I'm new to this forum, so first off, I am so glad I found this group of kind people.
Second, I am really scared today. I never thought I would be like this, but my husband is flying to the other side of the country for a business trip today, and I am terrified. I am not going with him because I don't think I could handle getting on a plane right now.
I have always thought of myself as a tough cookie, as very independent. I've been through hell and back a few times in my life, gotten through life-threatening situations, lived alone (and liked it) a good deal of my adult life, was a single parent. Met and married my husband, and love our life together.
Then, two years ago I had my first "episode". Driving the hour drive down the highway to work, suddenly my heart starts thumping and racing, I can't quite breathe, legs and hands start to shake. Dizziness and vertigo, like I am on a tilt-a-whirl. I kept going but when I started to feel like I was about to pass out, I pulled over and called my husband. He said get out of the car - maybe it was a carbon dioxide problem. But fresh air didn't help. I was shaking, my heart pounding. I didn't want to die, I have a child to raise, and I didn't want to die on the side of the highway. I finally got back in the car and inched my way - 15 mph down the highway- to McDonalds.
I tried drinking some orange juice. Maybe it was low blood sugar or too much caffeine. I was not a breakfast eater and considered my travel mug of coffee my "breakfast." Finally, after sitting in McDonald's for two hours, gulping down orange juice, then ordering something to eat, my husband with me on the phone the whole time, it was over. I was exhausted, but no longer felt like I was about to pass out or die. I went to work. Whatever it was, it was over.
Except, it happened again. And again. On the way to work, in the grocery store after work, driving my daughter to the mall for jeans. A few doctor's appointments, nothing wrong with me can be found, so I force myself to keep going out there, keep living life. If it's "just" panic attacks, the worst thing to do is to "give in" to them.
Except, eventually I do. Eventually I can't take that kind of terror on a daily basis. I am able to begin working from home - a miracle - something I had wanted to do anyway so I could be home more with my daughter.
Many of you probably know how it goes... I'll go out sometimes and be fine, other times... I've had to leave my full shopping cart at the store and run, praying I make it home. I've had to sit on the blood-pressure-machine bench at Walmart until I have the strength to make my way out of the store. One of my lowest points was working up the nerve to drive to the deli just a mile away. Arriving in the parking lot, I made it! open my car door to get out and Boom! there goes my heart, the ground is spinning. I slam the door closed again and head home, shaking, then crying. What is wrong with me?! I can't do the simplest thing!
A lower point than that... having this happen while cleaning up the breakfast dishes one weekday morning. Just hanging out in my own kitchen! In my own home! I called my husband home from work, and we go to the ER. This has gone far enough and we need to know what's wrong with me. You probably know how this goes too. I arrive home six hours later with a brochure about dizziness (When To Call 911!) and a prescription for xanax.
I've been to countless doctor appointments since, trying to rule out any "medical cause." I still have a few more appointments and tests to go, but so far, nothing except low vitamin D levels, which I am now taking vitamin D for.
Today all I can think about is what if something happens while my husband is away.What if I can't do this?
And what have I become that this is where I am at? A few years ago, I would have missed him - and then enjoyed my few days of quiet, extra time to read or watch Golden Girls reruns, let the dog in the bed, take my daughter out for some fun.
Now all I can think is what if, what if, what if?
And most of all, what if I could be the capable, fun-loving, let's-just-go-do-it woman/wife/mother I used to be.