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Archive for the ‘Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks and OCD’ Category

We all have one. A day. The day. The day where something in our lives changed drastically forever. For me, May 14, 2005 was that day.

The morning started off with the usual routine. I took my thyroid medication for my Hypo-thyroidism. Then I took a new pill, 40mgs of Celexa. I had been having severe anxiety issues and had asked my new doctor if I could get back onto an anti-depressant. After an evaluation she agreed that I ought to be on one. So I began my treatment. And after that, the details become so very clear.

It was approximately 8:00 a.m. when I took the Celexa.

Exactly 2/12 hours later at 10:30 a.m. as I sat on the couch watching Rolie Polie Olie with my kids I began to feel a little nauseated. I went back to the bathroom thinking I would throw up but then the wave dissipated. I sat back onto the couch when another wave hit, this one twice as strong and with it came the feeling that I was losing consciousness. Suddenly I felt something was very wrong.
My arms were pulsing with warmth. Warmth shot from my head down to my toes. Every muscle in my body began quivering. I dialed my husband to tell him to come home. He could tell I sounded panicked and tried to talk me through what I was feeling. As I started talking to him my body calmed down slightly but towards the end of our conversation that jolting nausea accompanied by struggling to keep conscious surfaced. I told him I was passing out. Then I screamed into the phone that I was dying. I was sure if I lost consciousness I would be dead.

After I hung up the phone I found myself shaking violently again. I knelt down on the floor desperately trying to retch. But I couldn’t. My children were nearby asking me what was wrong. I just told them to watch the TV.

The shaking and zinging feelings shooting from my head and into my arms got worse and worse. I couldn’t even stand. With a prayer on my lips I crawled into the hallway until I couldn’t crawl anymore and curled up next to the bathroom. I couldn’t stop the trembling that had consumed my body. I felt so sick but I couldn’t throw up. My kids came into the hallway and hovered near me and I told them how much I loved them. Then I prayed that my husband would get home soon enough after I had died that they wouldn’t get into any major trouble running around the house on their own.

To be continued…

P.S. I have to continue it. I can’t write anymore. I thought I had worked up the courage to share this story but I’m actually shaking as I relive it.

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I heard this while listening to NPR tonight. And though the I’ve heard similar messages throughout my life, it truly touched my heart. And I felt hope concerning future periods of darkness, renew.

Words and music – Pete Morton
Listen To It

LYRICS
The beginning is now and will always be
You say you lost your chance, then fate brought you defeat
but that means nothing, you look so sad
You’ve been listening to those who say you missed your chance

There’s another train, there always is
Maybe the next one is yours
Get up and climb aboard another train

You feel you’re done there’s no such thing
although you’re standing on your own your own breath is king
The beginning is now don’t turn around
Regrets of bad mistakes will only drain you

There’s another train, there always is
Maybe the next one is yours
Get up and climb aboard another train

We crawl in the dark sometimes and think too much
Then we fill our heads with crazy things that only break our hearts
and I know you’ve seen what the earth can do
When it’s dragging down another load of worrisome fools

There’s another train, there always is
Maybe the next one is yours
Get up and climb aboard another train

I know it’s hard when you feel confused
You can crown yourself with fear now you feel you cannot move
You’re building worlds that don’t exist
Imagination plays the worst tricks

There’s another train, there always is
Maybe the next one is yours
Get up and climb aboard another train
There always is
Maybe the next one is yours
Get up and climb aboard another train

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The following information is presented according to Summer. I am not a physician, nor do I claim to have any answers. Always seek the advice of a medical professional if you think you are struggling with any ailments

A panic attack is defined as the abrupt onset of intense fear that reaches a peak within a few minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

* a feeling of imminent danger or doom
* the need to escape
* heart palpitations
* sweating
* trembling
* shortness of breath or
a smothering feeling
* a feeling of choking
* chest pain or discomfort
* nausea or abdominal discomfort
* dizziness or lightheadedness
* a sense of things being unreal, depersonalization (like an out of body experience)
* a fear of losing control or “going crazy”
* a fear of dying
* tingling sensation
* chills or heat flush

Panic attacks often occur unexpectedly, sometimes even during sleep. I’ve had this happen.

There are two aspects of a panic attack. The physical and the emotional. Either one can show up first or they can show up together. Usually, if the physical symptoms present first, then I can keep myself emotionally under control. I can realize that my body is having a panic attack or “fight or flight” response, and therefore not get, well, panicked that is something is horribly wrong. That doesn’t always mean I can stop the physical symptoms right away, but I won’t aggravate them further with fear about what could be happening.

When the emotional symptoms present first, it’s a lot harder for me to realize I’m having a panic attack, therefore easier to panic and swirl into a downward spiral of negative thoughts.

I had a beast of a panic attack Wednesday evening, the likes of which I haven’t had for about 18 months. I honestly think it was some depressing thoughts that triggered it this time, due to the book I had just finished, The Giver. I’ve never read that book before and as it unfolded I became more and more horrified at the society that was represented and the things people were doing. I got waaaay to into it you might say and put it down feeling very depressed.

Depressing thought led to depressing thought and somehow I found myself scrutinizing my own behavior, focusing on every negative aspect of my mothering and suddenly things became very wrong. I began crying uncontrollably and feeling an awful sense of doom. I felt intensely depressed and intensely afraid that I would do something to myself because of it. I called a friend to get some perspective but she (well meaning though she was) brought up some things that made me more terrified of what could happen because of the way I was feeling. I was also terrified that I would feel that way forever, become a basket case and not be able to be there for my family. My mind raced through every possible reason why I might be feeling this way so strongly and so suddenly. Not coming up with any answers made me panic even more.

I hung up and sat at the dinner table, sobbing and gasping for breath. That’s when I realized I was shaking badly. And suddenly I knew what was happening. With the knowledge came the will to stop the sobbing, and breath. Slowly, terrorizing warmth spread through my body, but with that I knew, came the peak of the attack. And it began fading away. Leaving me to wonder, why I had been such a mess in the first place.

When you’re in the middle of a panic attack, it is nearly impossible to see clearly, to think clearly, to realize the despair you feel won’t plague you the rest of your life.

These feelings were even harder for me, because at one time a few years ago, despair and panic attacks did plague me for weeks. My only respite was sleep, my only focus, survival. Somehow I got through. But I pray to God I never have to go through weeks of hell again.

And if I’m not visiting all of you or posting as much on here I hope you’ll understand. I think I need to up my meds a bit as this wasn’t the first sign of depression and anxiety issues returning.

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At least two. If you’re me anyway.

See, I’ve been hit with a double whammy in life:

1. I am a woman
2. I am a woman who deals with depression, anxiety and OCD.

As if being a woman wasn’t hard enough. Double, nay, triple those emotions and mood swings and that’s what I’ve got to deal with. It’s a miracle I still know my own mind even half the time. The other half of the time is when I get another’s perspective. Like today.

Today Count Dooku is off from school. In the mid-morning, like usual, I tried to get Angel girl to nap. She refused to go to sleep on her own. Cue the boob. As she sucked, Angel girl began falling asleep so I transferred her to her crib. She woke up during the transfer and screamed in her crib for 20 minutes, refusing to go back to sleep. So I brought her out and tried again. This time the transfer was successful. Hurray! I knew that she would nap for precisely two hours if undisturbed, so I explained to her brothers not to go in the hallway and to keep their voices down. From there I planned out my two hours. I would wash dishes for the first half and exercise for the latter half.

The dishes only took 30 minutes to hand wash and just as I was sweeping up the kitchen, thinking of the wonderful waist trimming exercise ahead of me, Count Dooku raced by the kitchen revving his hot wheels monster truck at top speed down the hallway. It made a horribly loud roar. I half shouted at him, trying to keep it quiet, to get out of the hallway. A moment later the dreaded baby wail sounded over the baby monitor.

In an instant I was angry. Very angry. I shouted at Count Dooku to go to his room. I think sometimes sending them away in that moment of intense anger is more for the benefit of the child than the parent. I think I yelled/growled at the top of my lungs in frustration as the babies cries got louder and at that moment a break down became imminent. All the frustrations of the week, some held in for even longer came tumbling out in tears and possibly a throwing of the broom onto the floor.

Luckily, I’ve been through enough break downs to know I needed a different perspective. Or maybe I should say unluckily. In any case, it was my poor husband who had to try to make sense of the garbled words I was sobbing into the phone. He reminded me that even he has forgotten about the sleeping baby before and barged into the room making a racket. So my heart was softened toward our 6 year old when I was reminded that sometimes my expectations for his behavior and memory are a little high. Hubby couldn’t speak long, so then it was off to call the momma.

The momma always has words of wisdom and help. And an uncanny ability to draw out the real why behind the break down. She also the ability to draw out the fact that I photo shopped my double chin out of a picture I recently posted on my family blog. But that made me feel sheepish and brought laughter to the tears.

I won’t go into the why of my breakdown. Just that I figured it out, and that’s a start to making sure it doesn’t happen again. At least for the same reasons. Because who am I kidding saying I’ll never break down in sobs or frustration again. It comes with being a woman. But I’ll always find a resolution when I look outside of the emotions of the moment and the blinding tears to someone with a different perspective, who can help make mine clear again.

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Before delving into the contents of this post, you must read this one.

Finished?

Ok, here goes. I can’t say the beast within has come out recently, but it’s been trying. I think we all go through stages of being our nastier selves. Weeks, sometimes months pass where I plod along feeling snippety, suspicious and arrogant toward the human population and life in general. It’s at these times that I manage to be both arrogant and self loathing at the same time, because every snide thought or stupid thing the angry me thinks or does is met with, “You horrible person you” by the nice me I like to think I really am.

And just to make you feel better Kimberly, and anyone else to whom this might apply, I will tell you the story of “The Cookies”.

Once long ago, almost 7 years ago to be precise (when I could still eat chocolate) I was baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I had just purchased a new non-stick baking sheet, and it is this, singular fact, that you must remember, that you must keep at the forefront of your thoughts, or nothing that follows will seem justifiable (nod to Dickens). Which it isn’t actually justifiable anyway.

I pulled my cookies from the oven. They looked lovely, they smelled lovely and as soon as I let them cool a bit I was prepared to devour many of them warm with a glass of cold milk. Ten or so minutes passed and upon procuring a spatula I attempted to remove a cookie from the sheet. It. Did. Not. Budge.

I tried another cookie and then another. They we’re clearly not burnt or in any manner overcooked but they were not coming off of my NEW non-stick cookie sheet. So out came a butter knife and I tried to saw gently underneath the edges, hoping that would loosen things up. It did not. I tried another and another.

All this while, I felt my blood heating. The fury was building and with the try of the eighth cookie on the sheet the beast consumed me.

The butter knife was no longer gently trying to pry the cookies from the sheet. It was trying to destroy them! Maniacal laughter plays in my head as think back to the moment I tore the cookies to shreds, screaming incoherently at them. I couldn’t even pry all the pieces off in a blind rage they were that stuck. I threw the pan in the kitchen sink, mangled cookie bits flying everywhere. Then I picked up a handful of those mangled pieces and stuffed them into my mouth, trying to prevent the waterworks from starting. But came they did and I sobbed and choked on cookies and salty tears.

Not my finest moment. I had only been married 7 months and my husband witnessed the whole thing. I was also 3 months pregnant with my first child at the time. It is true that most of my psycho rampage stories begin with, “I was pregnant…”

But, I relay my story to this end: You are not alone. Not in your desire to hurt the thing that hurt you first, nor in your desire to be stronger than the anger welling up within you. Succumbing to that anger hurts the most in the end. All the more motivation to overcome it next time. Because as humans, there will always be a next time.

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So I figured I should post something in between all the recipes I’m throwing at you.

Truth is, I haven’t felt much like it though. The OCD has been especially ugly lately. With that comes panic attacks and depression. In all, life just feels down for me at the moment. Of course I’m trying to see the positive in all situations and in myself. But I feel ugly inside and out and it’s at these times that I’m especially grateful for my children. When they look at me with complete trust and love, it gives me hope that there really is something in me worth loving. That I’m not the bad person I feel like I am due to this hellish illness.

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Here in my corner of the world, Autumn takes it’s time in settling. The color of the leaves changed noticeably only a week ago. And today, as our family drove to a friends house for some college football and food, I saw that most of them had dropped overnight. To me, the falling of the leaves, is the point of no return. No more warm days, no more outings without at least a jacket, no more soft smooth hands.

Winter, sadly, is upon me again. Christmas, it’s only bright point, will all too soon be a distant memory. January, February and March soon to come will draaaaaaag on and on.

Sorry. It’s just one of those days.

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