Is anxiety a monster? Is anxiety a roadblock? Is anxiety a train without brakes? Is anxiety war? The metaphor that you use to describe your anxiety probably tells you something about how you view your anxiety — and your recovery process.
That pint-sized brain of mine, tucked inside my skinny little body that wore a hefty neon pink and yellow backpack, heard only one thing: you could have done better.
What? Whaaaat? I can barely plan for tomorrow and now, suddenly, I have to think about five years down the road?
The scene: a small road off of a two-lane state highway in the woods. The cell phone coverage: first none, then a single bar. My panic state: full blown.
I was laying down in my car, following the EMT-in-training’s instructions to avoid sitting up or moving around, and I was scared nearly to death. I shook, I gasped for air, and I palpitated.
I hated every single second that slowly and dreadfully crawled by. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t even conjure up the energy or the clarity of mind to reach for my Ten Rules for Coping With Panic worksheet that lives in my wallet. I was in the middle of nowhere, I was stuck, and I couldn’t escape without help. Not only was I about to receive medical help, but I’d had to call my husband and ask him to drive 40 miles to be with me.
The word kept repeating in my head: failure failure failure.
Maybe I am having a legitimate medical problem instead of a panic attack. Maybe there’s a problem with my heart or my blood pressure. Maybe there’s a problem with my brain. Did I have a stroke? Maybe I’m having a stroke RIGHT NOW OH GOD WHAT THE HELL.
When your limbs are shaking uncontrollably, the gas pedal is a nightmare to control. My car heaved in fits and starts, thanks to my spasmodic right foot, but I didn’t make it far before I started to feel very cold and prickly.
I wanted to re-frame a breakdown into a breakthrough.
I understand that a rapid heartbeat is a normal part of panic. But it feels so abnormal and wrong. What if this is the one time where a medical emergency is presenting itself?
I was honored to be chosen as this week’s PA Live! Blog of the Week on WBRE-TV.
How do you cope with the sting of having a panic attack after a long period of panic-free living?