Monday, August 3, 2009

Panic

I was sixteen when I was diagnosed with a panic disorder and a slight case of agoraphobia. Over the last thirteen years, I have had fabulous times, down right tough times, and a whole range of emotions. There have been times when I was thankful for the anxiety because it allowed me to appreciate the good times even more. I could enjoy those little bits and pieces of life that most people just pass by because I knew what it was like to have that taken away. There have been times when I was full of hate because I could not just go to the movies or go to a restaurant like everyone else. There are times when I feel guilty because I worry so much about how my problem affects others, especially my husband.

But times like this last week, I am just full of anger. I am angry at myself, a higher power for cursing me with this panic, and other people for not understanding.

It all started with being a little overwhelmed. Papers were piling up on my desk, which is not that stressful in itself, but since the company I work was bought out, there is a lot more to consider. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and twin nephews were visiting from Seattle, which I was so excited about, but it meant a lot of going out. I can manage some restaurants, etc, but places with a lot of people bother me. The more I feel like I can't leave a situation, such as a shopping trip, the more trapped I feel and therefore more anxious. Luckily the kids were a great distraction and really tired me out.

The kicker was Simba's vet appointment today. It was one of those situations you know you probably should not put yourself in, but you just have to. Simba had a lump/cyst that needed to be checked out and I was the only who could take him. I was in what I call hyper drive all morning. I feel like I am moving in warp speed but not going anywhere. My mind keeps racing, going over what needs to be done. My heart is beating out of my chest.

We get out the door and to the vet's office. The waiting room was fine, but then we get into the exam room. Of course we have to wait quite a while and Simba was starting to get nervous and whiny. I began to get really warm and my heart started racing. I pulled out a cold water bottle I had in my purse and held it to my face. The cold helps calm me down in some situations and it is always a go to. But it was getting so hot and my stomach was starting to turn. I wanted to run out of that office so badly. I wanted to tell them to bill me and forget the whole thing, but what if there really was something wrong with Simba? My hands and arms began to go numb and my mind became fuzzy just like that feeling you have before passing out.

I finally opened the door and tried to get someone's attention. They apologized for the air conditioner not working because I obviously looked awful and sweaty. This was when I had to tell them what I was going through. Normally I do not have a problem telling people I have a panic disorder, etc., but I do not usually have to do it in the middle of a panic attack. They just kind of looked at me for a minute and then told me the vet would be right with us. It was obvious that they did not understand, but were trying to accommodate me. The doctor came out to get Simba and luckily he was very quick about everything. And of course Simba was fine. The lump is just a lipoma, which is really just a fatty cyst. I pay the bill and am finally able to run away.

I get home and have to deal with the aftermath of the panic attack. My stomach was sick, my head killing me, and I was completely exhausted. I canceled my lunch date and went to sleep.

Now I am just feeling awful. I am angry with myself for almost not being able to make it through the appointment and for having a panic attack. I am also a little angry with the people there even though it is completely ridiculous. Approximately 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety and 6 million suffer from panic. That is a lot of people, but most people you run into do not know anything about anxiety disorders. People think you are being too sensitive or over dramatic. But what I really hate is when people put the word crazy out there. They said that person with a panic disorder is crazy, that person with OCD is crazy, or even the person with manic depression is crazy. But you want to know something? We are not crazy and we did not ask for this. It is a biological condition; it is in our genes. I think the only crazy thing about any of it is not getting help or treatment so that you can live your life.

Enough ranting and enough anger. It is time to move on and keep trying to enjoy life!

1 comment:

Eva said...

Morgan, you looked great when we visited. You didn't seem you were going through something that bad at all. I am sorry that you are going through this and that I am not there to help you out. Nonetheless, you gave us company that will never be forgotten; we really had great time. The kids really love you so much, and we do too!