Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The sky is falling, the sun won't come up and other anxiety ridden thoughts that plague you

Oh hello anxiety attack. It's so nice of you to pay your visit and wreak your havoc upon my much needed few hours of sleep. Why must you hit at the most inopportune times? Why must you twist my stomach into knots and leave me gasping for air? What did I do? What is wrong with me?

Please tell me you've been here?

Deep breath, in, out, count to five. Get up, walk around, find something funny to watch or read, peer at the video monitor for the seemingly 500th time. Wait and pray that the sky won't fall tonight, that the world won't end, that your fears of everyone simultaneously getting sick won't come true. Talking yourself down until you realize that even if the latter did happen, the sun would come up the next day and life would continue on. Oh anxiety, you cruel little monster who makes such little things into such insurmountable mountains.

This was my constant and my routine for the better part of the last seven years. It started shortly after Little Miss M's first seizure. Suddenly every day wasn't routine or my normal every day anymore. The fears started to control me. I couldn't sleep or eat or do much of anything except care for my children without paralyzing fear of losing them taking over me.

And then, one day this year I had a wake-up call. Little Miss M has always showed a tendency toward anxiety, but it was growing. She was washing and Purelling her hands every five minutes, she was nervous about everything and she was just so worried. I saw myself looking in a mirror to a miniature version of myself, and I didn't like it. I had known for a while that I needed help, that this was beyond my control and I needed to do something. I had tried talk therapy years ago, but I'm really good at talking and it wasn't helping. I reached out to a doctor and I asked for something mild to take the edge off.

Like my daughter, I am very medication sensitive, but my quality of life was disappearing and I needed to grab hold before the world truly spun out of control. I started a daily medication, at a low dose, about a month ago. It's been three weeks since my last full blown anxiety attack. I find myself laughing more, being silly more, participating in my life instead of watching it and waiting for another shoe to drop.

I know there are a million treatments out there. I know this treatment may not work forever, but I so wish I had asked for help years ago before letting things get so hard. I truly felt like I was acting a part in my own life instead of just being in it and now, I am truly there -- an actual active participant. Little Miss M has even calmed down with the Purell and seems able to participate in activities a little more readily.

We'll see how it all goes, but my message is -- ask for help. You are not weak, you are not broken. You are human and sometimes, we the caregivers, need to remember to take care of ourselves as well as we take care of our charges.

Amanda is grabbing anxiety by the throat and attempting to choke the life out of it, and today she is winning that fight.

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