Mr. Panic Monster Returned

Life has been so busy the last couple of months, and with the holiday season already starting, it is sure to be even busier. I love busy, so I am not complaining. I’m actually making an excuse, an excuse for steering clear of the topic of anxiety. For a while, my anxiety seemed to be disappearing, but the last month has been a brutal reminder that my anxiety is always lurking in the background, just waiting to jump when it sees a moment of weakness.

Over the last month of or so I’ve had a few little hiccups in my health (my anxiety trigger)… I had a small mass appear on my hip that had to be removed. It turned out to be nothing, but scar tissue and fat, but there were a couple of weeks of worry. Honestly, I didn’t think I was that nervous, until the very small operation. And, why?? Simply because I was afraid of having my blood pressure taken. I am having the hardest time recovering from the post-traumatic stress of being so sick after having Luna. Then, my nerves really kicked in as a waited for days for the results of the testing. I felt much better after the whole episode, but a week later was my next appointment with my hypertension specialist.

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I LOVE my doctor. He is blunt, bald, a traveler and has a very dry sense of humor. He does not understand my anxiety or panic at all, yet we somehow work well together. His nonchalant attitude toward my tears and questions of “AM I ABOUT TO DIE???” is very calming. Last time, I saw him I cried and told him how scared I was of dying and not being a Mom anymore. He looked at me seriously, and said, “Why? I’m not worried. It’s my job to worry about you and I’m not. Let me worry. You have no reason to worry. Stop crying.” This brought back memories of church and my Sunday School teacher telling us to “cast our cares upon Him” and “let God worry for you”… it was actually extremely helpful. I love my doctor, which is why I don’t know why this next appointment freaked me out big time. I was so anxious that I was physically ill days before my appointment. Obviously, the appointment didn’t go swimmingly…

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Between the doctors (squeeze an OBGYN appointment in there too), the sleepless nights (thanks Luna) and the hectic schedule, my brave walls of tranquillity began to fall, and Mr. Panic Monster invaded. It’s been rough. Anxiety is always a vicious cycle. Going to the doctor makes me nervous, when I’m nervous I can’t sleep, lack of sleep cause anxiety, the anxiety makes me worry about my blood pressure and so on and so on.

I tried to do all the right things. I made myself exercise every day. I tried really hard to get more sleep. I ate healthy, even drank less coffee. I took deep breaths and my medication, but nothing seemed to help much. The one thing that has helped the most is simply going to all these doctors and being told I’m more or less healthy. Just that bit of reassurance has made me a much happier person this week. It is so very hard to face a fear when you suffer from anxiety disorder, but please know that facing that fear is sometimes the only action that gives relief. At least, that what works for me anyways.

The problem now is fearing fear itself. When you have a panic attack, it’s typical to suffer from anxiety about having another panic attack. You’ve got to understand that having a panic attack is one of the scariest experiences, and often forces you to believe you are dying. Who wouldn’t be afraid of that happening again? Especially, since it leaves you feeling powerless. I’m working to stay in control, which is one big reason why I’m writing this now. Writing is a huge release for me. However, I need to take further action. I need to speak to a professional.

I have been putting off speaking to a therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist/counselor for a VERY long time now. Partially, because I don’t actually know the difference between any of them and partially because it’s embarrassing (though it should not be) and time-consuming. I will do it though… I will. I will. I will. I will. I will.

Hopefully.

Now, if someone could just hold me accountable, or perhaps pick me up, tell me you are taking me to Starbucks and then drop me off at a shrink instead! But, then be sure to bring me Starbucks when it’s over.

If you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, please do your research, find solutions and do what works for you. Talk to people you trust (like me!), take a deep breath and repeat after me, “It get’s better. It always get’s better.”

Cheers!

The Road to Recovery

Today I am 20 days postpartum and feeling a hell of a lot better. After the 10 day hospital stay, the dozens of tests, various doctor visits, and literally hundreds of pills I am happy to say I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and have learned some very valuable life lessons. Living in the hospital and having my blood pressure taken constantly while slowly having the life drained out of me was my definition of torture. It was as if someone force me to live through my worst nightmare. There were moments when I thought I couldn’t take one more second, but now I realize it was just a stepping stone to what life has in store.

This post is kind of serious, so I'll sprinkle some adorable baby photos throughout to lighten the mood!
This post is kind of serious, so I’ll sprinkle some adorable baby photos throughout to lighten the mood!

I am a positive person, (hello! my blog is called “positively panicked”), but anyone who saw me during that hospital stint will tell you I was in a dark place. I know and have studied all the ways to stay positive…I have been to therapists, studied the benefits of positive thinking, meditated, prayed, trained in yoga and read numerous books on not only how to stop a panic attack with positive thinking, but the benefits of it. Yet, at that moment, fear, anxiety and panic took over. No amount of deep breathing, music or change of thought helped.

After Luna’s delivery I quickly went from new-mommy elation to “I’m going to die” in a matter of hours. It didn’t help that some of the nurses were unaware of my high-anxiety and said the exact wrong things to me. One told me that if my guests didn’t leave I’d have seizure. Then,  a doctor told me that if this were 50 years ago I’d be dead, and Husband would be a widower. He then seemed surprised when I my reaction was to cry and curl up in the fetal position. The shocked look on the professionals faces after my blood pressure tests, the dark hospital room and the strict instructions to stay on my side scared me enough to constantly make me imagine Luna’s life without me in it. I’ve never been so scared.

The side effect of the medicines didn’t help. I had hot flashes, the chills, dizziness, weakness, headaches, numbness and more. They had me on 16 blood pressure pills a day, percocet, ambien, celexa and xanax. I was not only an emotional and physical wreck, but was quickly becoming a zombie. Over-medicated, I was unable to function like a new Mom and had no appetite whatsoever. Before leaving the hospital I’d lost all my pregnancy weight plus some. Not exactly how I planned on getting back into my skinny jeans.

Her nursery is still unfinished, but here's a little peak at her crib.
Her nursery is still unfinished, but here’s a little peak at her crib with her in it.

NOW, I realize this all sounds depressing and awful, but I tell you this to explain to you how I clawed my way out of that dark pit. I hope my experience will be able to help anyone feeling sick or depressed. While bed-ridden I was constantly googling my symptoms and searching for someone, anyone who had experienced what I was going through. I was looking for hope, which I found in many places.

The poor staff at my hospital probably dreaded coming in my room. I cried to every single doctor, nurse and tech I saw. One nurse reminded me over and over again to be kind and gentle to myself. She built me up by reminding me that not only did I go through a traumatic labor, but I created a human and am now solely responsible for feeding that human. She told me I was amazing, but I was also sick and not to feel guilty about that. She hit the nail on the head when she compared being internally sick to being externally sick. If my legs were broken I wouldn’t feel bad about having to wear a cast. I wouldn’t feel guilty for not being able to walk, but because I was hurt where no one could see, I felt ashamed. I couldn’t understand why everything had become so difficult, I didn’t want to accept being on so many meds and I needed to get over that kind of thinking.

I received advice from a few blogs, my best friends, Husband, family and even some of my favorite songs, but perhaps the best advice I got was from my Mom. Mom told me to focus on “small victories”. It seems really silly, but around day 7 in the hospital, I gave it a try. I decided to make one small goal for each day and to revel in its completion. First goal, was to take a shower, brush my teeth and change Luna’s diaper myself. Seems a bit ridiculous, but it took every little bit of me to power through the tasks. I did it, I felt successful and I had one small victory to focus on that day.

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Next, I decided to walk down the hallway. I made it halfway before I began losing vision, but I did it. Once we were in our own home, I continued my “small victories” goals. One day my goal was to bathe Luna, next was to blow dry my hair, then do laundry, go to Target and so on… Eventually, these “small victories” felt like big victories. Before I knew it I had a whole list of little accomplishments to focus on and prove to myself that things were improving and I was healing… slowly but surely.

The biggest problem was my medication. The 16 blood pressure pills a day (for real) have taken their toll. They make me so weak and dizzy that often just walking from one room to the next feels like a marathon…and this is coming from the girl who was doing Shaun T’s Asylum at 9 months pregnant! I knew something had to change, and it had to change fast. Thankfully, with the help of my Mom-in-law I was able to get an appointment with Nashville’s only hypertension specialist at Vanderbilt hospital.

Of course, in typical me-fashion, I was anxious, sweating and terrified to meet yet another new doctor where I’d have to explain that I’m anxious and terrified of doctors and hospitals. This doctor didn’t really get “panic attacks”, but the one thing he did get was high blood pressure. It’s his life. After lots of more fun tests he decided that I’m basically healthy and way over-medicated (shocking, I know). My blood pressure was actually very low at this point. NOW, I’m down to 5 pills a day (woohoo!) and will just keep going down from there. This is the biggest victory so far, and I’m only 20 days into this new life.

My little eskimo
My little Eskimo

Through all of this mess, I’ve learned to overcome some big fears. I am forced to slow WAY down and take every day one moment at a time. Every little thing Luna does, Husband does and even each little chore is appreciated. Never again will I take my health for granted. I’ve also gained so much more respect for any sick parents. I can’t imagine how someone with a serious illness and children does it. Mentally, I think I’d lose it, yet I know there are parents out there facing far bigger obstacles than I just faced the first couple of weeks. I don’t know where they find their strength and bravery.

I read a blog recently that spoke about looking at obstacles with excitement. Sure, shitty situations happen to us all, but perhaps every bad day or every closed door is just part of the path to our destiny.  Maybe we are meant to hit 8 closed doors before reaching that opened door. If we look at the obstacles in our life in this light, then they don’t seem quite so bad. The idea that going through this awful labor and delivery experience has just prepared me for something far greater in life makes it bearable. I can see now that every day has gotten better and will continue to improve. And, when I feel normal again I can hopefully use this experience to help someone else.

If anything, I will do my best to teach Luna to be excited about the obstacles in her life and to believe that everything will be okay.

Cheers!

Luna’s Birth Story: A Not-So-Magical Experience

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In case you haven’t heard, we had our baby! Luna Hazel was born on Wednesday January 29th at 12:11pm. She weighed 5 lbs 14 oz and was 18.5 inches long. A perfect bundle of blonde hair and beautiful joy. She could not be a happier, prettier, healthier or better baby, and for that we are SO grateful.

However, her birth was far from perfect and was nothing like I ever would have imagined it. Before giving birth this is exactly what I hoped and imagined delivering our baby would be like….

Contractions would start and I would breathe through them at home for a while. I would do my makeup and hair, eat a big meal and try to relax until contractions got closer together. Once we arrived to the hospital, I would use the labor tub, the labor balls, the labor bar, etc, etc to get through the pain and try to not get an epidural. I’m not necessarily anti-epidural, but I wanted to try to go without one and be free to walk about and do what I please. I hate being attached to anything in a hospital. Anyways, after a few hours, we’d have our baby, a room full of people who love us and all would be right in the world. The end.

Here is what actually happened….

Last Tuesday, I had my regular 37 week check-up at my OBGYN at 8:30am. I felt normal and excited to hear if there were any changes. As the nurse took my blood pressure she looked a little concerned and took it again…and again. Then, she had another nurse come over and take it once more. They asked if my head hurt or if my vision was blurry…it wasn’t. They asked if I felt okay, and I said “Not anymore!” After, the doctor looked me over they told me to “relax” (yeah right) and they’d take my vitals again. The doctor then came in and told me I probably have toxemia and I need to go straight to the hospital…do not go home, do not pass go and collect $200… go directly to the hospital.

OKAY…if you are new to Positively Panicked, allow me to give you a quick description of myself: I have very high anxiety and panic attacks. My triggers are hospitals, sicknesses and high blood pressure. Also, my health during the entire pregnancy was perfect, so this all came as quite a shock.

A little scared, I called Husband to meet me there and drove myself to the hospital where the fun really began. I arrived at 10am and after being observed and tested for a few hours they decided to induce me at 2pm. Toxemia and preeclampsia had been ruled out, but my blood pressure kept getting higher. No one really knows why. So, they started me on pitocin and let the contractions begin. Eventually, my blood pressure only go higher so they put me on magnesium.

When they decided to put me on magnesium I had already been in labor for several hours, was shaken up and scared and really sick of having my blood pressure constantly taken. I was not allowed to eat or drink and was STARVING. (I had a yogurt and half a banana before my OBGYN appointment that morning…and that was it.)  Then, the nurse tells me that magnesium will keep me from having a stroke or seizure, but will make me feel like crap. She said I’d have to have a catheter, stay lying on my left side, I’d feel woozy, get a bad headache and have hot flashes and chills. Awesome, because the situation really wasn’t crappy enough already. Boy, was she right…magnesium makes you feel awful.

At 1am I was dilated to 2cm. I wanted to hurt someone when I heard this. 2cm? Only 2!? I’d already been in labor for almost 12 hours! And, being induced is really not a fun type of labor. They suggested I get an epidural, my first reaction was “no”, but the nurse told me I’d probably be in labor for 12 more hours and reminded me that I’m already stuck in the bed and connected to a million tubes and IV’s, so I said, “Let’s do it.” They also had me wear an oxygen mask the rest of the time.

The epidural made me sick at first (who knew I could feel worse?), but not long after it began working and I actually felt some relief. I even slept a little. Fast forward about 11 hours and I was FINALLY fully dilated and effaced. Now, I was scared. Scared to push, scared to deliver a baby, scared about my high blood pressure, but I was also ready. I wanted to get this over with. I wanted to have my baby, have my blood pressure drop back to normal and get the heck out of my worst nightmare.

Husband, was amazing, never left my side, held me, took photos and coached me through everything. After being in labor for over 22 hours, I only pushed for 25 minutes and our little Luna entered the world. We cried and just stared at her in disbelief because all of a sudden there she was… it was the most surreal experience.

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First family photo
First family photo

I’m so glad I got an epidural because it probably kept my blood pressure at bay during delivery, AND I had a pretty bad perineal tear that I luckily did not have to feel get stitched. I wish this was the end. I wish I could tell you that we got cleaned up, stayed the night and then came home to be parents, but it is so far from the end. My blood pressure would not drop. I had to be kept on magnesium for another 24 hours (still no food, water or ability to get out of the bed). I could not enjoy any visitors because I was so scared, miserable and uncomfortable. Thank God, I got to keep Luna with me and breastfeed right away, but it wasn’t easy after not eating for over 48 hours.

Her body temperature was low for the first couple of hours so they had to take her and heat her up under lights for a little while. They also bathed her and put a tiny bow on her head!
Her body temperature was low for the first couple of hours so they had to take her and heat her up under lights for a little while. They also bathed her and put a tiny bow on her head!

The next day, I was taken off magnesium and allowed to eat, but still stuck in the hospital because my bp was still too high. To make a very long story slightly shorter I’ll just say I was kept in the hospital for 9 nights and 10 days. I felt as if I was tortured and forced to live a nightmare for hours on end. I couldn’t eat for about 5 days due to lack of appetite, nerves and medications. I couldn’t have visitors some days. My anxiety is through the roof. I’m on 3 different blood pressure medications for the time being and have had so many panic attacks over the last week it’s unreal. I was so weak upon being released I could only walk about 30 feet before almost passing out. I am still terrified and trying so hard to keep my mind thinking positively.

Besides, the physical ailments, I am emotionally drained. My hormones are all over place. I cry at everything. I know I am so lucky and blessed to have this beautiful baby and the BEST Husband ever (he never left my side for  the entire 10 days…not once).  At the same time, I am crushed that our first couple of weeks as parents has been so traumatic. I just want to be a mother. I am depressed about being on so much medication and I am really afraid of going back to the doctor this week to check everything.

Luna is perfect. She had jaundice and had to be in the incubator looking thing for a day, but other than that she is perfectly healthy and the most content little baby.

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There were a couple of times that Mommy was not able to breastfeed so Daddy took over with formula.
There were a couple of times that Mommy was not able to breastfeed so Daddy took over with formula.

It’s amazing now to look back to two weeks ago…I was so upset that our nursery wasn’t finished, our newborn photos weren’t scheduled, worried about stretch-marks and gaining too much weight… everything seems so silly now. None of that stupid stuff matters, at all. Our nursery is still unfinished and it’s the last thing on my mind. All of a sudden life has been put in a whole new perspective.

I want to scream “this isn’t FAIR! I’m young, I’m the epitome of health! I’m a vegetarian! I workout 6 days a week! Why is this happening to me?!?!?!” But, Husband has reminded me that it is fair. It’s life. And, I’m lucky. I am here, I am getting stronger and healthier each day. I have a healthy baby. I have a healthy Husband. I have a beautiful home. We have awesome supportive family and friends who have cared for us, brought us food, cleaned our house, watched our pets, prayed for us and supported us in so many ways. Things could be a lot worse.

I don’t know how much I’ll be writing over the next couple of weeks, but I have so much more to share and will definitely be updating as soon as life gets a little more normal.

Thank you all so much for your thoughts, prayers, encouraging messages and positive vibes sent our way. You have no idea how much we appreciate them. Please keep them coming.

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Cheers

Positively Pregnant and Panicked

It’s been far too long since I have talked about anxiety and panic attacks. This is mostly because when I have panicked over the last couple of months it always centered around being pregnant. Since, the pregnancy was a secret for 10 weeks, I couldn’t exactly write about how I felt.

Overall, I am thrilled with how I’ve mentally handled everything. With moving, quitting my job, getting pregnant, attempting to fix up an entire house and traveling all summer I am surprised I haven’t had to up dosage and invest in a straight jacket. I am mostly happy, comfortable and positive about the future…mostly.

On any regular day I have to work to keep the negative and obsessive thoughts at bay and pregnancy has been no different. At any moment over the last 3 months I may have thought one or more of the below…

-I am not really pregnant.

-I am having a miscarriage.

-Something is wrong with this baby.

-We are going to screw up this kid.

-I am going to die in childbirth.

-I am going to get fat and stay fat forever.

-I broke the baby.

-I am having a heart attack (always).

-I am growing to fast.

-I am not being healthy enough.

-I should be teaching.

-I am doing everything wrong.

-I’m lazy, useless and should have a job.

-Everything is changing and I don’t feel the same. (Thanks Keane)

I know this all sounds so depressing and morbid, but that’s what high anxiety and panic attacks does to a person. It’s a little monster invading your every thought and forcing you to dwell on what might/could/will happen. My biggest fear after we decided to have a baby was that I will not be able to handle it. My panic attacks and anxiety have been mostly under control for a while, but what if the hormones and changes bring it all back? What if I go crazy? What if I can’t handle it??

28 years of experience has taught me that my anxiety is at its worse when I have to face big changes in my life. What could be bigger than moving, settling down and starting a family…especially for us? I stressed more about possibly having anxiety during pregnancy than the actual pregnancy itself.

Now, the great news is that even though these negative thoughts are sneaking in and trying to keep me from enjoying this exciting time in my life, I have been able to stay stable and stop them. All my practicing, retail therapy, medicine, praying and yoga are worth it because I feel stronger than ever. I am able to think rationally and remind myself that these scenarios are so unlikely. THEN, I am actually able to stop dwelling, or at least recognize I am about to go down the rabbit hole and seek rational thoughts from Husband.

I am also allowing/forcing myself to relax. Anxiety is common in pregnancy for everyone so I am making time to distress as often as I can. I have been taking baths, reading, doing yoga, writing and spending quality time with friends. It’s not easy for me to relax (I love to work and be busy), but I can tell it’s helping. I so often forget how necessary it is to unwind.

AND, the truly unbelievable thing is that I have not had any medicine in 3 weeks! Not because I wanted to stop taking it, but because I forgot to refill my prescription while traveling and have yet to do so. Miraculously, I still feel fine. I am so amazed at myself. (I do plan on refilling the prescription ASAP, but still…this is unbelievable.)

My advice to anyone who lives with panic attacks and wants to have children is to get control of them first. Do whatever you need to do to get healthier and stronger, be responsible and prepare yourself for the major changes. Change is hard, and we (panic-attack-havers) need lots of preparation before tackling any new challenges.

Here’s to 28 more weeks of a mostly calm and happy pregnancy!

Cheers!

It’s Possible

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It’s been a while since I have discussed my anxiety because my anxiety has improved so much since I began my medication and healthy habits. I still deal with it daily, but it doesn’t seem as tremendous as it used to feel. So, I’ve been able to focus more on my daily life, travels, and events. I feel guilty though, because I started this blog to bring more awareness to anxiety and mental illness, and I have left it to the wayside lately.

The tragedy in Boston today reminded me of the anxiety and panic attacks I faced as a child. As an adult my panic attacks occur when I am compulsively thinking I am going to die of a terrible disease or when there are major scary changes happening in my life. As child though, they happened when others died and when major scary changes happened in the world.

I was an extremely sensitive child (okay fine…I’m still pretty sensitive), and I couldn’t help but put myself in everyone else’s shoes. If I heard of any tragic story…cancer, death, Oklahoma bombing, the book of Revelations, a sick dog, Princess Di, divorce, etc…I couldn’t handle it.

At night, I would dwell and dwell over the stories I overheard on the news or from the grown-ups around me. I began by crying for the people in the situation. Then, crying because I imagined myself in their position. Eventually, panicked because I had no control and no way to help anyone who was suffering.

I remember the Oklahoma bombing so clearly and I was only 10 years old. What I remember about this tragedy are the stories of the children, and the parents who lost their children. I couldn’t believe such a horrible thing could happen, and I felt heartbroken for those families because I imagined my own parents losing me. I panicked at night because I believed this would just keep happening.

When I learned about the book of Revelations in church (and through a weird brochure some radicals were handing out in the K-Mart parking lot) I had panic attacks for years. I thought the world was ending everyday. I panicked at night because I thought I’d never graduate, have a first kiss, get married, have kids, or have a chance to change the world. I had the most anxiety over my friends. I thought everyone was going to hell and it was my job to save them. At night I drove myself crazy thinking What if they don’t listen? Don’t believe? What if I can’t tell EVERYONE I know about Jesus and the end of times?! What about the kids in Africa!?!?! What about the kids who are raised Buddhist? How can I save EVERYONE!?!?! This isn’t fair.

I even stressed over much smaller things. If I saw a dog on the side of the road that had been hit by a car, I would dwell over the fact that his owners lost their pet. I would create an entire family in my mind and imagine how the little kids must feel when they find out what happened to their dog. By the time I got home, I had imagined a name for the dog, his owners, and their lives together. I now realize my compulsive thoughts started a very long time ago.

There seemed to be something tragic happening everyday and the little girl-me had a lot of trouble handling the world around her. Being extremely sensitive and sympathetic towards other people is a big reason for this, but I obviously suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for the majority of my life. Eventually I learned to deal with a lot of life’s major challenges, but more importantly I learned that I have an illness that can be helped, and I got help.

I wonder how many children in today’s society suffer with the same issues…and what kind of help is available for them.

Today, I cried. Of course. I thought about the fear the runners most have felt. Then the fear their friends and family must have felt. I put myself in their shoes and thought about them all afternoon. I have thought a lot about the people affected in Boston today, but I also carried on. I finished the day. I clapped along with DWTS, and I’ll go to sleep tonight without crying and without having a panic attack.

There is a happy medium. It is possible to be sensitive and not a mess. It is possible to have feelings, be on medication, and not be a zombie. Whatever you might be going through, remember that it can get better, you can get help, and things can improve. It is possible.

Cheers!

Being Medicated

anxiety

Monday was my one-month anniversary of finally visiting a doctor and getting my health on track. I’m already feeling better and I didn’t even cry this time! I want to celebrate by sharing some experiences and answering some questions about anxiety medication.

When I began writing Positively Panicked I began getting lots of questions like How does medication help? Is the medication addictive? Is it the only answer? Does it have side effects? Will you need to be on this medication forever? Is it really necessary?

I don’t mind the questions. In fact, I’m happy to answer them because I want my friends and family to have a better understanding of my life with anxiety and anyone who is dealing with any psychiatric disorder. As a disclaimer, keep in mind that this is strictly from my experiences with anxiety and medicine…everyone is different, very different.

Everyone gets anxious. We each have certain situations that cause us to stress or worry, but some of us stress and worry all day everyday. Some of us have panic attacks. We are the ones with anxiety/panic disorders. On any typical day I worry about every single little occurrence.

No one will like me because of my zits. My boss wants to meet with me, I must be getting fired. Husband didn’t call when he said…he was probably run over by a taxi. My stomach hurts because I’m getting a virus. I can’t breathe. My chest hurts. I’m having a heart attack. Oh, it’s going to be so embarrassing when an ambulance picks me up from work. I wonder if people will visit me in the hospital. I wonder if they’ll miss me when I die. What if I can’t have children….

And it goes on and on. I sweat all day, can’t keep food down, my blood pressure is high, my head hurts and my pulses races because of my constant anxiety. The anxiety is mental, but it causes physical ailments. This is not something I can fix through yoga, prayer, friends or relaxing. Believe me…I’VE TRIED. For years, I have tried.

I used to pray every night for peace, for God to carry my burdens… I would literally say “I’m casting my cares upon you! Please! Take them, I can’t carry them anymore!” It took me years to realize that prayer isn’t always simple. Sometimes I was really angry. Often I felt depressed, but now I feel grateful. I finally heard the answer.

The medicine allows me to get through a day and worry at appropriate times. I’m not a zombie or without feelings. I still cry at cheesy commercials. I get angry when Husband leaves his clothes on the floor for the 5,000th time. I get excited when one of my students masters a new skill, and I worry when I should worry. I feel like I can be me; the person the anxiety is always concealing.

Medicine is not the only option. Some people improve with lifestyle changes, others need therapy, but most need a combination of things.  I need a little of all of the above. The goal is to gain control of my thoughts, reverse my negative beliefs and eventually stop taking medicine.

At my recent appointment the doctor said my blood pressure and heart rate were much better. Luckily, the medicine and dosage are working just as they should and it’s keeping me healthy.

One more question I often hear: Are you worried about being too open/honest with EVERYONE?

My answer: Not at all. Being honest and living so openly is such a relief. I’ve heard from several friends, family members and readers who can relate and are now recognizing their own struggles. I couldn’t be happier.

Thank you to everyone for stopping by each day to read about my life, my fears, and positively panicked moments.

Cheers!

P.S. Got anymore questions? Ask away!

Still Going Strong

heartbeat
My soul must move all over the place!

I had my second doctor appointment today. I had to have an echocardiogram done to check my heart murmur. (No results yet.) I have not felt nervous or anxious about the appointment all week (yay me!) Until last night…

I started getting a teeny bit worried last night, but Husband did his best to derail my train of thought before it got out of hand. This morning was rougher. I was very nervous from the moment I woke. I couldn’t speak as we walked to the bus, and I tried so hard to not let my thoughts go there.

There was a car fire a block away blocking the bus so we decided to catch a taxi. We walked the entire 15 blocks to the doctor’s office without ever getting a taxi. By the time I signed in I was sweating, my heart was pounding and my nerves were not any better.

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound on your heart, “no big deal”. Husband stayed in the room with me and I lay on my left side as the tech rolled goo all over my chest. This would have been okay if I was not scared of my own heartbeat. I have a phobia of hearing or feeling my heartbeat. I never lay on my left side for this reason.

My heart was beating fast from my nerves, and feeling it pound against the metal table made it that much worse! The tech was not very helpful. She kept telling me all about my heart, turning the sound on so I could hear it beat and commented that my hear rate was really quick. I was this close (my fingers are very close together) to telling her to stop and allow me to sit up.

Husband tried to lighten the mood by asking, “So is it a boy or a girl?” The tech didn’t find him very funny. He decided to quietly squeeze my hand instead.

Luckily, it ended ten minutes later. My obvious reward was coffee; there’s a Starbucks directly across the street. THEN, I got another reward: a New Orleans’s style King Cake!!!

I feel much better now, maybe a tiny bit worried about getting the results, but that’s probably “normal”.

Everyday gets a little easier. Baby steps people

Cheers!