You’ve taken your meds for the night and you’ve watched your TV shows. You have tucked away the woes and cares of the day so you think…….
There’s no warning to it sometimes. It takes forms of many characters. Other times it creeps slowly and you know its coming but you don’t know when or how hard it will hit. But it’s coming.
For me it’s most often at night when I finally try to relax or rest. A few times it’s happened in broad daylight when my mind just refuses to stop. But more often than not it’s just before bed.
I have laid down and adjusted my pillow 10 different times. Turned from one side to the other and even with the meds kicking in I can’t seem to switch off. My mind goes to “happy” places but those places have been infiltrated and don’t always make it stop or go away. The air I breathe becomes thick. My skin prickly with warmth and cold at the same time. My hands and feet begin to sweat. My heart races and my body tingles. I try to stop it but its already begun. The pressure in my head is like a tea kettle and I blink hard to compensate for the pressure. My mouth runs dry and I have to sit up. My hand goes over my chest and I feel my heart beating. The dizziness comes into play and I have to get out of bed. Panic has fallen upon me and I tell myself “you’re fine” over and over in my head.
I have to get out if the bedroom. I go out to the living room and find my blood pressure cuff. I always feel that if I check something vital, that helps. Plus I do have a legit heart issue. So I check it and my BP is up and so is my heart rate. I sit on the couch alone. Adler is asleep and so is Aaron. I try to focus on my breathing and just remember I am still breathing. It’s OK. I am OK.
I look around the room. My mind floods quickly with memories and it becomes absolutely overwhelming. It hurts my head. And my muscles are clinched. My shoulders tight and my teeth clinched. My body is on fire with pure emotion.
I am having an anxiety attack.
I have had them before. I have them now. I have had one or two in public and had to abandon my cart and just leave. One was after out first hospital stay at Lurie with his hydrocephalus surgery just days before and the other was during chemo and I couldn’t find anything he wanted to eat and the tears took me out of the store before anyone saw.
This has been awful to live though. To deal with. To feel and see him suffer so much. To retain and recycle medical and necessary information constantly and still maintain normal life as a responsible adult and be a wife and mother and friend and function in society. The Caregiver role becomes like auto pilot after awhile and mommy life is amplified by 1000 or more and fear is magnified by reality. It’s all very dramatic and makes one quite a fragile person. No matter how strong I think I am. And I try to be gentle on myself and cut myself some slack.
I am not afraid to admit I have anxiety. It’s awful and painful and dreadful. It was always there as I am a bit of a control freak and though I seem mild mannered I am a tad high strung. So yea I am cool, until you piss me off!! Or when life just does or has too much going on and its just too much. My body will stop me and so will my mind. It will shut me down.
So now what…..you’re left shattered and exhausted from adrenaline and sadness mixed with grief and the desperation of your everyday that weighs so heavy on you that sometimes it just breaks.
Your minds slows along with your breathing and your heart too. Your eyes blink slower and you can return to the bed.
You tuck back in under the covers and hope that you can fall asleep quickly with out anymore fear. Hope for no bad dreams and awaken rested and ready for a new and better day.
It’s sadly all part of this journey. Us patents, moms turned caregivers are stricken with it. Burduned by it. Some even crippled by it. I hope to one day not need those little helpers in that bottle and sleep a normal sleep and that my thoughts that cause these won’t be filled with fears that I never imagined I would face.
But for now I will lay back. Try to get comfortable again and rest. Hope for happy dreams and release from the goul that is anxiety. Pearched high on that steeple of thoughts that swoops down in the night like a Gothic gargoyle to bring me up gripped in its talons only to drop me with no net to catch me. Into a dark abyss that is living fear and terror.
A person can only take so much. The mind can only take on so much before the glass ceiling falls to pieces. And you sometimes have to walk over those pieces to get to the peaceful place you seek.
So wounded and maimed with imaginary glass shards in my feet I sit in my bed. Lay back. Take some deep breaths, close my eyes and await sleep. Relax my body and mind and take care until tomorrow. Those imaginary wounds will heal and I will be fine. I will be OK. Just like I repeat when it all starts, I am fine. I am OK. (Even if I’m not). Perhaps a scar or two left in my mind as a reminder that I walked away from it then and I can do it again.