When it hits the fan, and you don’t know why…


S#%t hit the fan the last two nights, and I’m not really sure why. Yesterday morning, I was awoken by the feeling of pressure on my chest, my arms were heavy and buzzing with a tingling sensation and a crippling fear disabled my ability to make a choice about what was happening. Something/someone was trying to keep me down, maybe suffocate me; it felt evil and oppressive. I felt like a child who wouldn’t come out from under her sheets, but not because I didn’t want to. My eyes would not focus enough to open and my arms felt as heavy as waterlogged electric poles. My mind screamed reason behind the terror: anxiety attack. You’re having an attack, so breathe. Even with reason yelling at me to breathe, and my body sort of (not really) cooperating, it took ten minutes to come back down, to be able to open my eyes and sit up.

But all day yesterday the heaviness never left me. My body stayed exhausted: maybe from lack of sleep, maybe from the fight, maybe from the fact that I haven’t been able to workout intensively in 3 1/2 months, maybe it was because I finally turned in my book to layouts and I’m done editing it and that worries me because it will be in it’s imperfect but done stage forever, maybe it’s because from 7:30 a.m. till 8:30 (and a few times in between) I am the non-stop mother of a three and five year old (who also does the housework, takes care of a puppy, and tries to fit in signings, blog hops, writing, teaching part-time and working out but never can mange all of them successfully). Maybe it’s because I’m seeing a new counselor who does not know my history and is trying to figure out whether my bipolar diagnosis is correct and, if so, if/what medications are best for my symptoms, so I’m still unmedicated even though I feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed almost every day of my life. Prayer helps, but I feel like the answer is: you’re not well and probably should take medication.

I don’t know why, but last night I did not sleep even though my body felt like it was draped in a layer of heavy fog, even though I feel so tired that I didn’t even wake up to take my daughter to school because, after fighting the panic attack, waking an hour later was just too hard. I let her sleep and I let me sleep and it was so hard, when she finally woke up, to tell her that I missed taking her to the bus. And feeling ashamed that I couldn’t do the most basic of activity because my body just stopped working due to…stress, I guess?

I can feel the anxiety behind my skin, sitting like a 1,000 lb monster who is simply resting his arm on my head now, but is thinking he might need a piggy back ride soon. This post is not hopeful, and I’m sorry for that because I know it will get better. But help/change seems to come so slowly when you really need it, can almost not function, but have to. And that’s the bottom line. I have to function. My kids need me to help them and they need to set a standard of how to deal with the intangible sicknesses that might plague them. I’ve been asked before: “Oh, what do you have to be so stressed about? You have food, a home, people who love you…” Everyone has his/her own trauma. I have food, a home, people who love me, but I remember not having a home, not having enough money for food, feeling all alone in the world and none of those things compare to the intangible fear that plagues me now. I have had my share of easy to relate to trauma, but it is this hard to describe and impossible to see trauma that scares me the most. How do you fight what you cannot see?


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