That is what Anxiety (panic) disorder is.

Just terrifying.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had an anxiety attack. I was able to control them by cutting out my triggers.

Caffeine before bed. Too much sugar throughout the day. watching anything with any sort of crisis in it before bed.

I also have learned how to calm them once they happen…when I feel them coming. I can breathe and talk myself down from it getting out of hand.

But one thing I can’t control is when the bad ones hit…and hit hard.

Last night I had a bad one. I cannot even begin to explain to people who have never had one what it is like.
And I’m sure that lots of you will think I am completely nuts.
(such is the stigma that goes along with a mental disorder)

But I have to talk about it. I have to let it out and hope for understanding. Because it is terrifying. And if I keep it held inside, it just continues to chip away at me throughout the day and makes my nights even worse.

See, night time is my worst time. I am alone and my mind is free and unoccupied and at liberty to bombard me with the “what if” questions we all have.

This is the anatomy of a panic attack. Hopefully reading this will help someone understand.

Last night I went to bed as usual. Except I made the mistake of having a cup of coffee at around 9pm and watching the news.

I never watch the news anymore. I tell people it’s because it’s all so sad, what I don’t tell them is that it makes me have an attack.

Anyway. I shut off the lights and went to bed at about 11:30 last night. Said my prayers so I finally dozed off at around 12:00.

I slept fitfully until I woke up smack in the middle of a panic attack at 12:45. My heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest. I could literally feel my whole torso shuddering with every beat. Thousands of thoughts passed through my head. Everything from what I made for dinner that night to what would my husband do if I die tonight.

It is irrational…but that is how it works with this disorder.

I recognized that I was having an attack so I started my breathing and that at least got my heart to slow down.
Then I started to sweat. So I turned on Brian’s fan and tried to calm down. But lying there in the dark and total quiet was not helping. I just kept thinking: “What if I die?” ” What if something happens to Brian tonight?” “What if we get into a car accident and I lose the kids?” “What if Brian loses his job?” “What if someone breaks into the house?” “What if we can’t make the house payment?” “What if we run out of groceries?” “What if I get really sick and can’t take care of my family?” “What if Ricky wakes up and walks out of the house in the middle of the night?” “What if …..

And it is like that too. All of those thoughts flashing through your mind over and over again. It is horrible. It is overwhelming.

It makes me wish I could reclaim that sense of invincibility I had before I became a “grown up”.

Anyway. I had to have some sort of distraction so I turned on the t.v.

God bless Alton Brown. That is all I can say. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed something to distract me and “good eats” is on nearly every time.
I was able to calm down and relax a bit and dozed off at around 2am. I woke up again at around 3am and was finally able to turn off the t.v. and go back to sleep.

Of course, Junior had to go out at 4am…so I was back up again. And wasn’t able to go back to sleep…again.
I turned on the t.v. again and finally at around 5 am was able to turn it off and go back to sleep.

Brian got home at 5:30am…woke me up again. But I went right to sleep as soon as he quit making noise in the kitchen.
So when the alarm went off at 7am I was exhausted….I am still exhausted.

I could just cry. I am so tired of being tired. I will try today to pull myself together and do some house work and cook and clean and to all of the things I should be doing.

And I am going to make sure that I watch out for my triggers tonight and go to bed at a decent hour.
And I will hope that it doesn’t happen again…at least not tonight.

All of this is so hard to admit. It is hard to share something so very personal with all of my family and friends. Especially when I know that many of you think I am certifiable at this point. I’m sure you are ready to call the men with the white coats to take me away.

I assure you it is not like that. Not at all. But it does scare me. No. It terrifies me. I know I’m not the only one. One of my good friends has the same thing and she and I talk about it. She has no idea how much I appreciate her being open and honest about it. And letting me share with her.
It’s good when you are not alone.

If any of you are at all curious about this. Here are a few links to (hopefully) help you understand.

Here is a message board list that I found very helpful. I don’t post there, but I do read a lot.

And here is some info on Web MD.

I sincerely hope that none of you ever have to experience this. And I also hope that maybe this might help people understand me a bit better.

I have never talked about this with anyone other than my friend. Not even Brian. But now I feel like I need to let it all out. So that maybe with the help and prayers of my friends and family I can find the strength to seek treatment and get this under control.

If you got this far, God bless you. If you read it all and still have any desire to do anything other than stick me in a looney bin…thank you.

I’m off to see about some paper and rub-on’s I saw in the new stampin up catalog…yummy stuff I tell ya!


One response »

  1. The ONLY loonie bin I’d stick you in is here in OKLAHOMA!!! That way I could come get my OWN sessions FREE!
    The only thing that is crazy about you Chris is even THINKING WE would think you are nuts. Panic attacks are very real. Had one at work one time, thought I was having a heart attack, spent the next day wearing one of blasted heart monitor thingys around my neck.
    I didn’t realize there were triggers though. You know how many POTS or coffee I drink in the evening…yikes that’s a scary thought. The best way Chris to get you through the thoughts is maybe to play Christian music. Sing Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace, Praise and Worship songs. I know to some this may seem “weird” but it works!!
    LOVE ya,

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