Feeling more like myself these past couple of days has been awesome yet I know I'm not there yet, I thought I'd explain why I decided to start this blog, but it has taken a couple of posts... This will be long, but worth it if you suffer with panic disorder, generalized anxiety, or some other mental illness or if you want to know more about me.
A few weeks ago I ended up in the urgent care with severe chest pain and elevated blood pressure. Working on a cardiology unit makes you think crazy things when you feel them, but I've always had this anxiety about my heart. So when I thought I was experiencing chest pain, my go-to thought is that it is my heart... logical right... What's not logical is to take your blood pressure and then freak out when your blood pressure is high when you are already anxious.
So, let us rewind to my first panic attack when I was 18 years old and still in high school. Still, to this date, the most severe I've had, even though some have landed me in the ER. I have not a clue what I'm stressing about in general, but it usually streams around the topic of my health. At that time I was having unexplained chest pain that I brought up to my parents several times and they gave some understandable explanations, but with my personality I always think the worst. Well, I went a few days and never brought it up again even though I was constantly thinking about it. I layed down early on a Friday or Saturday night because I wasn't feeling well, when my face grew hot and I felt myself passing out. I freaked out and rushed into the living room where my step sister was still watching a movie and lost all control of my body. I fell to the ground and started shaking uncontrollably, but was still fully conscious. I give it to my stepmother, who has experience with this, realized really soon what it was. I spent the rest of the night trying to control my shaking and trying not to think about the chest pain. The chest pain continued for months until my mind was busy getting things ready for college and moving. My worst thought about that was that I never got treated for my anxiety and how long it took me to recover.
I have had three more instances over the last 9 years, all leading me to at least an ER or urgent care visit late at night. Even with my nursing knowledge, the way I was feeling made me think something serious was happening which sounds absurd thinking back on it now. They all go through similar cycles, all requiring months of recovery. The one prior to this instance was very minor and once overcoming the initial attack, I was able to slowly overcome my mind games on my own. The one that happened during nursing school ended with me seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist, and being on medication. This instance, having experience in the medical field and knowing that I am not alone and seeing what other people do for coping is helpful. Also, seeing a very experienced and very understanding general practitioner, was able to be started on meds that stopped the panic attacks immediately leaving me to just cope with the aftermath.
And the more I find out about what causes them and the more familiar I become with my own anxiety the more I am able to cope with it. Researching and understanding that not being able to control when one comes on, is part of it and I'm not alone. But one thing I do know, is it is not easy. It is an every day struggle and mind battle. My biggest problem is control. Letting go of the notion that it is not about controlling your anxiety, but coping with it and learning from it. My biggest fear is being classified as "crazy". I am the one person that always wants to be different and usually does not give a flying hoot whether people like me or believe in the same things as I do. I am putting this out there because it defines who I am. Even though most won't understand, I know some can relate, probably not at the extreme as I have gone through. Most people who I consider my closest friends and family do not know this about me because I found in the past that it was easier to cope not letting people in.
This time around, I plan to write here in my own world about any and everything because this part of me does not consume my life, it's just one chapter. I believe it is important to my life, but revolving around it is not healthy. You may not see another post about this particular subject for a while, but getting it in the open is a big weight lifted. I have NEVER been open about it, but I believe it is significant to moving on and even finding others who can relate, so I'm always open for comments, messages, concerns, or whatever. It took me three days to write this post and actually say I will post it. I have also decided to post this to my social media accounts and make is visible for others to see.
As for my days off, they were spent recovering and starting over. My husband took the day off to spend with me and we worked out, took Marley to the local dog park, napped, and watched movies all day. It was perfect and now I'm ready to work all weekend. Good night and happy Friday. This is me... Welcome to my world.