I know for a lot of you here, you might have all had a victory or three against that feeling of an impending attack. For those who are new I want to share with you a victory in my fight against anxiety. It's a small one but, for those who think there is no hope, know that there is and that it is there for you too!
I was doing my dishes last night, me and the wife had a stew for dinner. The whole time were eating I have the "what ifs?" going through my head. For those who don't know, those are the thoughts that bring falword all your symptoms to the surface of your mind, at least that's what they do to me. I thought "what if I have a heart attack right now and die in my stew?" My chest started to hurt. Then I thought, "what if I just keep eating my stew and talk to my wife normally like I have been?" It helped a little. "What if I don't get to see my son grow up?" My palpatations got worse. "What if I do get to see my son grow up?" My palpatations evened out a little. Finally, we finish dinner and I go to wash dishes; I usually have a cigerette but I'm "trying" to quit. I notice after I got up and walked over to my sink that my palpatations got worse, my pec muscles hurt more. I started doing dishes, my mind telling me that I'm going to have an attack. I felt my heart rate start to climb. That's a bad sign for me becasu my heart rate never goes up. My heart is starting to thud in my chest. I take a deep breath; I keep talking to my wife about whatever we were talking about and refuse to act like this is an emergency. She never even knew what I was going through. In my head I'm desperately trying to reason with myself, "is this REALLY a heart attack?" "Didn't you get a cleam bill of health from the doctor just a month and a half ago." "I know I had a few cigerettes today, that is not the end of the world!" I asked myself, "can you still breath?" "Yes." Is your arm numb, is your breathing labored, are you going to collapse?" "NO." It took a few minutes, but by the time I was done with the dishes, I had talked myself down. Between recognizing that my bodies symptoms were NOT life threatening, they are only manifestations of my fear in my muscles and chest. I fought the "what ifs" with other better directed "what ifs." I used my belly breathing, slow breaths in the nose hold and out the mouth. It was a combination of all this on all fronts to avoid one panic attack. It took a lot out of me not to let myself fall into the fear. I was exhausted afterword. Even though I didn't go into the full on attack, the symptoms I did have still made me super tired. I know it seems like a lot for one small victory BUT, today, I am stronger. That victory lets me know that if I can win there, then I can win AGAIN! For me, my symptoms make me think sometimes that there is NO end to this. That I will forever be messed up and that I will never feel normal. This victory lets me know that there IS normal. There is hope. My symptoms CAN be controlled, my feelings can be recogonized for what they are and handled appropriately. I know this was a long one, but writing helps me. I know I'm still very new to this. Ten weeks ago, I was a different type of normal. I had no worry, no anxiety. A night of drinking, no sleep, dehydration, and a tough work out at the gym changed all that for me. This is my new normal self. I have to come to accept it, to understand it, and to work with it so we can live in harmony.
Diagnosed- Panic attack sufferer, mild anxiety with moderate symptoms
Zoloft 50 mg- 6 weeks strong, no major side effects except WILD dreams
CBT - 5 weeks strong