It is one of those days where I want to write about everything! I have been putting together blogs in my head for over a week with no time to write them, I have had about 10 Facebook status’s daily, which often turn into blogs, I have been offended, disappointed, inspired, overwhelmed, passionate, childish, giddy, contemplative, anxious and depressed in the past week, all with stories behind them. So I either start with what is fresh and move backwards or go back and move forward…
(1 minutes of thought passes here)
I am going with the beginning, cause maybe if I will start there, I will put together how I ended up exhausted, deflated and cynical on my couch tonight.
Which means I have to talk about my anxiety attack. I have anxiety. And maybe depression, but mostly anxiety. I keep it in check with 2 pretty white pills that I take every morning. They typically get the job done. I have been “officially” dealing with anxiety for 8 years (Since Abby was born and my postpartum depression kicked in), but looking back I think I had a few depressive episodes in college. ( I did see a therapist for a while, but she was crazier than me so I figured I was on my own).
And with my anxiety, one of my lifelong fears turned into a full fledged phobia. If you know me, you have seen how fast I bold out of a room when someone says “my stomach hurts”. You have watched me slam my computer shut if someone is going to puke on screen. I have a puke phobia. Now, I know that most people don’t like puke. Who would. This is more than that. This is medication worthy. This is therapy worthy. My life turned into a constant state of panic that someone was going to puke. I thought about it every ten minutes. At least. If someone coughed, I freaked out. If they touched their stomach, I bolted. I had my first real panic attack and let me tell you, it is not something to joke about. It is hell.
But I got help. That was 8 years ago. I still have my puke phobia. I still refuse to watch medical t.v. shows cause someone always pukes. I still think about people puking on a daily basis. But for about 95 percent of the time, I can function pretty well. I can push it out of my mind, and remind myself it is just anxiety. No big deal.
But once or twice a year, it all falls apart. Every trick I learned to manage anxiety, every tool I have, every coping mechanism (healthy and unhealthy) fail me. And I have a few weeks of ridiculous anxiety. Sometimes paired with depression just to keep it interesting.
So last week, when I came home late after work and my 10 year old was on the couch with a “tummy ache” I flipped out. She had just eaten a ton of pizza followed by 90 minutes of basketball practice so of course she was feeling bad. But I, in a split second, flipped out. Anxiety flooded my body. (If you have not experienced an anxiety or panic attack there is no real way to explain how it feels, and I assume it is different for all, but my blood heats up and rushes through my body, my ears ring, the back of my neck tingles, my brain feels like a swarm of bees and I can not sit still for a second)
My husband put the kids to bed and tried to reassure me that all was well. I was shaking, crying, and irrational. I tried to go to bed, but I could not relax, thinking every sound I heard was going to be puke. So finally I brought every blanket down to the basement and slept down there (with the help of a valium). I woke up a few times in the middle of the night, but could not convince myself to go upstairs.
Of course Hanna was fine. She slept all night, woke up cheerful, and headed out to school. I, on the other hand, was dealing with puffy baggy eyes and a red swollen face. After a full 24 hours I felt more like myself again. And now, about 5 days later, I feel completely normal me. I can not even fathom how I got so worked up about something so small!
But I did, and I know I will again. And I know my kids will get sick and I know I will deal with it, I have dealt with it before. And survived. But that is the rational talking, and anxiety… phobias… don’t listen to rational.
I write this tonight for me, because I process through writing, but I also write it for you. For any one of you who has ever felt anxiety or depression. Who has ever dealt with a phobia or panic attack. Who has ever felt ashamed or alone or crazy. You are not the only one. There are many of us. And I figure if I can talk about it, if I can be “real” and vulnerable, then maybe other people can feel less shame, or fear, or isolation.
Or maybe you can think, “Well, at least I am not as messed up as her!”