Sometimes, my brain is a real asshole and seems to hate me. I’ve had anxious episodes a few times in my life. I suffer from low-grade depression, not always, but often. I’ve had a few panic attacks throughout my life. Lately, it’s been bad.
About four months ago I went out for drinks with colleagues and ended up in the emergency room around two a.m. after I demanded Francesco to take me because I believed, completely, that I was dying. It felt like I was. My heart was beating out of my chest, my legs were shaking, I couldn’t take a full breath of air, and I felt a kind of fear that is hard to even imagine.
Panic attack, the doctor said. They handed me an orange pill, tucked me into some warm blankets, and monitored me until the Xanax kicked in and I fell asleep in the hospital bed. The next day, it was as if nothing happened. I was fine. I’ve been fine.
Speed forward to this week. For no rational reason, I’ve been having a lot of anxiety. It seems like I’ve been overthinking everything and it’s been leading to some shit feelings, terrifying thoughts, and bad nights. I lay in bed at night, my mind racing, thinking, “oh my God, Francesco is going to die. So am I. So is everyone.” And I’m terrified for eight hours in the dark. This last Tuesday night, F was in class and my anxiety crept up again. I watched Bad Moms, snacked a little, tried to stay preoccupied. But around ten p.m., I was struck by the same indescribable fear as four months ago. My entire body started to shake, and I felt, once again, like I was going to die. Somehow, though, I fell asleep eventually but the next morning I woke up with the same panic. Let me tell you, it’s a shit way to start your day. Good morning, terror.
I was able to get into the doctor at eleven a.m. and was given a prescription for Ativan. I hate pills. I am scared of them and I don’t trust them. Still, it I didn’t have a choice if I wanted the horrible, terrible, scary, awful, feeling to go away. I practically sprinted to the Pharmacy and popped it right then and there. Twenty minutes later, I felt slightly better but not great. I still felt shaky, my muscles were still tense and trembly, and despite my burning stomach, I couldn’t eat. Even crackers made me gag, which made my anxiety ten times worse. Eating is the most basic human thing. And I couldn’t do it. I was convinced I’d die if I didn’t eat. Which made it so I couldn’t eat. Let’s just say it was a terrible fucking cycle.
Unlike last time, it took me two full days to stop feeling panicked and anxious. And six days later, I’m still not at 100%. I stopped taking the Ativan after the second day and I feel better but I’m still slightly weary and uneasy. I’m still not able to sleep through the night. I’m still worried that it will happen again. Luckily, I have an amazing husband who all but dropped everything to reassure me, cuddle me, and stay with me until this feeling passes.
Fun fact about anxiety: All of its horrible symptoms, are actually your bodies way of preparing for combat and or running away developed from some time where we needed to fight crocodiles or club your dinner to death. You guys, I could outrun a fucking Tiger right now. Seriously, bring it.
I’ve also done a lot of introspection and realized that ever since I moved home from Italy, I’ve been stressed out, irritable, distracted, just below the surface. I don’t know why exactly but it’s been there and I’ve ignored it. I’m not a highstrung person, in fact, my parents make fun of me for being “too relaxed,” all the time. Apparently, all of the stress has boiled to the surface and is like, “PAY ATTENTION TO ME YOU TWAT!”
I am. I’m paying attention. I made an appointment with a therapist and I’m going to go to Yoga. And, I’m going to stop thinking about things that don’t matter. You really don’t realize how great your life is until you’re cowering in fear for no fucking reason praying for the horrific scary feeling to pass.
It’s been a shitty reminder to take care of myself. I’ll be doing this for a minute instead of worrying about getting pregnant and starting a family. Apparently, I need some self-love for a minute. It’s so easy to get caught up in life and forget to take care of yourself. Your body and brain will only take so much abuse before it bitch-slaps you from here to China.
Also, have any of you had panic attacks, anxiety? Have you experienced it with children? How do you manage? What has helped you?