Monthly Archives: March 2017

Panic

So I had a bad panic attack today. You know the kind… the shaking, can’t breathe, crying, feels like your heart is going to explode, all of it. 

I would have been fine, maybe, if I had been able to distract myself, or if I had my emergency medicine. But I couldn’t. And I didn’t. So I felt like I was dying. To make matters worse, I was at work. I was on my lunch break. I should have been fine.

Those of us who deal with panic attacks on a daily basis know that they can come from nowhere, can be triggered by anything, even when you are doing nothing at all. Including sitting outside on your lunch break. 

Personally, even though I know all of this, panic attacks make me mad. I know that it’s a system misfiring, my fight or flight system going off when there is no apparent danger to me, I know this. I know I have panic attacks. I know that I have a panic disorder. But they make me mad. Because, in the end of it all, I feel stupid. I feel like I should be able to handle myself at work, even with the stress, because I do work a stressful job that likes to throw me some curve balls. I feel like I should have a good reason to be triggered. And sitting outside on my lunch break before I have to go back to work should not be a trigger. Work should not be a trigger. 

It takes so much out of me when I have a panic attack, especially ones like today. With the shaking and everything, I’m just worn out. And of course, all I wanted to do was go home. So I did the only rational thing I could do, ask to go home. Well… that only got some raised eyebrows. Why? Because I couldn’t find the DSO, the one in charge that would tell me if I could go home or not, and when someone finally got ahold of them all I got was “Go to the ER”. So this nurse puts me in a wheelchair and is wheeling me down to the ER, and I’m just trying to remember to breathe and not bawl my eyes out while saying I don’t want to go to the ER, I just need to go home. We get there, and they all look at me to check in. Another nurse from the ER comes up and asks me what’s wrong and I tell her that I’m having a panic attack and that the DSO sent me down here. And she said something about me not having chest pain or being short of breath. Well, duh. So I calm down enough to call the DSO, she’s still telling me to go to the ER. I say fine and I call my husband to come and get me. I go and grab my things from the 4th floor. And tell them that I’m leaving, noticing that they are making a call to the DSO too. So this is just turning into a mess and a half. 

I finally clock out and just leave the building. And while I’m waiting on my husband, my boss texts me and asks not so politely why I’m leaving in the middle of my shift. And lo and behold, there she is, pulling up next to me. “You, I need to talk to you. Walk over here.” So I follow her. And she’s got her hands on her hips and asking me what’s going on. I explain again, and start crying again, because I’m still having a panic attack and she’s only making it worse. “Well I don’t understand how you can have a panic attack while you’re on  your lunch break.” Well aren’t you lucky that you don’t have to know how it feels? 

So I’m probably going to be written up for sure this time, because she told me this counts as an absence. And she’s telling me that I’m not dependable and she needs dependable people she can trust to do their job. And I totally get it. And I’m trying to be that person. But I couldn’t be that person today. Because when I’m having a panic attack, it’s not safe for my patients. I can’t focus like that. She tells me that I need to see a doctor and suggested that I go to the ER. The thing with going to the ER is that nothing is going to be done there. It’s a panic attack, not a heart attack. They will send me home. 

But this got me to thinking, how many people truly don’t understand how debilitating a panic attack can be? And instead of being so hard on someone about it, why wouldn’t you want to help them? I understand she’s a boss, and it’s her job to be tough and get things done. I get it, I really do. But when you have an employee crying in the parking lot, I would imagine a little compassion can go a lot further. 

Panic attacks are weird things. People experience them in different ways. Whether they are being silent and staring off into the distance, or making a scene (like I did today). Panic does things to people. And I doubt that any two people go through them the exact same way. I shake, my face turns red, my heart beats fast, I hyperventilate. But there are times, too, when I have a panic attack and I simply get sick to my stomach, or stare off into space. 

For those who need a little further explaination: 

“A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you’re losing control, having a heart attack, or even dying. Panic attacks typically begin suddenly, without warning. They can strike at any time – when you’re driving a car, at the mall, sound asleep or in the middle of a business meeting. You may have occsional panica attacks or they may occur frequently. 

Panic attacks have many variations, but symptoms usually peak within minutes. You may feel fatigued and worn out after a panic attack subsides.

Panic attacks typically include some of these symptoms:

  • sense of impending doom or danger
  • fear of loss of control or dying
  • rapid, pounding heart rate
  • sweating
  • trembling, shaking
  • shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
  • chills
  • hot flashes
  • nausea
  • abdominal cramping
  • headache
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness
  • numbness or tingling sensation
  • feeling of unreality or detachment”

Mayo Clinic

So a lot goes into a panic attack. And if you have panic attacks and face each day the best way you can, you’re a bad ass. Just saying. 

I’m doing better now. Just resting. I hope everyone has a great day.

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In Sickness and Health

These are words spoken in wedding vows and they mean so much to me. 

When we got married, I figured that I would be the one with the bad days. Having Bipolar Disorder gives you some ups and downs in life, days where getting out of bed is a feat in itself. But I found someone who has grounded me in safety and security. And when I have a bad day, it’s not as bad as it used to be. 

Now, I take care of him. And some times, it’s not easy to do. Not because I don’t want to do it, I would do anything for him. I would change the world for him if I could. But some times, it’s difficult to watch.

I remember a test that we had to do, to see how his muscles responded to stimuli. No one prepared me, when we took vows, that in sickness and health meant watching a doctor basically torture your husband for a test. A test that he needed, but you could tell that it was painful. 

“In sickness and health”, we really think of the healthy times. I see families together being happy, you don’t want to think about what happens when someone gets sick. And some times people think that sickness means just a simple cold or something. But a medical mystery? That’s something entirely different. 

It’s been an adventure. With the good days and and the bad days, I can tell you that we have taken our vows seriously. We take care of each other. We take turns some times, and some days we take care of each other at the same time. 

They don’t tell you, when you take those vows that you’re going to worry. Or that you’re going to want to know more, that you’re going to try to research everything you can to try and figure this out. They don’t tell you that you’re going to call every doctor several times a week just to get an appointment, or a certain medication refilled, or an MRI scheduled. They don’t tell you all of this.

But they can’t tell you that it makes you stronger. That it makes your marriage better. Love and marriage, sickness and health, it takes work. You have to want to work on it – I’ve seen illness tear people apart. But, for us, I feel like this adventure has made us stronger and made us love each other better. 

I know in my heart that I love my husband more and more every day. I want to be with him and take care of him, no matter where this takes us. I want to grow our family together. This has brought us closer than I ever thought possible.

To my husband, I am so proud of you for being you. For waking up each day and fighting your battle. For loving me like you do. You are an amazing man with such strength, we can only keep going from here. Together, we will make it through this. You give me courage and strength when I need it. I will always be here for you. I’m proud of all of your accomplishments. I love you to the moon and back, Siempre por Siempre.

Self Care

Self care is an important issue when dealing when mental health. It’s one of those things we seem to neglect some times, especially when we are in a low swing. 

Here are some tips to help with self care:

1. Be sure to get some sleep: It’s hard to do when you’re having an episode of mania or when you work a crazy schedule. But your body needs sleep. It’s how you process information and your body restores systems. Try to schedule it to where you can get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you are having trouble sleeping, you may want to talk to your doctor and let them know that you aren’t getting enough sleep at night and discuss a good course of action. My doctor was kind enough to prescribe a sleep aid for me. Some times, I still don’t get enough sleep, but that’s my own fault for being a night owl.

2. Drink plenty of water: Water is great for the body! I’m not going to ask you to drink a gallon of water a day, but you do need to drink more than 8 oz of water a day. Your body needs water, considering you are mostly water. Daily activity drains you of water. And drinking a soda does not count as water. Drink up!

3. Make sure you eat: Believe it or not, breakfast is important, though I usually skip breakfast because I’m running out the door in the morning. But your body needs food. And when you’re manic, you might not notice that you’re not eating. Please try to remember to eat at least 3 meals a day. Maybe have a light snack in between meals, something healthy? 

4. Listen to your body: This can be as simple as “I’m hungry” or “I’m tired”. If you need to take a nap, find the time to take one, and if you need to eat, find something to eat. Your body knows what it needs you just have to listen to it.

5. Make a wellness toolbox: A wellness toolbox can look like anything. Most people have a box with a few of their favorite things in it. Some have a journal and pen, music, a favorite book, a stuffed animal, it can really be anything. But it’s like something that will help cheer you up.

6. Take a shower: Even on the days that you don’t want to get out of bed, getting up and taking a shower can do wonders for you. Yes, it requires some energy, and it may take some coaxing, but you can do it, and you will feel better. 

7. Go for a walk: If the weather is nice, go for a walk, especially on sunny days. Your body will thank you for the sunshine. It gets your body moving and your heart pumping. 

8. Call a friend: Sometimes it’s nice just to hear someone else’s voice other than your own. Plus, it’s a great way to catch up. 

9. Play with a furry friend: Dogs and cats have been shown to reduce depression. If you have a pet, play with them or simply take some time to pet them. It makes them feel good and you too.

10. Journal: Journals are great tools. They can be set up in any way, shape, or form. They can be scattered thoughts, or bullet journals with concise lists. A journal is for your own thoughts on the day, on something that is bothering you, maybe some poetry, anything you want. 

Hopefully, some of these tips help. Keep your chin up!

Closed Door

So, from the past two posts, you can tell that I tried opening the door to a relationship with my legal mother. As expected, it didn’t go well. 

For the first couple of weeks, it was great. We tried to catch up. But, like I said in my last post, it was awkward. Things with her felt forced. Well, I guess now I don’t have to worry about it.

I tried to take a break from it, to see what I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of the relationship. Did I really want to drag myself down the rabbit hole again? Trying to please this woman is damn near impossible, or at least it was when I was growing up. It felt like nothing I did ever made her happy, you know? Straight a’s in school weren’t good enough, working full time in high school wasn’t good enough, doing extra cirriculars wasn’t good enough, the kitchen wasn’t cleaned good enough. It just felt like nothing I ever did was enough for her. And it’s sad really. I don’t think that I was a bad kid. I didn’t do the things that you see on the movies, where kids sneek out and go to parties, drink and do drugs, get pregnant. I was on the honor roll, National Honors Society, student counsil at one point. I mean, I did what I was supposed to do. 

So, when things went crazy, that’s when I started to veer off the path. When Donna tried to kill herself back in 2010 and had to be hospitalized, I started drinking. I started smoking cigarettes. And while she was there, that’s when I found out that she had legally adopted me. I had visited with her every day the first week she was there. I missed a week of school so I could be there. I missed all my classes (I was in college at that point) for a week, just so I could be with her, supporting her. But then, they moved her to the state hospital, and that’s a four hour drive from my dorm. And I had to get back to class. I didn’t visit, but I called every day, until they switched units and no one told me how to get ahold of her. I did go to see her one time, it was after I found out about the adoption. I remember her being mad that I found out, she was screaming. She told me to get out. 

No matter how many times I keep trying to tell her that things never had to change, she’s the one who keeps changing them. Maybe because she doesn’t like that I’m stronger willed than she anticipated. I don’t bow to anyone anymore. Certainly not her. When she got home from the hospital, she slammed the door in my face and threatened to call the cops on me. I’ve tried reaching out to her since then, but we always come back to this issue here. The adoption and the fact that I found out. 

The last time I reached out to her, we talked for a few days and it blew up in my face. I crumpled a little. This time, I’m not crumpling. I expected it. I anticipated the fall out, I knew it was coming before it happened. Now, well now I’m just mad. 

I’m mad that I put myself out there again. I knew that nothing was going to come of this, yet I got my hopes up that things would be different this time around. That enough time had passed and she had changed. But she’s really just the same. 

This time, she said that I have no respect for her. And to be quite honest. I don’t. I can’t respect someone who walked out on me like she did. I was trying to have a relationship with her, trying to love her again. I was willing to let go of everything and start over for us. But that’s not going to happen.

She lives in a world that she has created. She believes every lie she has ever told. She believes that I was told things about her, instead of what I have experienced with her. I guess she forgot that I grew up with her. She wants to control who I have in my life, and I’m not about to have that happen again. 

Things just got out of hand again. Did I say some mean things, yes. But it was the truth. And some times the truth can hurt. I know when I’ve been told the truth about me, my actions, some of those truths hurt. 

I just wanted to try to have a relationship. I opened a door so that, in the event that something bad happens to her, I would have the closure I needed. But it blew up in my face. And she has the audacity to say that she feels sorry for me! 

I’m not trying to get any sympathy or anything, just simply venting at this point. I told her at the beginning, this was the last time I would try to have a relationship with her. Because there’s no point. If she closes the door again, I’m not wasting anymore of my time. And she closed the door. She runs away from problems, like I used to do. 

In all honesty, I hope that she gets help, because she needs therapy. I had hoped that we could get a relationship off the ground, a genuine relationship. But I’m not going to be told what I can and can’t do, who I can and can’t love. I’m an adult, not some small child that you can bully into doing what you want with guilt (her favorite trick). 

I wish it wasn’t going to be this way. But I feel like, I tried, it failed. My message was delievered. Whether she accepts that message is up to her.

Sorry, readers for the long bitchy post.