Anxious. Who Me?

12/1/2014

There’s nothing like a really bad anxiety attack to make you explode by surprise. The image I see is a raw egg getting cracked, hard, on top of your head and the runny yolk and raw white egg white oozing down your face. The texture alone is enough to make me gag.

I felt out of control and crazy, slimy and totally unprepared. It made me crash, physically, emotionally and mentally. “That will show you who you really are,” some growling, deep voice, inside me said threateningly. I can vouch for that. I’d swear on a Bible if you want me to. I know I’m anxious but in the midst of the strongest part, I am not aware of how sucked in, like a tornado, I really am.

Well, well, well, welcome back, you insidious monster with life sucking tentacles. You snuck in and took over my mind and body. Because I didn’t have heart palpitations I can’t label you a panic attack although to me, they are very close.

Honestly, I should say I haven’t felt you around for quite some time. A long time and never this severe. But, believe me, I recognized who you were the second you slipped into my body and mind when I was looking someplace else.

Sure, I knew you were there and i did everything in my power to get rid of you. I tried to fight you with all the strength I could muster, batting my arms and legs squarely at your stomach, as hard as I possible could. I tried accepting you too so I sat right down in my messy bed and started taking deep cleansing breaths. Nothing worked.

I tried to do meditative yoga exercises, that in class, always work. I tried music, music can always soothe me and the music that night, made me feel crazier. This was scary.  I felt out of control.

Finally, I took a Xanax, prescription approved, doctor-ordered medicine and waited for that to kick in but it never did. Now, between my fear of flying on a plane the next day and

my medicine not working, I was one big horrible out of control mess.

It’s not as if I was looking from afar at this crazy person either, I knew it was me, I knew what I was scared about which at that point was everything. A plane trip we were taking, a trip my daughter was taking later in the month, the fear of losing control, the fear of feeling crazy is crazy enough for me and that is where I was headed. I felt out of control and that is a very scary feeling. I couldn’t calm down or make myself feel peaceful.

It’s a scary world out there, I try to make sense out of it but I can’t, there are no rational explanations. Bad things happen, often, and I need to better adapt to the new way of life. The world won’t change, obviously, the only thing that can possibly change is me.

Given the last experience, I admit, I don’t have high hopes.

 

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The Day After Robin Williams’ Died

I sit in shock even as the news about Robin Williams’ death is sweeping the country on every possible news outlet. Shock moved to sadness and even though I didn’t know this marvelously talented man or his demons, I am feeling his pain. Everyone’s pain. The world is so fragile right now, you can feel it in the the heaviness of the air, the full moon,  in the tension of the world. For some of us, called Empath Intuitives, we feel more deeply, we take on other people’s pain as if they were our own but I am trying hard to separate this one.

I wrote this in response to my friend, the great Jenny the Bloggess, aka Jenny Lawson on her wonderful post about the death or apparent suicide of Robin Williams. Please take a look at Jenny’s site (I reblogged it here if it worked) to read the whole thing, if you don’t know Jennifer Lawson, you really should. My goal in life is to be mentioned on one of her side bars one day! She will cheer you up, crack you up and has been one of my inspirations. She has really creepy (sorry Jenny) habits/hobbies like taxidermied animals but she also does beautiful things for others and that makes you want to be as awesome as she is.

Not to mention, you have never really met the true Beyonce that we, in the Jenny Fan club know. “Knock knock Motherfucker.” You’ll see. It makes perfect sense.

Jenny wrote a heart breaking and heart warming post about suicide and mental illness and all of our challenges in life. This was my reply to her:

I’m usually good for a laugh or a witty response but sorry, I just can’t this time and that’s okay. I know I will get it back but Robin Williams’ suicide hurts in a place where childhood was, we grew up with him. WHY DOES MENTAL ILLNESS STILL HAVE SUCH A NEGATIVE STIGMA, IT SHOULDN’T. WHAT IF CANCER WAS SUBSTITUTED FOR MENTAL ILLNESS? I don’t understand. It is an illness like any other illness and needs to be treated by a professional. I have an anxiety disorder and take meds for it, like Jenny, and it is treatable. Sure, there are some bad days but there are some bad days for everyone. Isn’t it time that mental illness can come out of the closet and be accepted by everyone instead of being a hushed secret? Come on, people, give those of us who struggle with something different, ( I have an anxiety disorder) an encouraging word, a smile, a chance to say “I feel sad/anxious today.”

More money is needed for mental health providers but I’m sure Robin Williams could have provided that for himself. PLEASE, talk to each other or call a suicide hotline. If not for yourself, then for your children, your mother, brother, best friend, your partner, your pet, for me and for Jenny. There’s always someone waiting to listen. I promise. Signed, your friend, Laurie F. hibernationnow.wordpress.com

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Search results

  1. www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

    “Because Hope Is A Marvelous Thing” by me.

Diagnosis: Anxiety

Anxiety Always

Anxiety Always (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know that feeling in your stomach that makes your muscles clench but you don’t have a real stomach ache from eating too much and you don’t have a virus? That’s where anxiety starts for me. I’m literally writing this blog while having an anxiety attack and honestly, it’s not that easy to remain focused. Part of me thinks about throwing up but I’m trying to be calm, trying to breathe until I can’t do this any longer. I know you guys understand. That’s why I love blogging, for the people who read my blog. If you can’t relate to anxiety, I’m sure you can relate to other things I write about, humor, Pop Cop, my love of Food, Chocolate, Pizza (fine, with jam but only if the pizza is too dry) some of the ailments: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and having the energy of a dying tick. Actually, an ailing tick may have more energy than I do. I forgot a few other ailments like Imbalalnce and such but it’s pathetic enough as it is, I won’t bore you with more details. I bore myself as it is.

My husband and I are (and I hate these words) “empty nesters.” We’re also in the “sandwich generation” another over popular phrase that is used ad nauseum. Basically we are a married couple, we just celebrated twenty-five years of marriage and both our adult children are in college. I have my mom who is still alive and my husband has both parents alive and they still play tennis. Amazing.

Like many people my husband just got laid off from his job a few days ago. That’s stress provoking, people. He works doing computer stuff which is what I basically call it but it’s something like Software Product Development Management. I know nothing about it but if you do or know someone who might be able to help can you please have them get in touch with me?  I’ll send it to him and it would really be an act of incredible kindness, no matter where you live. In any case, I can’t change things, I try not to worry about them and in the end, things will turn out the way they are supposed to turn out.

About a week ago I had the mother of all anxiety attacks when my son turned 21, my husband lost his job and my mother, who was a little sad because all her friends were moving, decided that maybe she should consider moving too. It was a long day and a tough weekend.  We all know I’m not very good at change especially three changes in one day but after 24 hours I was much better. Breathe in, breathe out. Maybe that meditation class was worth the money after all.

I’m trying to do the best that I can, even writing this all down has helped me become last anxious. Having my dog Lexi, literally lying on my legs so I can’t move, her face close to me, makes me happy. From a crazy, wild puppy she has become an affectionate, loving girl dog. She knows that I need to lie down a lot and when I am home, she jumps up on the bed and cuddles with me.

The anxiety has lessened. I know there will be moments of panic but from now on, we have to take it step by step. I give thanks for what we still have. I will try to keep reminding myself of that, whatever happens will happen. Worrying about it won’t do me or anyone else any good. There’s a reason for everything and now we wait.

There’s A Wonderful Advantage To Getting Older That, I Bet, You Don’t Know

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

March 2013

I thought I was having a psychotic episode, the mere word itself terrifies me. Random words kept popping into my head like kernels of corn and it made me more nervous than I already was (if that was at all possible.). I took a low dose of  Xanax, a prescribed anti-anxiety medicine and waited, it didn’t help. It had always worked before, why not now?  That freaked me out too. I thought for sure, I was going out of my mind and it terrified me.

My husband was away on a business trip and I was home alone with our dog, Jax, during one of the worst blizzards; they were forecasting winds up to 60 miles per hour, major power outages and two feet of snow. I have been alone plenty of times before and have enjoyed it tremendously, but this time felt like one continuous nightmare, that lasted five days and nights. Jax stayed close to me and if the heat went out I could always cuddle with him, luckily when you have a dog you really don’t feel as alone.

Since I couldn’t calm myself down, I was sure I was having a psychotic episode and my huge fear of being restrained in a mental hospital/jail loomed in front of me. I’m not sure if I could have made myself any more anxious if I tried. I stayed up late, reading and listening to calming music, trying to take deep breaths until I was so tired that I fell asleep.

I had a planned appointment with my therapist a few days later and I couldn’t wait to get there. I told her my anxiety medicine didn’t work. She calmly said; “You should have taken two.” Her answer to my question about it being a psychotic state was ” “you are too old to start having a psychotic episode now.” For once, being older had a huge advantage. The one thing I could be thrilled about getting older. We had an advantage, who knew? That DID make me happy. Rejoice, older men and women!

She said it was just anxiety and “why wouldn’t you be anxious, alone, with a huge storm coming with howling winds that frightened many people?  The power could have gone out and instead of struggling with the ten page detailed instruction manual that I was obsessing about I should have just shoveled on more blankets and waited until the morning. Then, I could beg a neighbor to help me or as my shrink suggested “go to a hotel.”

I owe this woman a great deal of thanks, she is an incredibly smart and wonderful person. I like her and I trust her and if there is something serious we stop our talking and kidding around immediately and she has solid advice. Some people, even now, in the year 2013, still have a stigma about seeing a psychiatrist to  work out a problem. I just don’t get that, if you had trouble with your car, would you hesitate taking it to the mechanic? You just need to make sure, in both cases, that you go to the RIGHT person, the right match. I’ve met many frogs who called themselves therapists, this woman is a gem. A natural gem.

PS How many people are getting anxious just watching this dude?

Simple Pleasures

English: Fireplace. For more translations SEE ...

English: Fireplace. For more translations SEE BELOW (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like walking on the beach and collecting seashells. I love watching the ocean, any time of year. Sitting in front of a fireplace watching the orange flames flicker and dance in front of me; I sit so close that I feel the warmth of the fire on my cheeks, safe enough not to get burned. Familiar music playing that I sing along to, I used to burn candles but I don’t do that as much anymore. It used to be comforting and pretty but I’ve outgrown that. My dad used to buy me a candle for my birthday every year. Since he died eleven years ago, my mom and my sister try to do that, it’s so sweet but not the same. I love their intentions though, I appreciate it.

I’m looking forward to the special sweetness of a pit-free clementine, the happy, simple snack that I can just grab and peel. That is one easy part of the winter that I like. The winters are long here, way too long for me so I try to think of specific things that make it better like my home-made pea soup with smoked ham pieces and plenty of carrots so that it has a smoky-sweet taste. Or my home-made chicken soup that comforts us when we have colds and feel like eating nothing else. Our son used to crumble up Saltines by the handful and throw them into the soup so it was thick, the consistency of gruel but tasty. In the winter, I drink hot chocolate, in a steaming mug, sometimes with marshmallows for an extra treat and I bake my famous banana bread, with chocolate chips and raisins. I bake it for three out of the four cousins; my daughter will not try it.

I like having a flashlight right beside my bed every night and a tissue clutched in my hand. On my bookcase, along with many, many books I have photographs of my son, my daughter, my dog Lexi, and our deceased dog, Callie. There is our informal “engagement” picture of my husband and myself grinning so happily at the world. There is a basket of seashells that I collected from Florida and Rhode Island that I play with every now and again. I look at them all the time. Our dog, Lexi, lies on my bed, across my legs and sighs deeply and happily.

I have an anxiety disorder and recently I was so lucky to find a Psychiatrist who is lovely and gracious and someone who will not just dole out anxiety medications but will talk and listen. I told her today I picture her and her assistant as Glenda the good witch, all pink tulle and smiling eyes. I do not take this lightly having seen a couple of really creepy people. This is something I hold special in my heart, that there are still a few good people on earth, that do good things, whether you have the money or not. They will work with you to figure it out, there ARE a few people to believe in. I am grateful for you; thank you for helping me believe that there are good people left in the world. I am grateful and blessed.

Dedicated to M.E. and B.

Rx: Anxiety

Anxious

Image by Brian Auer via Flickr

Arthritic, gnarled witch fingers

crawl into my bloated stomach

weaving in and out, with fire lit thunder bolts

pounding their way through my blood engorged arteries.

I want to scream for it to stop and I do

but no words come out.

I hear the words perfectly pegged with accuracy but no one else can,

as they lean into me, their black eyes engorged, their breath hot on my face.

I am living in the deep, dark labyrinth where there is

no beginning and no end just twisted corners turned around.

The veins on my hands pop up aqua blue

against milky white skin that is painfully translucent.

Breathing in labored breaths,

I swing my torso around and tuck it into my body cave, fatty, yellow globules mixed together.

Tonight, there are no answers, just questions and mind numbing

sadness with extraordinary swells of sweating fear.

Bad Habits that Need to Go

there's no need to worry this is just a vacation

Image by Robert Bruce Murray III // Sort Of Natural via Flickr

A Buddha, I’m Not

 

I worry sometimes like a mother-trucker and it is not good for me (or anyone else). Of course I have tried to stop doing this but I was born worrying, straight out of the womb, six weeks premature (immature too?) and into the incubator for another six weeks. I am convinced that the separation from my mom is a cause. Perhaps I never felt soothed or comforted in the hospital, that’s just my own philosophy. The effect? I was also an anxious child who had to have my “questions” answered by my father every single night. Anticipatory anxiety, intense worrying, convinced something bad is going to happen before I have actual facts. I’ve tried the occasional anti-anxiety drug (which can take a slight edge off) but mostly, I try to breathe, sing, distract and write. Will I ever stop worrying? Doubt it.

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