1. I counted five things around me - my knitting, Tinkerbell, my phone, my work supplies, and my computer.
2. I acknowledged and touched four things around me - my hair, my chair, my glasses, my coffee.
3. I paid attention to three things I could hear - Tinkerbell eating, Hobbit eating, the washing machine.
4. I focused on two things I could smell - the detergent that spilled on my hands and the cat box (eww, must change that).
5. I acknowledged one thing I could taste - my coffee.
6. I know I am safe. I know I am healthy. I know this is irrational and illogical. I also know that logic doesn't matter... not when you're having a panic attack.
Deep breathe. Don't cry. Don't lash out at others because they can't see what is going on inside of you. Hug Hobbit and kiss her goodnight. Catch Pokey's eye and let him know - he understands and runs interference. Try the countdown again now that Hobbit is in bed... nope, not working tonight. Take a Benadryl and go to bed, things will be better in the morning.
That was my night last night and this morning is 90% better. I can still feel the slight burning of anxiety in my chest but it is not taking over my head - or at least I am doing better at not letting it. Panic attacks and anxiety are a new thing for me, meaning they've only begun in the past five years.
I remember my first one. I was sitting in the car loop at Hobbit's school. She was in first grade and I was overcome with this horrible feeling that something catastrophic was going to happen. I was literally going to die in my parked car and there was no logical reason for any of it. I had no idea why I felt that way and I had no idea on how to make it stop. I sat there and just cried. I'm working hard to not cry remembering it since I'm still fighting the residuals of an attack. Deep breathe - hear the spring birds outside - focus on the washing machine whirring - the dog is drinking his water - focus on your breathing in and out - deep breath. Stream of consciousness typing... got to get back to what I was telling you.
After that day, I lived in fear that it would happen again. That I was losing my mind. I told my husband about it a few days later and he smiled at me. Not condescending but more understanding. He used to suffer from anxiety - large crowds would trigger it for him - and he told me that I was perfectly normal. I made an appointment with my doctor and I explained what happened. She advised me that it was indeed a anxiety episode - or panic attack - and that it was normal, especially in woman my age. It was a symptom of premenopause... and it can last 15 to 20 years.
That was a rollercoaster moment - Yay, I'm normal... Holy wow, 20 years!! She laughed at me and said it would be fine. Now that I know what they are and how they feel, I can do a few exercises when they happen and it will lessen the effects. The one that works for me is the one I shared and when that doesn't work, I was advised to take a Benadryl. Most people only become relaxed with a Benadryl - I fall asleep within 30 minutes and I sleep for hours on end. It works most days. I'll take it night after Hobbit goes to sleep and I'm in bed well before 10, sleep all night long. It's rare that I need a Benadryl. Honestly, I hadn't had an episode in quite a few months so this one has taken me off guard. The fact that it's still here this morning is not surprising, as it usually takes me a good two or three days before it's fully gone. I also know that it's a hormonal thing and mine are apparently currently out of whack... joy.
|One more inch to go - then, split for the cabled front section|
I don't know why I felt compelled to write and share that tidbit with the world. I know I always that this is my online journal of my life and that I simply welcome others to read it but I write for me. Perhaps I thought that someone else could benefit from reading it today. Perhaps I thought writing it down might help me today. Who knows what I thought but the fact remains that I did and I have. I still feel anxious and it's the same level as when I started but hey... I'm safe, I'm healthy, and I know it's not logical but I also know that logic doesn't matter.