Thursday February 9th 9:55am
After I got out of the shower I felt a weird sensation in the back of my leg. That went away within a minute or so, but then I started feeling strange aches throughout the rest of my body in various places lasting only very brief moments. First in my left hand, then in my right foot, then my back..there seemed to be no pattern or reason. The pains were slight, just like a quick dull ache. But as they happened, I began to focus on my body and how I was feeling. The more I thought (worried) about these feelings, I also started to notice difficulty breathing and tightness in my throat and chest. My tummy also started to feel upset. I then started that same obsessing I used to get about the baby being left alone if something were to happen to me and I was not able to call 911 in time. The more I worried about this, the worse the physical symptoms felt. I did read an article last night that I knew I should have stayed clear from…it was about young women and strokes/heart attacks. So, of course, as usual, this is what I was fearing. Blood clots of any kind – heart, abdominal, head, lung – are my biggest fear. I put Cassidy in her crib hoping she will nap as it is near her naptime. At least that way, she will be safe if I were to pass out, or God forbid, die. I do realize that the more I start to get anxious and worry about my physical sensations and aches, the stronger they get. I realize that the anxiety causes a Physical and chemical reaction in my body that causes my muscles to tense which creates the tightness in my throat and chest. Also, I think that I unintentionally and unknowingly hold my breath when I become anxious and this is what causes the difficulty in breathing. I need to remember that I am basically a healthy person and have no rational reason to believe that I am in any life threatening danger. I also need to realize that when it is my time to die, I will have no control over that and I need to be at peace with that fact. I have taken all the rational, necessary steps to take any control I can – live a reasonably healthy life and educate myself on the possible dangers. Aside from that, there is truly nothing more I can do. I need to be okay with that lack of control and the truly unknown. I am a very sensitive person, both emotionally and physically. I feel a lot of aches, pains, and sensations that typically people would not even notice. Having the heart condition makes it more noticeable as I can feel arrythmias – but I must remember that they will not kill me. I have to remember that I have this habit of catasrophizing everything I feel and automatically assume I am in danger. As real and as scary as these feelings are, I must remember this habit because the older I get, the more aches I seem to get. As I have been sitting her writing for the past 30 minutes, my breathing has been normal, heart rate normal, and I do feel more relaxed. Though journaling does help a great deal, I need to work more on the CBT techniques so I can stop the obsessive thinking before it even reaches the point of even these ‘mini’ attacks.
End of entry.
Thanks to the medication I am on and my wonderful therapist, I have been basically anxiety free for months. But I must realize that I have a long way to go before I can consider myself ‘cured’. Perhaps there is no cure and it is just a matter of dealing with a life with relapses and remissions. For years I cried, why me. But I must remember that having to deal with this has also given me many opportunities I would otherwise not have. I have a greater understanding and compassion for those who have conditions many do not comprehend in the slightest. I have the opportunity to help others who are just learning about how to deal with anxiety/panic. I have the opportunity to look at this extra sensitivity as a gift in many ways. I won’t get in to all that now, but it has given me some power I would otherwise not have – I am not only sensitive to myself and my own body – but can actually empathize more than I think most people can on many different levels. I have also had the opportunity to meet some people that bring a lot to my life. Especially my therapist who helps me in ways I wasn’t even searching for.
It is unrealistic and even unfair to expect someone who has never had to deal with an anxiety disorder to even remotely understand what it is like to live with. But I think it is important to discuss these things so that not only can the people who suffer gain some skills and commrodary, but so that those who do not understand can at least begin to gain some insight.