Friday, September 25, 2009

In a panic...


I was getting ready this afternoon to go and meet my friend Von downtown at the café on the Our Dear Lady Square. I had changed into something suitable and had pulled on my nice, long, black cardigan with the two big buttons and was all ready to leave the apartment, when I was suddenly hit by a huge panic attack. It hit me out of the blue and it was like the air was squeezed out of my lungs suddenly and a fist was squeezed around my heart. All of the sudden I was immobilized and could not leave the apartment. I felt like something terrible was going to happen to me if I did.

I pulled off my cardigan and threw it in the closet and pulled off my tunic and threw that in the closet too, and pulled on a T-shirt in order to get some air. The panic didn't lessen and I felt like I was going crazy, but I knew what was happening to me and I also knew that I had to try and stay as calm as I could. I got my phone out and tried to call my SPN, like our agreement is when I run into any sort of trouble, especially after lowering the anti psychotics. My SPN wasn't in, but the secretary connected me with my psychiatrist and we discussed what was happening.

He asked me what I was afraid of about going into town and I told him it was the traffic, the buses, the trucks, the cars, the scooters, the traffic lights, everything. It all seemed highly intimidating and too much to deal with. He said that I probably felt very vulnerable and unable to deal with what I perceived was chaos, and I said, yes, that's what it was, it seemed like chaos to me and I didn't want to be in the middle of it for fear that something would happen to me. He said for me to spend some time thinking about the origin of this fear this weekend and to discuss it with my SPN at the next appointment, and in the meantime to increase the anti psychotic medication again for a while.

All I know is that I had these anxiety attacks when I was a child too, especially when I was traveling with my family by train across the country and I thought we were going to not make our connection, but I was really little when that happened. I think I felt a lot of anxiety when I was a child and I always felt that I had to be hyper alert to prevent something awful from happening. Apparently I felt it was a big unpredictable and dangerous world out there and I didn't think my parents were capable of keeping me safe from it. That's one thing I'm sure of, and that is the incapacity of my parents to make me feel safe.

Now it seems, that I don't quite trust myself to keep me safe in what I perceive is a chaotic world. There are too many things that I assume can go wrong in it, and rather than take the chance to possibly face those things, I choose to stay home safely and make sure I'm not exposed to anything unpleasant or harmful. That is, when an anxiety attack gets a hold of me and takes over my normal functioning, although I have that tendency anyway. To be fearful of the world at large. I guess under certain conditions, your tendencies become magnified and immobilize you.

So, I took my anti psychotic medication and started to wait for the panic attack to ease up, when the Exfactor drove up on his motorcycle. He had not counted on me being home and had come to get tools from the shed and motor parts. It was very fortunate that he came, because I needed some things from the store and, of course, I was in no state to get them. Luckily, he was more than willing to go get them for me and I made him a short list and he was back in no time at all. In the meantime I did breathing exercises and waited for the medication to start working, which it has by now. As a matter of fact, I feel sort of sleepy, but I think that is in reaction to the stress.

The mind is a crazy thing and it will throw you for a loop. Suddenly it does a nosedive and decides to go in another direction than you were going when you least expect it. Of course, it all happens subconsciously for a reason and mine is to figure out why.

My psychiatrist said to think back on the thoughts I had while I was getting ready to leave this afternoon. I thought of the stain in my cardigan that I had a hard time removing and I thought about stopping by the cash machine and taking out money and how dear it was. I also thought I might stop by my favorite store to see if they would have anything on sale for ten Euros, because I would allow myself to spend that much, even though I could not even afford that.

Innocuous thoughts, no? I sometimes don't even understand myself how my mind works. How there is a bogey man in my head who scares the living daylights out of me sometimes, while they are really my own scariest thoughts that do me in. A misfiring or shortage in my synapses or my neurotransmitters? A chemical imbalance that the medication restores to normal? A ricocheting memory?

Anyway, I'm safe inside the apartment and brave enough to go walk the dog in a few hours. That's a very uncomplicated task. It's one of the simplest and safest things I do during the day. Have dog, will go outside around the field. I just must make sure I always have a dog, otherwise I will become a recluse. The danger lurks in a small corner. Having a dog is one of the best things I ever did. Not discounting the fact that he's a super nice dog. He gets me out of the apartment three times a day.

Well, it's just been a blast writing all of this down. It's taken me forever to do it. I had to stop and think about it quite a bit and ponder over things and read and reread what I had written to make sure I didn't sound like a mad woman. Well, if I do then that's what I am. It can't be helped. There has to be at least one in every crowd. Let me be your gratuitous mad woman.

Have a good rest of the day. I'm going to try and normalize myself as much as possible. I think I will eat some food and drink some coffee. That sounds like a good idea.

Ciao,
Nora

10 comments:

John M. Mora said...

take care....my best.

Maggie May said...

Sorry to hear of this set back. I expect it was the reduced medication.
It takes a while to get the right balance, doesn't it?
Anyway, really hope you feel well again soon. It has been a gorgeous day here & if it was where you are, then I am sorry that you couldn't enjoy it.

Have a good night's sleep. Tomorrow is another day.

The Good Cook said...

I'm glad you have a dog that helps get you out and about. My dog serves as good walking therapy for me too. Your exfactor sounds very accommodating too. Feel better.

The Green Stone Woman said...

Yes, Good Cook, we are lucky to have our dogs. They are some of the best therapy around.

The Exfactor is a very kind human being. I am lucky he is my friend.

Babaloo said...

Take good care of yourself. Hope you're feeling better by now. xxx

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Nora. What a horrible thing to happen just when you were about to have a lovely time with your friend. It's strange isn't it. Perhaps downtown is very busy on a Friday afternoon and that was it? I couldn't face walking into town today either and only made it to the shops round the corner.

It seems you have been a bit delicate this week but I'm just so glad that you have a solution to the problem in your medication. So lucky that you were able to talk directly to your psychiatrist like that. And so lucky to have the Exfactor come round just when you needed him. So luck was on your side today.

Really hope you are feeling calmer now and for the weekend.

Best wishes,
Bearfriend xx

Lisa Sarsfield said...

It's not a very nice thing that happened to you as I am sure you well know, but you did atleast take responsibility for your own well being when the crisis hit. You made the right phone calls and removed the need to go into town by asking the exfactor. You should be pleased with yourself.
My son is the anxious kind, details like times things will happen and who will be there, how long we will be there are very important. He gets very annoyed at me sometimes when I don't know the answers. It's just a part of him and we think he's wonderful all the same...like we do you!
Enjoy your day as best you can:)

Gail said...

Hang in there...don't let a pothole keep you off the highway.

Elaine said...

Panic attacks are so strange, aren't they? I was interested to read that you think your panic stemmed from a fear of the chaos outside, yet you have gone out zillions of times feeling perfectly fine. I mention this because when I was suffering very badly with them a few years ago and was practically housebound, the thing I feared was not actually the outside, but having a panic attack outside. I became scared of the panic itself. I don't know if that makes any sense. It became a vicious circle for me - so much so that if I was getting ready to go out I would start worrying about whether or not I'd have an attack out there, and that itself would stop me in my tracks and force me to stay in.


Anyway...that's enough of my burbling. I hope you're feeling better today Nora. x

aims said...

I think there is a little more to it than taking the money out of the machine and the cost of it and then spending it. I thinks it goes further back to the problem you are having with those companies and how it has changed your whole life now.

Have read your next post and see you are feeling better. Dealing with one thing at a time and not letting our minds stray to all the possibilities and connections that go with it is what we have to do. Some people do that all the time. We tend to think of all the ramifications of one simple act. In the end we do drive ourselves bonkers. Panic. I'm having that not being able to breathe feeling in the back of my throat just writing this. I will put a stop to that immediately.

Love you girl. Here for you. Don't forget that. Someone who has been there and is there who knows.