I’ve had panic attacks and anxiety my entire life. I understand that it gets better… it gets worse… it feels okay… then you feel like you’re dying and its just kind of trying to figure out how to ride the rollercoaster. It really sucks actually. I’m tired of it truthfully, but it never stops and I just have to keep on.
At my last therapy appointment I spoke very highly of Prozac, credited it to making me feel like a new person. I felt like I could enjoy the moment, interact with my kids a little better, interact with others in general a little better. It felt like it took the edge off and I needed that. My therapist was so happy to hear that I was getting some relief. When I was telling her about how great I felt I knew that I was jinxing myself… but I didn’t want to think that way. I just wanted that moment. I needed that moment. Even if I knew it would be gone soon enough.
Not to get into too much detail …but something set me off and it was over. The panic attacks came and they were intense. They hurt. I felt crazy. I went to the ER. I called my doctor a million times. I asked the same question 8 different ways, 30 different times trying to find some sort of reassurance about what I was stressing about. My kids saw me run around with my head somewhere else completely. They saw me pacing the floor and although I was with them physically– mentally, I was a million miles away…
In a way I felt manic. I couldn’t stop crying. I felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I couldn’t eat.. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t do anything. I only felt okay when I was driving somewhere. I didn’t want to sit still… I wanted to run away. I needed to be somewhere else. My body knew it.
When I did finally get some sleep I would dream horrible things. My dreams are rehearsals for real life dangers and often times I can’t even escape in them. This month I’ve had crazy dreams but perhaps the craziest of them all… was a dream that was wonderful. It was so out of the norm for me. It was so short but it meant everything.
In the dream I was at the beach. I had a bikini on and I didn’t care how I looked in it. I was sitting…staring at the ocean with the sun on my back. The sun was warm but it wasn’t burning me. It was perfect. I could feel it and I didn’t worry about melanoma or …if I was getting sunburned…or if I even had sunscreen on. I just knew that in the moment I felt really happy and relaxed and well. More importantly- I was IN the moment. I was actually present in a moment… even if it was in a dream.
I thought about this dream throughout the week. I thought about it when things felt like they were becoming too much. When I was losing my mind … the dream was always there. It gave me a few seconds of calm in a really bad storm of emotions.
In therapy last week I cried for a solid hour. I spoke about my fears and the rollercoaster of my emotions. I spoke about the fact that my kids are seeing their mother in such turmoil and how I hate that I’m doing this to them even when I’m trying SO hard not to. I told my therapist that I was just ..tired. I’m so exhausted. Thinking 3289 thoughts at once takes so much out of you. Having 2 kids takes so much out of you. Working part time and being a mom full time takes a lot out of you. I’m just… tired. I vented and I wept and I finally just felt paralyzed. I couldn’t move anymore. I just wanted to sit there until something changed.. anything. I didn’t even want to blink. Everything hurt.
And then… there was the dream. Before I knew it I was telling my therapist about the dream. I had no idea WHY I was telling her about this dream that I hadn’t told anyone about …but there I was …explaining it in such vivid detail. My crying stopped, I felt warm. I felt the warmth of the sun in me when telling her about this dream. I needed this moment.
I looked up to find my therapist crying. She had chills. She said something I will probably NEVER forget. She said, “Catherine… that is the glimmer. That is the glimmer of hope.” She explained that my body, deep inside… knows what I need. It knows how to heal itself. It knows how to carry on. It knows exactly what I need to do to feel better and have a fulfilling life. My anxiety is just beating the hell out of it.
I realized that there is a threshold with pain, fear, anxiety. Everything has felt completely out of control and mostly because I feel like I can control everything and realizing that I can’t …kills me. I couldn’t control this dream, or any other dream that I have but somewhere deep inside me… I was given a gift from myself. I was given that glimmer. That hope. I was being reminded that there is a way to feel something other than pain. Maybe it lives inside of me. I just have to find it.