I am currently languishing in an debilitating period of anxiety. Not that anyone would notice as I stand there talking to them, but inside I am hanging on to every thread of sanity and reality, rationale I can grasp, before it too slides in to the never ending pool of fear.
I am pretty good at it now. I can hold a reasonable conversation, whilst I count my breaths, my heart races and my brain is screaming to rest and fight the panic threatening to crash over me. AM I DYING, is my heart stopping, do I have lung issues, do I have cancer? The list is endless, I do my checks, I take my pulse repeatedly through out the day, counting and checking, counting and checking, crumbling then forgetting for a second until the next wave crashes and washes me away.
In the last week, I had 2 full blown panic attacks. One was in the school car park, tears pooling, my breath rattling and rasping as I try to talk to another adult. Finally letting go and allowing it to consume me wholly in the car, ripping my sanity apart and I sob and gasp, as 3 pairs of young eyes watch me, waiting, concerned, caring and loving. After about 5 minutes of fighting, I manage to calm my breath, my heart and focus on my 3 young children, the guilt looming, have I scared them, damaged them. I try to explain what has happened and that mummy is OK. They just nod and then ask for a snack.
This happened again when I was alone in Chicago at the art museum, the crowds, the heat of bodies, the noise and it started. My focus swam, I started to sweat, heart racing, breathing labored, stumbling out into the cold air, gasping, silently crying, alone and helpless. It’s debilitating and the darkness follows me. I work so hard on breathing, swimming, taking Prozac and slowing down. But this has been two weeks of a hole that gets deeper and wider by the day, I’m scrabbling and scratching to fight my way to the top and then hands pull me back into the dark, just treading water, just keeping my head above…
I can only compare it to that “one” thing that terrifies you and then imagine having that 12 hours a day? Every day for days, weeks and for some people years. Your fear could be flying, spiders, dying, confined spaces, crowds, nuclear war, Trump 🙂 etc etc …. now imagine that emotion, physical manifestation, occurring continuously. BOOM there you have it.
In the last day, I can feel it clearing and getting lighter, but it’s still there with one hand resting on my shoulder.
Please understand, I don’t share any of this for sympathy, but to release the fear, to let it go, to look at it and analyze. I hope it can help others get a clearer idea and I hope for their patience with the craziness of my mind and remember it’s my mind. I work and live like this 50% of my life. It’s not fun and it’s terrifying. It teaches me daily about who I am and what I can share and give and it’s my body’s way of telling me to take my foot of the gas and just be.
Be me – Kelly.