Ish


Those that have panic and anxiety suffer daily. Every minute is usually filled with an uncomfortable symptom. We never WANT to be that way, but we are.

As things have progressed with my own issues I see that stress, (in my case work stress), lack of sleep, a poor diet, not consuming enough water and feeling pressured aggravate my condition.

There are times we cannot help not sleeping well or long enough. We cannot control the chaos that is at work but we can put other measures in place to limit the impact on the things we have no control over.

As I am at work, I notice my thoughts drift to an upsetting situation. They’ve been there on and off since it happened yesterday. As I brood, my breathing feels labored and I notice fear starts to stir as if being woken from a deep sleep.

My symptoms one by one start to come online.

Weakness in my hands and limbs. Check

Surges of fear begin.
Check

Tension creeping in to my neck and shoulders.
Check

A distant worry of fainting and something being wrong with my health.
Check

Edgy feelings.
Check

Nausea
Check

Wanting to go home.
Check

Feelings of trouble swallowing. (Recent addition)
Check

These happen each time. Every time.

They are a little less upsetting as they were in the beginning unless they become more intense. If that happens, panic takes hold and starts to control every feeling and every thought.

So how have I managed to (for right now) keep it from spinning out of control?

I try to remind myself I’ve felt X,Y,Z before. I try to breathe. I try to reassure my fearful side that this happens, even a full blown panic happens and then, its gone. Well, ish. It’s gone-ish.

My focus is on right now. I know I’m healthy. My very unhealthy and very overweight paternal grandmother lived to her 70’s until out of control blood pressure caused an aneurysm that ruptured and killed her a day later.

My mother has smoked and eaten fried fatty food her entire life. She’s.in her late 60s and my father has worked out on and off through his later adult years, eaten out almost daily, has had high cholesterol and is in his mid 70’s. My maternal grandmother died in her 60’s of cancer.

Pretty solid stock considering.

So I have to point those things out daily. I also think about those that have been tortured, done massive drugs, lived terrible lives and are alive and apparently well. What makes me so unique?!

I had a very healthy diet for most of my young life. It’s better now so the building blocks of eating right and exercise were imbedded. I’m not sure why the worry.

So, I keep plugging away hoping it will get better but I know my prognosis is unknown. Anyone suffering with this stuff has the same outlook.

For today, for this second, I’m okay.

Ish

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8 thoughts on “Ish

  1. Hi. I’m currently enduring a “relapse” of Panic Disorder. (I thought I’d gotten rid of it 4 years ago, but it came back about 6 months ago, when I had some serious life changes.) I went through the whole battery of tests to ensure it wasn’t my heart/brain etc, and it’s not, it’s just — haha, “just” — my Panic Disorder come back.

    I just wanted to leave a note to let you know I read some of your recent entries, and though you didn’t know it, you really helped me feel less alone during a difficult time. I’m making some progress lately with EMDR therapy, and I’m actually pretty optimistic about my eventual recovery, but of course it’s still very very hard for the present. It’s so hard to trust yourself when your body is constantly lying to you about the physical danger it thinks it’s in. 😦

    Anyways, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. You really helped me today.

    • You have no idea how so very sorry i am that you’re revisiting this part of our lives!

      Health anxiety, panic and the whole flight or fight responses are difficult enough the first time.

      Sharing seems to help…to a point. I think it’s important not to loop ourselves into that thing we all do where we Google, scare ourselves, hit our favorite support sites and share, respond and absorb to the point we get new ailments or keep our current ones fresh.

      Checking in seems to help me. A little visit to say “hi, my panic sucks today (well, EVERY DAY) because…, how are you, oh, I’ve had that too, yeah I did this or that and it did help you might try it, okay bye.”

      I don’t know if those of us that have been so deeply entrenched are ever completely “recovered”, are we?

      I wonder if we were not real great at keeping an eye on the boiling pot the first time so maybe our ability to recognize when it’s all starting to be too much isn’t as sharp. I can sure tell now when things are starting to become difficult to manage, but that is because my coping limit is 2.25 big things at one time. I can’t do 2.26 or I suffer big setbacks.

      To hear that you don’t feel alone is such a great thing and WHY I started writing. I wanted someone else who is suffering to know that I was too. Your fear, discomfort and times of anguish are shared. Every stinking last second of them. No, you are in no way alone!

      Are you able to remember anything from before that would help you during the big rushes?

      Here is a link to a site that really helps me when I’m reeling. It helps me sort out my symptoms. Sort of like a real vs. anxiety or panic induced check list. It’s reassuring for me. Maybe it will be for you as well?

      http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms.shtml

      I also use an app called Optimism. It has me create a “diary” of things ranging from sleep to diet to stress and responses. You can set an alarm to have it remind you to do your entries and you can even print out your entries to review or take to therapy. It is very handy to remind you that things get better when…. Or oh yeah, I had a good day on…..

      The other app I use is called Stress Check. It uses the phone light and a heart beat program. It helps me remind myself that X is likely anxiety because the stress meter is at 72%. I try to practice calming breathing and meditation and repeat the process. I know if I get the meter to register “Low” it may be that my symptoms are disappearing. (They always have) I know if they haven’t, then I can assume there is an issue. But, again, hasn’t happened or I’m calm enough to reasonably assess my true issues like….it’s a migraine, not X, Y or Z.

      My hopes is that our pain helps support others who are suffering. If we have to feel this, we might as well do it together!

      • Thank you so much for asking. I’m touched.

        I’m doing…hmmm, better in some ways, worse in others. I haven’t been having panic, not the kind that comes out of nowhere and makes you wonder if your symptoms are serious or just the result of an adrenaline dump.

        I have been very afraid though, in an entirely different way. After i last wrote here, I had some strange symtpoms in one breast, and after a series of dr appointments I now have to go in on Thursday for a breast biopsy. My doctor says she expects it to all eventually be fine, but well. You know. The fear rises up, and takes over. The odds are with me, but my feelings are that THIS IS IT IM GOING TO DIE. But…it’s not panic. I don’t know why, and i dont even know if im glad, but it’s not panic, its just plain old awful Fear and a little bit of Grief.

        Maybe it’s because my therapy is helping me face what’s really bothering me whe before i alays tried to avoid it? Maybe it’s because my fear of mortality has finally taken a concrete “form”, and now I can face it head on? (even though I really, really don’t want to) All I know is that when I wake up at night, and brace for the panic and think *sigh* “Ok, do your worst, I guess I’m ready,” nothing really happens.

        I’m crying a lot. And last night I asked my husband if he would hold my hands and say a prayer. I’ve never asked hm to do that before, but for some reason I really wanted him to do it so I asked. He was so happy to be able to do this with me. He prayed and thanked God for all that was good in our lives, talked about how we were afraid, asked for a reprieve from fear for me, and for strength and protection for us and our loved ones, and….he told God we loved Him. And I cried, because I NEVER thought to say that, why would God care if someone like me said I loved Him? And at the same time I felt so sad because OF COURSE He would want to hear that, and to think all this time I hated asking God for help because I felt I didn’t deserve it, and I could have done this small thing for Him. I don’t really have the rights words for it all, but it was very emotional and healing.

        And I think that it happened in some part because of what I’d read here, or perhaps because you prayed for me, I don’t know. But thank you. Thank you for being who and how you are. I think you helped point the way for me, or at least a way, and now I have hope again.

        Today I imagined my fear was a coal black dragon, absorbing all light and hope from everything around him. He looms over me and lies, saying out loud, “I am all that protects you” but in my head the truth he speaks is “I will devour everything that matters until there is nothing left of you”. And after I imagined him…I fired him! And I yelled too. “You’re fired Fear!” I don’t need him. Fear isn’t helping me do anything.

        He’ll be back I’m sure, and even now he’s lingering around the edges of my mind, trying to bring a million little things to my attention to get me to worry about them. But now he seems like a little grey lizard, not scary just sort of pathetic and desperate. I know he’ll be back, but now I know I can fight him again.

        Thanks for reading my wild and scattered thoughts. 🙂 I’m normally a very shy and private person, but I do like to let people know when they help me. If you are anything like me, it’s easy to focus on your mistakes and trivialize the good you do in life. If this in any way helps to remind you that you’re valuable and lovable and always a work in progress on your way to better things, then perhaps I will feel a little bit of that for myself today too.

        Take care.

      • I can’t thank you enough for YOUR words!

        Anxiety, fear, panic…it’s all the same to me. It is useless unless there is a true reason but you’re right, it lingers and tries to get you to pay attention. I’m so impressed that you’re handling your concern so well! Good for you!!

        I pray your news is excellent and your fear goes away completely. Your husband sounds amazing and it’s always heart warming to hear of other couples supporting each other in times like these. I love those images.

        Thank you for your kind words. I started this adventure one year ago today. I sure wish I was reliving a fantastic vacation memory instead!!

        However, this is my journey and its been 365 full days. If this blog has helped anyone (other than giving me an outlet) then as scary as it is to say, that makes it much more tolerable!

        It was wonderful of you to let me know there has been value and I have worth. Things those of us fighting a daily battle forget!

        I wish you well and please, once your results come, please share.

  2. You are doing the right thing writing and sharing your feelings. There are so many who will benefit from this blog! Keep up the good work and thank you for checking out my posts!

  3. Someone once told me I think too much. Something is causing any panic attack, they don’t just happen or everyone would have them all the time. Something physical or subconscience, but something causes it. Most Drs are lazy so they came up with panic disorder and fibromyalgia. Both of these disorders cause real problems with the body, so there has to be a physical cause, not just mental. Many years ago I started to have palpatations and Dr said nerves, I would just try to take something to relax, didn’t help so I was given an echo cardiogram and told I was fine. I had Rheumatic fever as a child and I was given another test a couple of years later that did show there was something wrong with one of my valves. Once on a mild beta blocker I have been free of this happening. Sometimes tests find what is wrong with you, sometimes they don’t right away. Don’t accept that physical problems are all mental issues.

    • I think I’ve had them since I mini electrocuted myself when I was 19. They just didn’t scare me until later. My mother has them as well. Diet and stress control do make a difference and I’ve had every test known to mankind. Faulty wiring I guess. But I do agree that you need to push for docs to stop labeling everything stress. I’ve got a fantastic doc that would move the earth if I needed him to. One of a rare breed!

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