one at a time.

My anxiety, a natural tendency I’ve had since birth, started creeping in slowly over the last several months, moving from the edges of my life to the center. Like a mirage, it would seemingly settle in one area, but when I leaned in for examination, it would vanish and pop up in a completely unrelated area of my life. I could never quite pin it down.

A few days ago I woke up and I realized I could get dressed. I could brush my hair and think about dinner without wanting to hide from everyone and everything.  This is what is called progress, and I clung to it like it was a life preserver in the ocean of my mind. I’m still having some issues, but I’m dealing with them as they come.

It might just be that I’m on medication for a long time yet. And that’s okay. I’m moving on from here. I ain’t dead yet.

Edit the Sad Parts

19 Oct

It’s like being trapped under dark water so cold you can’t breathe or think or move. It’s like being inside your own skin and desperately wanting to get out. It’s like being slowly, insistently poisoned by your own mind. There is nothing I want so much as to get away from myself. I haven’t been eating. I’ve been sleeping less and less to the point that one night I didn’t sleep at all.

It was my birthday and I was losing my mind.

I knew something was wrong as far back as Thursday. I could feel the burn of adrenaline streaking through my veins uncontrollably. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t slow my heart or control my breathing. Despite Anthony’s gentle, earnest and numerous attempts to calm me, I felt totally alone and was utterly convinced everyone hated me. I was completely unworthy of my husband and my beautiful child. I was losing my mind.

This was my first panic attack. But it wasn’t my last.

Over the next six days I had more, at first with gaps of recovering, head-clearing and feeling better, but always they returned, and worse than before. Then they grew closer and closer together until I had no relief. I have been seeing a therapist since I was diagnosed with PPD, and over the phone he assured me I was not insane. It took me awhile to believe him. I was convinced I was losing my mind.

I wanted to tell you this because my typical tactic is to keep everything to myself, even from my closest friends. Not many people know this, but I grew up in an alcoholic household and my mother and sister and I dealt with this problem by never mentioning it, ever. Not even to each other. Especially not to each other. I grew up knowing that something was very, very wrong, but I was never exactly sure what that was. One day, I realized it must be me.

We just didn’t talk about it, this problem that was making our lives hell, and life went on, until one day when I was about twenty my father had a seizure. Barely coherent from drinking, he fell to the floor in the living room, convulsing. Firemen saved his life and he was rushed to the hospital, no one knowing if he would make it. When I visited him he looked at me with his bright yellow eyes, not comprehending who I was. When it became apparent he’d survive, doctors still weren’t sure how full his recovery would be. We lived months with the future of our beloved Dad in limbo. He spent months learning to walk again and regaining his motors skills in physical rehab centers. After that, when it became clear his mind and body and heart will mostly recover, and he spent many more months in a drug and alcohol rehab center. I am so proud of him and his ten years of sobriety. He has changed, but I still cling to the old coping methods. I hold it all in, isolating myself from friends and family when I need them most. I still keep my feelings locked deep in my heart like they were shameful things best kept hidden.

Throughout these last six days I’ve lost 10 pounds and countless hours of sleep. At the advice of my therapist I saw my doctor to get back on the medicine I took for PPD. While I was in the doctor’s office sobbing, Isobel rubbed my leg and said, over and over, “Don’t cry, Mama. Don’t cry, Mama. Mama is sad.”

Mama is sad.

I’m sharing this with you because I don’t want to live with half my heart in lock down until the point it spills over into mental disorder. I’m sharing this with you because I want my daughter to grow in a healthier environment that I did. And I wanted to share this with you because I could use the support.