Often, I have a stress or worry on my mind. Sometimes it’s a big thing – but not always.
Sometimes it’s my own health concern or worry for a friend or situation with a family member. . .
Or it can be something incredibly simple that I’ve just thought over for a few moments. . .
And, sometimes, even, there is no apparent trigger. I just feel it beginning.
At first, there is a free-floating “off” feeling in my chest, like something foreboding is coming and I can’t get a good breath.
My chest feels hollowed out and my heart rate – already high – starts to climb.
My body will start to feel weak.
If my body pain is not already intense at this point – I’ve noted more attacks during autoimmune flares – often the burning pain in my knees will noticeably strengthen.
At this point, I will likely be having racing thoughts of the worst possible outcome of whatever was troubling me if something was on my mind – and usually the worst possible outcome of just everything in general anyway.
A feeling of bad things all around. Overwhelmingly.
I sense that something just horrible is coming in a vast wave.
The dear God make-this-stop please.
And the someone-help-me comes.
Then lightheadedness. And tingling fingers. And fits of nausea.
My heart rate is usually 140 by now.
I’m stuck. Just stuck.
If I have the good fortune to be in “my Sheldon Cooper spot” on my bed when this strikes, I’ll not be voluntarily leaving it until this ends.
My legs are rubber anyway.
Sitting in this, I take deep breaths.
Pet my Henry. He won’t leave me. He knows. ❤
Breathe in my Valor.
Attempt to redirect my thoughts.
Take my beta blocker to contain my heart rate.
These will all help. . . Eventually. . .
And, after this is (finally) over (after who knows how long?), I am completely exhausted. As in, need to lay down and sleep if I can – sometimes I can’t or really don’t want to (because I often have nightmares after a nasty attack) – exhausted.
And, sometimes, once triggered, a free-floating anxiety stays in my chest that brings on more attacks in the coming hours. (This knowledge brings its own dread.)
Also, if there is a known trigger, and I’m really worried about something, holding this at bay feels like a full-time job as well.
Fortunately, with the help of my Henry and my usual routine, I can keep these major attacks away more often these days, thank the Lord.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. One in five people live with a mental health condition, including anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, eating disorders, and many more. Vast improvements are needed, both in the way we treat people with mental health conditions in our society and in the health care offered to them.
Having an open dialogue is so important to destigmatizing these conditions.
I am not ashamed of my anxiety disorder – but it took me literally twenty five years – and the love and support of my husband, daughter, and bestie – to reach out and get the help I needed. Struggling alone for so long is sadly common and unacceptable.
An excellent place to start if you need help for yourself or if you have loved one who is struggling is:
They have so many resources available and are just amazing.
However, if you are in crisis, please present to your nearest emergency room. They WILL help you, regardless of insurance or any other factors.
Also, here is the text crisis hotline. I encourage EVERYONE to save it to their phone. You never know when it might be needed for someone you love.
Help is available for all of us – and there are lots of us out there. Just reach out.
Connect with others who also struggle.
End the stigma.
Be well, everybody.
Grace and Blessings.