I hope this blog makes sense, you see my mind is running in high gear the last several days. Just one of the many symptoms I get when I have a panic/anxiety flare up.
I was diagnosed in February 2007 with anxiety, panic and post traumatic stress disorder. It has been over a year since I last had a panic attack. In my naivety I thought that since it had been so long, I have been in therapy, and I have my "basket of tools", that I would always be able to fend them off quickly and without medication. That is not true. Some I can and some will get the best of me but alas, only for a short time. I will have panic and anxiety the rest of my life. But that does not mean I have to live in fear and have a woe is me attitude. This last episode has shown me how well I can read my body and how quickly I can get help.
I know my trigger points and I do my best to stay away from them. Sometimes I have no control over my trigger points though. I was recently in a situation that I had no control over...my son is sick. Very sick. For over three weeks he has battled nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration. He was admitted into the hospital for an overnight stay because of dehydration and his blood pressure dropped.
The doctors suspect Giardia. He may have picked this up while playing in a local river at a day camp, Of course there is also a chance it is a (nasty) virus or something completely different and unexpected. They decided to treat him as if he has Giardia with a strong antibiotic. Giarida is hard to diagnosis but because all of his symptoms lined up the doctors felt it would be best go ahead and treat. After seven days of antibiotic, he showed slight improvements but still nausea and diarrhea have plagued him.
My husband and I have been doing everything we can possibly do to take care of him, cheer him up, and most of all pray for him. I could feel myself teetering on the verge of a panic attack so I made sure to keep myself hydrated, I ate healthy, I went for walks, I prayed, I journaled, I kept peppermints and ginger tea close by at all times. I tried to remember my breathing exercises. All of the sudden I began to feel extreme nausea (*my panic/anxiety always manifests itself with nausea first), then rapid heart beat, heat waves, a sick panicky feeling. I checked my drawer where I kept my medication. It was expired! I panicked even more! I kept trying to use the tools listed above but nothing was working it was only getting worse. It was Friday July 3rd and I knew the likelihood of connecting with my doctor was going to be slim. Once my symptoms cross this point I have never been able to calm down without taking medication. The symptoms continued for hours and by God's grace I was able to get an appointment with my general practitioner who was able to identify my symptoms and gave me a small prescription and within 20 minutes of taking the medication I was feeling better and my symptoms began to leave me. WHEW!
Once I connected with my psychiatrist she told me it was normal for me to have a panic attack considering the situation with my son's lingering symptoms and health concerns. She said it is as simple as a "re-set". She used the example of how sometimes when you plug in your hair dryer and it doesn't work you need to press the re-set button and then it works. Well, that is what happened with me. I needed to hit my re-set button. I set an appointment with her and have continued to reach into my "basket of tools" as needed. I was scared that I was going to go backwards in all of my success and healing I have had with PTSD, panic and anxiety, but as my wise husband reminded me it will never be like it was in the beginning because we did not know what was going on, I did not have the tools, or if needed medications, to work through the panic/anxiety.
I want to encourage anyone who has anxiety, panic or PTSD that there may come a time when you need to hit your re-set button and if you do its ok. You are not going backwards. I also know that God never left me during that moment and God will never leave you either!