These are all alike, to me.
They all possess much of the same qualities. Being out of control. Or, not being IN control.
An entire day flipped by me yesterday. It didn’t dawn on me until just a bit ago that I spent a full day having an anxiety attack.
My how we’ve “grown”? Or, my how the face of anxiety has changed.
I, like the rest of the country, have been fighting a cold for the last few weeks. I start to recover from one and start another.
I’ve been monitoring my pulse ox level as I have a history of pneumonia. So, that’s reasonable.
Fearing a blood clot…marginal. Fearing heart failure….Sweet goodness, here we go.
So, back to pneumonia and the clot. I took my blood pressure. It was ultra low. 93/54 or something silly. So I took it again. 85/46. Full activation. Flashing lights, sound the alarms we have a problem.
It does not matter that my arm was positioned higher than my heart! Well, it did because I took my vitals again. It was a higher low. 98/56. But we break from semi-reasonable here.
Throughout the day I repeatedly took my blood pressure and pulse ox. Yes, I was having Bp’s in the high 90’s/ high 50’s. some creepy feeling symptoms but nothing terrible.
I am able to reason things out.
I’ve changed my diet considerably. Mostly natural foods. Loads of water (normally but I hadn’t had nearly enough the last few days), so low fluids is on the radar, very little salt intake and my year old issue of moving as little as possible which mimics a form of bed rest that only a lazy person can beat.
Yes, I believe I have invoked a reversible (I hope) form of hypotension. Being too afraid to move for a year will do that. I’ve shockingly read a lot about it and to improve, you have to move. Yeah….good luck with that.
So I spent a lot of the day diagnosing and checking vitals.
Spouse did manage to get me out of the house for maybe an hour but that was it. I proclaimed I was too ill and rundown to be gone long.
It was true but it was also the fact that I couldn’t be out if I was dying. You just can’t.
So as one with Health Anxiety (yes, hypochondria but Health Anxiety is way more polite) I have 3 ailments that I seem to loop around on.
I revisit these repeatedly and in no particular order. I AM proud that they kind of fit within the same genre of health concerns and are not way out there random choosings.
My first and largest fear is rabies.
Bitten by a bat while sleeping and waiting 3 weeks to call the doc. Clearly this was PRE health anxiety. Series of rabies shots, the medical community knew little about….started that bubbling.
I fear the delay in seeking treatment allowed the rabies to travel and lay dormant through the shots. It is possible if the person bitten has delayed treatment and the virus has entered the nervous system.
Nervous system = maybe that’s why I suddenly can’t control my panic and anxiety.
I know every sign….which with a cold and or flu….mimics the start of your painful demise.
Remember….I’ve been sick the last few weeks…..so…..
The second is stroke
I haven’t a clue where this came from. I was very active, ate well. I didn’t drink nearly enough water but…that’s it. Not a smoker, no drugs, no….nothing.
This one IS random. I don’t even really know anyone that has had a stroke to provoke that fear.
The closest I came was during eval of my heart (yeah, of course that’s the third), my father told me he fainted and was evaluated. He has a 60-70% blocked coratid artery. I do believe my fear escalated after that but really, I have no reason to be worried.
Try telling me that….
The third is my heart.
I suffer from skipped and extra beats. When I had a medication reaction and work issues all at once my normally semi-dormant unruly beats went wild.
I had skips, extras, small runs and in the notes on one occasion I had one incident Afib. (Perhaps that spurred the stroke worry. I don’t think I had it before seeing that.)
So, those things were going absolutely crazy.
One shouldn’t feel their heart. Sure, out of shape, beating wildly after climbing stairs or in shape beating wildly after sprinting…all reasonable.
You should not feel your heart running free and easy as it pleases all willy nilly in your chest as you’re sitting quietly reading a book!
So, this fear in my opinion is reasonable as MILLIONS of people are inflicted with them and freak out. From my (and their) relentless research, it’s almost unique to NOT have them.
So these are the three things I wrestle with at any given time.
I have had numerous tests and taken several very reputable “gold standard” by life insurance company standards, health risk/predictor tests.
I have less than a 1% chance for stroke or heart issues.
1 in 100 people with my stats may have a problem.
So, where does a good nut go?!
I am that 1!
I have to repeatedly convince myself that I am certainly NOT that special. Never have been. I’ve been average my entire life. Below average in school.
That is the only thing that keeps me from losing my last remaining marbles.
Early in my affliction with this bunk, I would be in a full blown epic meltdown panic yesterday.
I have to congratulate The Lord for allowing me some sanity inside of crazy because, it’s still crazy. It’s just less.
So yesterday I calmly was OCD about my stats. Like it was my job.
Ho hum, another day obsessing about blood pressure, another day obsessing about pulse ox and heart disease. What time is it? Is it break time yet?
I’m not sure why the shift but thank The Lord for that.
Now, if I can just catch it before my entire day is eaten away by it.
For those that don’t suffer with it, you’re probably wondering with irritation and an eye on my I.Q. How I could possibly NOT know I was caught in an OCD anxiety trap of checking and rechecking.
Let me explain, there wasn’t much panic attached. The anxiety was “low” on the freak out meter so I truly just felt I was playing it safe with my health.
Until I woke up worn out from illness and obsessing. That’s when it dawned on me that I was doing “it” again.
A day late…..
I’m average intelligence. Average.
So that isn’t it.
So I’m back on my heart kick. Chest pains and all.
I’ve been sick. Respiratory. Chest pain is reasonable. I don’t seem to care though, I haven’t dashed to the ER or called EMS….yet.
When you have PVC and PAC (the initials for technical names of skipped and extra beats) they act up at certain times.
Dehydration, poor eating, poor sleeping, anxiety, panic, anger, good or bad stressful events, hormone changes, drinking and illness.
They haven’t gone wild, but they have made their presence known several times in the last few weeks.
Chest pain is unnerving. When you’re young you are too self absorbed to believe you’re having any fatal issues. I was.
Then something switches once you become a real adult with real adult responsibilities.
Your friends, family and acquaintances start dying of various age related ailments. Your mortality becomes a thought. Like losing your innocence all over again….you realize you might (and some day will)…..die.
The world spins faster. Days fly by. Years get shorter. You think you’re some young person living life, you blink and your older.
Terms like “young man” or “kids nowadays” become normal.
The thought of running and jarring my joints has become less appealing though I do want to get back to exercise, it will likely be low impact.
Gone are the extreme days of fighting, flipping metal, crawling through barbed wire or careening wildly down a massive hill on my bicycle topping speeds of 50+ mph.
It just doesn’t seem safe nor as appealing as it did PRE anxiety and panic.
As I look back to a year ago, I see the changes I begged for. They just didn’t come when I wanted them to and they are fleeting.
I have brief moments of normal. I cling to those moments like crazy. I thank God and I pray others can have the same. We all need moments of normal in order to keep going. It gives us glimmers of hope.
I hope that as the year progresses, I will have longer stretches of normal. More often, more solid.
Until God blesses me with that, I will happily take what He feels I am due.