I’ve been living with the diagnosis of Panic Disorder for 5 years.
Last week, I had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had in my life. And I’ve had some really bad ones.
The frustrating thing at the time was there wasn’t even really a trigger. Things were relatively fine throughout the day. That’s always one of the big struggles living with an anxiety disorder – sometimes, it just happens; no real reason or trigger and so it makes it that much more difficult to deal with, for both yourself and whoever you’re with.
I was sitting in the passenger seat on the way home. I’d began feeling the usual nausea and dizziness, so I rested my head and closed my eyes, trying to breathe through it. But it just got so much worse so fast. All at once my heart started pounding, my breathing was shallow and quick, and I could feel any ounce of strength I had draining and I was positive I was going to pass out right there in my seat. Feeling that weak – that faint – is one of the worst feelings I’ve ever known. You’re so vulnerable and helpless and I could barely hear my mom in the driver’s seat asking me all these questions I didn’t have the strength or knowledge to answer. My body felt overheated but I was also shivering, cold sweat on my forehead. And then worst of all – the tingling sensations in my hands and lips that always come during a panic attack. Except this time was different. This was worse. All of this is happening to me, and my panic spiked even higher when I noticed I couldn’t move my fingers. It was the strangest, scariest thing. I’ve never felt that before during a panic attack – like I was actually paralyzed. I’m looking at my hands as they’re tingling and when I realize I can’t move or bend my fingers, I go into full-on hyperventilation and panic. I remember bursting into tears and cried out that I couldn’t move my hands. It took maybe an hour or so before I calmed down enough before I could bend my fingers again into a fist.
I don’t know what the hell that was. I can only hope that it was the first and last time being that severe.
During all of this, my mom made us go to the hospital since we were already in the car just a few minutes away. I convinced her in the waiting room to just go home because being there was just making it worse – it was so crowded and it was going to take forever to see anyone for my symptoms. When we got home she said she finally realized she had to do some of her own research on how to help and deal during one of my panic attacks, which was nice to hear.
Because we don’t always know why our anxiety or a panic attack is triggered. There isn’t always a reason. And being asked over and over again things you simply cannot answer, especially while it’s happening, is beyond unhelpful.
“And to all the self-destructive people who feel they’ll never be themselves again,
just know I understand that self-inflicted pain is self-defense.
So don’t sell yourself short or label yourself as stupid,
because when you’ve hit rock bottom
every movement is a self-improvement.”
I have been a fan of Mitch Welling, aka flatsound, for a few years now. The guy just has a way with words that is so unique and often hits you like a ton of bricks. He gets into your mind and heart and his words have been an incredible help and comfort to me over the years.
This particular spoken word poem of his, “be yourself” is really special. I usually end up listening to his words and songs every day, but this one in particular is very important to me. I wish I had even half of his talent.
I spend so much time living in anger these days that I’m starting to forget the good things. And maybe should…but the thought scares me. It breaks my heart just thinking about it. I’m not sure if I should go on as best I can like you never existed, or just try keeping the bad in the very back of my mind and remember an old friend held so bittersweet in my heart. Because it had to have been real at some point, right? The first friend I made in highschool, just days before it even began at orientation. So here are the things I want to hold onto for as long as I can, even if they sadden me to think about at the same time:
- Your childlike sensibility; watching the cartoon network on your couch with your cats. Never thought I’d miss that innocence you’d held onto now that it’s gone.
- Your granola upbringing, courtesy of your hippie mother. You loved nature and would feed the squirrels outside your window. I miss you feeding the squirrels.
- Blue eyes. Beautiful.
- Your intelligence; the random facts and trivia, always something new to say.
- Unashamed, but quiet around others for the most part, like me.
- The texts you’d send when I wasn’t at school, asking where/how I was.
- Your laugh; contagious, and always made me smile.
- How open you were, how comfortable it was to be in your presence.
- Your forgiveness when I messed up bad… something I could never seem to do in return for you.
- That bond we had, like in the movies. Like sisters separated at birth.
There’s plenty more, but right now all I feel is this ever-present stabbing at the still bleeding wound from your silence from when you left.
Happy birthday. I love you. I miss you. Forever.
“I survived every one of your goodbyes.” – Della Hicks-Wilson
“Amazing, still it seems, I’ll be 23.
I won’t always love what I’ll never have.
I won’t always live in my regrets.”
23 – Jimmy Eat World
It’s my last day of 22. Half of it I spent sleeping, wanting to experience as little of the day as possible. I’ll do the same tomorrow. But I’m tired of it – of not living.
This song, by a band very important to me that I grew up with, has been on my mind lately. For obvious reasons. It’s called 23 and tomorrow that’s how old I’ll be. I want this song to motivate me. I want it to be a part of what gets me to really start living.
Because I have more bad days than good. And some days I can’t even get out of bed. Normal, every-day activities wear me out and I’m tired of wishing my life would just change magically. I know I have to do something about it. It has to be me. I can’t sit around waiting for someone to save me from my loneliness.
And I have been slowly making changes. Slowly but surely. DBT was a huge step for me. I’m writing a book. I’m submitting my writings to different magazines and sites – I’m no longer living stagnant.
I’m in need of a friend – of people – who understand. Where I’ve been, where I need to go. Because I can’t do this alone.