I hadn’t had a full out anxiety attack in months – I’m pretty aware of what things might set me off, and I’m careful to take my medications prior to expected events. So, I freak out, but I don’t actually have an attack and can calm down with some work.
As a side not, I’m talking about ANXIETY attacks here, NOT panic attacks here. Completely different beasts, and I’m very lucky that I don’t have the latter.
This one had several factors that triggered it.
1.) My husband got a call from the clinic about his blood draws and his bilirubin was high. So I Googled it since I had never heard of it before.
Don’t Google stuff like that. It always brings up WebMD, and WebMD needs a new slogan: WebMD – YOU HAVE CANCER.
So I freaked about that because there is NOTHING more important in my life than my husband. Nothing. Not even the dog. Or my parents. NOTHING. My life revolves around him, and I’m happy with him.
(Maybe having your life revolve around someone else is a bad thing, but I don’t really think so. I’ve been in unhealthy relationships and withered. I did nothing, was cut off from my friends and family, lived in misery. Instead he encourages me in my hobbies and interests, listens to me talk about them, is sweet and caring. He helps me grow and is so supportive. He’s my partner, my best friend, my love. *smile* )
Add to this that a close family friend had developed jaundice and got it checked and it was cancer and she never woke up from the surgery. We sat with her for days before she passed, and she never regained consciousness. It was horrid.
So, I freaked out and then had to go to bed for work the next day.
2.) Nightmares. So many nightmares. I should have called my mom about the test results the day before – maybe that would have helped. But I had cold sweat inducing nightmares about my husband, my dog, my parents dying that woke me up over and over and over again. And fire. Because that’s my default horror of a nightmare after the neighbor’s house burned.
And then, when my alarm went off, the first thing I did for the day was have an anxiety attack, complete with shaking, sweating, hyperventilating, hysterical sobbing and vomiting.
Yes, I’m that much of a wuss. I puke when I get stressed enough.
Then I got ready for work.
I took my anxiety med before I left.
3.) It was so foggy for the drive to work that I could barely see twenty feet in front of the car. It was my distant Outreach location, so the drive was 1 hour 15 minutes or so, and I was being passed, IN THE FOG, throughout. I pulled over in one small town in the gas station to let people past me.
I wasn’t going slow. I was going 55 in miserable fog, and they were still passing me.
After the last town before the city I was driving to, I had anxiety attack number two, and had to pull over onto a side road to puke out of the car.
4.) I arrived at work and retreated to the back bathroom to dry heave some more in privacy because apparently I wasn’t done and I was all out of puke. When I finally finished, I washed my face and went and took another anxiety med so that I could do my presentation for the day.
Because presenting is exactly what I wanted to do after the morning so far. But I did it, got the people squared away, and then wimped out.
I went home. This was closer to noon, so the fog was minimal, and I stopped at my mom’s house to wail at her because MISERY.
And she told me I was silly, and that high bilirubin levels are a sign you need to investigate more, not the end of the world. My husband isn’t jaundiced, they are doing a second blood draw to double check, AND she pointed out that he drinks a fair amount which might be causing it.
My mom’s a nurse, and she wasn’t at all worried.
So that helped.
And then I went home and went to bed. Do not pass ‘Go’, do not collect $200. When my husband got home I was curled up and dozing with the dog.
Because here’s the thing: anxiety attacks are EXHAUSTING with a dose of self loathing on top. Because obviously if I just tried harder I wouldn’t have them. And embarrassing. I tell my boss I’m sick, and then I go home, but then I have to explain later that it’s not contagious, I’m just crazy.
And that’s just great.
Do you have anxiety? What coping measures do you take? How do you explain it to others? Inquiring minds want to know!