Last night was hell. The last week has been hell. I've been consumed by anxiety, I've had horrible panic attacks which have kept me up at night and made me feel horrible. At least, I assume they are panic attacks. I've had all the classic symptoms but something else just seems off. Having suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for awhile now, I'm pretty good at knowing when I am having one. But, the past week it's been scary because I don't know.
I started not feeling well last week, thought it was my normal ear rocks from being dizzy, then things progressed into feeling unwell, coughing started, lightheadedness started, shortness of breath started, I just didn't feel well. Now, knowing that I usually just have anxiety attacks and that when I go to anyplace other than the doctors, they just waive it off as anxiety, I waited a few days before going to see a doctor.
I decided going to urgent care would probably be the best idea because chest pains, shortness of breath etc, would most likely warrant a few tests. Well, I was wrong. The doctor came in, took a look over me, looked ay my throat and said, your throat is red, you have something viral. He then walked out of the room and said I was discharged. I was a bit flabbergasted at the sudden and quick diagnosis, without listening to my complaints. Though I understand I do probably have a viral infection going on, it wouldn't explain some of the other symptoms I was having.
I left with no other choice, but was not happy with the answer. I still felt there was something else so the next day I headed to the best doctor I know who happens to be at a walk in clinic. He listened to me, he really truly listened to me and he does everytime I go in, or everytime I bring Bee in. He is such a great doctor because he listens. He checked me over and seconded the red throat but also mentioned that my other symptoms pointed to something else. A viral infection would not cause heart palpitations, shortness of breath, quick heart rate etc. I was honest and told him I had anxiety and that I do get panic attacks butt he great thing is, he didnt just then dismiss it as anxiety. He again, listened to me and told me why he didnt think it was that. He told me why he thinks there is something else going on so after all of that, he ordered some pretty extensive testing. I've done 2 of 3. His main concern is my heart. I told him I thought it may be but I'm younger, generally healthy and have no family history. He said it didnt necessarily mean I couldnt have heart issues and after learning about the boys and knowing I have ptsd and anxiety, stress can cause heart problems in anyone, regardless of age or health. So I anxiously await my day at the cardiologist but I am very grateful to have a doctor who truly listens, who doesnt just knock it down to a cold or anxiety.
He said it would be better to get everything checked out because he feels it's not related. Though we both agreed that having anxiety can further the symptoms as anxiety gets into a bad cycle. You start to feel unwell, which makes you worry more, causing more symptoms, causing more stress. It's a horrible cycle to be in and one that is hard to break. Last night was my breaking point and I had a horrible panic attack. I had trouble falling asleep (I have lately) and think I may have fallen asleep for a few moments before I woke up in utter panic. Having a panic attack, having an anxiety attack is the all consuming beast. It gets into every pore in your body and takes over. You lose control. You struggle through every second of the day. No matter how much I tell myself its probably nothing serious and even if it is, I'm being tested, I can't get out of the attacks. None of my grounding, none of my self care, none of of self talk works in moments that are so intense I literally feel like I'm dying.
But then I get some relief. My mind decides it can calm the fuck down and take a few hours to just be still before the next wave hits. Its in those calm moments that I do everything to my ability to make sure the next wave isn't as intense and ultimately, get to a point where it doesn't happen. But it takes time and it sure doesn't help when a doctor tells you he thinks you may have arrhythmia because then, even though most arrhythmia's aren't fatal (though some can be) all you can think about is the fact that you have the most fatal kind and every second longer you have to wait to see the cardiologist is a risk to your life. Of course, that is most likely NOT the case and the doctor did say he only thought it may be heart related, but it could be something else which is why he ordered more tests of which he will have the results of those today or tomorrow and you can rest easier...ha ha ha, rest easier, nope. Not until everything is checked out and you get the clear that your heart is perfectly fine, that all the stress over the last 5 years has not really affected your heart and you are good to go and that you really just had a viral infection coupled with some severe panic attacks. It all makes sense, its logical and realistic, but to a person with anxiety and ptsd, its always the worst case scenario. I'm just thankful my husband was able to talk me through it last night, sometimes voicing your fears during an attack can really alleviate the level of the attack.
So here is to many more days and night of stress until I know what is going on or start to feel better. I'm afraid to sleep, sleeping during the day may be the only option, all the while, still trying to carry on with life while trying to balance rest and relaxation. It's a big burly beast inside me, perhaps I shall draw him and give him a name. Maybe burly, burly the beast. He consumes me at moments, he takes over my self, he takes over my life and I lose control. Control of being calm, control of being coherent, control of handling things, control of reality and logic, control of my physical body. Many may not know but anxiety is very much a mind body connection as is ptsd. My body reacts in horrible ways. The exhaustion, the pain, the worry, the nausea, the headaches, the lightheadedness, the feeling of not being able to breathe, the general feeling of waiting for the next thing to go wrong. It's horrible, it's a horrible thing to live with and for those who don't suffer, getting over it is not possible. Saying we are being silly because of an illogical thought just makes it worse. When you are constantly made fun of by medical professionals who don't truly listen to you, it says a lot about our health care system. I'm thankful to have found a doctor who gets me, gets where I'm coming from, who understands I have anxiety and yes that anxiety can cause a lot of symptoms but that sometimes there is more and it should be investigated. Whew.....this attack has been a doozie! But perhaps, thanks to my doctor, I will find out there is indeed more and if not, maybe it's a sign I need to go back on medication.