Living with anxiety is like living with a ghost who, on occasion, like’s to pop out of the closet, from behind the door, or behind a shower curtain.
Yes, that’s exactly what it’s been like for the past three months.
The first attack was bad. The second was worse. The third was a little more expected but having one makes you feel like you’re dying.
Your body is screaming at you that something is wrong.
You feel terribly light headed, you shake, your body feels off and you feel like you’re in another world.
Sometimes it gradually comes on, sometimes it hits you like a freight train after you get off an elliptical machine.
After several trips to the E.R., an EKG machine, and a CT scan to make sure that I was having neither a heart attack or a stroke, I was given medicine for it.
I let the medicine run out because I thought I was too much of a man to need it.
I regret that decision as of late as they’ve returned. My therapists have talked me through how to bring myself down off of one, and those techniques are somewhat effective. The key is to try like hell not to give into the fear.
But it’s lonely as hell.
I haven’t been able to work very much since all this started. I’ve been silent on social media (for the most part and probably to the pleasure of some folk) as an attack can eat up an entire day.
I will be going back to the doctor and will be getting back on medicine for this. White knuckling your way through something like this isn’t healthy long term. While there’s nothing wrong with your organs, yet, a constantly elevated blood pressure can cause injuries and lasting medical issues later on.
I don’t want that.
I’ll be going through the blahs again once I am medicated. Contemplating cracks in the wall and dealing with nausea as my body adjusts to the chemicals I am putting in me.
Meanwhile, I’ve been drinking warm milk and working out on my machine. I’ve gained some weight, enough to stretch my buttons on my pants to the breaking point, but I think it’s because I’m building muscle underneath my insulation. But slowly, and surely, I’ll work on getting both my body and mind back under control.
There have been a lot of friends who’ve helped me out – who’ve talked me off the ledge. They’ve assured me in the throes of the panic that I am not dying and the doctors I’ve been to aren’t crazy. To them, I say thank you.
I do, however, have a greater appreciation for mental illness. I really appreciate and am humbled by this mess going on right now and could only imagine what someone with a more powerful illness must go through. When your mind speaks, it demands that you listen, and that gray matter is a powerful and very loud instrument.
I know often times I am not the most diplomatic person, sometimes to the detriment of popularity, but as a mental health advocate, especially my brothers and sisters in arms who suffer from PTSD and other service-related injuries – I am pretty much ready to become even less so.
Mental health should not be put into the shadows, I agree. But it shouldn’t be brought out into the light and treated as a trope or a money maker. It should be respected as the diseases of the mind are extremely powerful. They hurt in ways that are impossible to explain. Depression, S.A.D., Cyclical Dysthymia, Eating Disorders, Panic Disorders, G.A.D, Borderline Personalities, Bi-polar Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Schizophrenia are just a few of the many issues that American’s have.
There’s an entire doorstopper of a book called a D.S.M (it’s up to volume 5 now) that psychologists and Psychiatrists use to treat and diagnose these maladies. Psychopharmacology that is used to treat these and many other illnesses often times makes the treated physically ill. Personally, they made me weepy, tired, they gave me diarrhea, dry mouth, and made me very tired. There were zaps in my head that would make me feel scared and it takes up to a month to get into your system and become therapeutic. In the interim, the patient takes benzo’s (a highly addictive fast-acting medicine) to calm down should a panic attack happen.
Googling your symptoms is a double edge sword. BEcause according to WebMD you could have a panic disorder, or you could be dying of cancer. But that’s always their second choice, even if you stub your toe. You could ice it, or try chemotherapy. However, also thanks to Google, there are a lot of forums and support groups that pretty much list every symptom you possibly could have and there’s something to the knowledge that what I am going through isn’t unusual for my condition.
I mouthed off about a book recently that had some controversial topics about it. I don’t apologize for that, especially now that I am going through this. But I will apologize to anyone who reads this about not listening to other’s when they said that some of the things being written were hurtful. I brushed them aside. I now know what it’s like to feel invisible, to not be heard, to be sitting next to my husband who’s laughing at a television program while I sit on the opposite side of the couch trying to catch my breath. It’s not fun. It’s not something that should be brushed aside.
Hurting someone whether intentionally or unintentionally isn’t funny. Making a buck off of someone else’s misery is …well, I promised myself I wouldn’t cuss about this…fucked up! (sorry, I didn’t make it) If you’re going to get into an issue, I would encourage you to get into it. Learn something, teach something, elevate the conversation into something that can educate the world. If you don’t feel like you can, then don’t. Let someone else do it.
Meanwhile, I will continue drinking my warm milk. Exercising. And keeping my breath Trying to get my head back on right. In the interim, consider me batshit crazy – but that’s always been the case.