It's been a very long time since I've posted here. I've had several indiscretions with this dear blog and set out to create other spaces on the interwebs, but alas I'm back here and happy to be back. :)
I've been going through some "stuff", as my friends and family know, and I've spent some time thinking about the best way to process all of this and I decided that I just want to be able to share it with anyone who might find it useful.
This is nothing dramatic to most. I haven't lost a child. I haven't gone through a divorce. My family is, for the most part, healthy, but just like many people I have unpacked baggage that I've carried with me for many years and I'm just ready to unpack it. I'm ready to declutter and be free of the bullshit that isn't serving me. Maybe it's a mid-life crisis. I don't care. I need to be done with it, learn from it, and move on.
On the eve of my last birthday, I ended up in the Emergency Room. For the week prior, I was feeling "off" and shaky. I was having anxiety attacks, heart palpitations, fits of dizziness, and general unease.
I started off the night feeling calm and decided to go to bed early. I generally spend my birthday shopping, lunching, movie-going, or whatever I feel like doing. About an hour after settling into bed, I sat up straight with a feeling of panic. My left leg was feeling just like it does before I get a Charley Horse. I shook it off and settled back down. Then my arm started. The inner turmoil of someone who suffers from anxiety set in.
"Oh my God! What is happening? Am I dying?", I asked myself.
I tried to talk myself out of these crazy thoughts, but then my "rational" mind piped up.
"You know.... You aren't the healthiest person in the world. You're overweight, you smoke, you probably drink too much. Maybe you're having a stroke."
That's all it took. My mind was off. I spent the next hour obsessively thinking about dying.
I eventually woke my husband up and told him that he had to take me to the ER. He tried to talk me into reason. It didn't work. I mean, what if he was wrong? What if it wasn't just an anxiety attack? What if I was really having a pulmonary event? I couldn't take the chance.
That was the longest car ride of my life. As we drove, the paresthesia traveled up from my left leg, to my arm to the side of my face. I was convinced I was having a stroke and was going to die. I tried to breathe. All the while, I had my fingers glued to the artery on my neck. I could barely feel my pulse which sent me into a tailspin. I knew I was dying.
As we got closer to the hospital, we came upon a road closure and I started to feel as if someone had their hands around my throat, choking me. This would surely be the death of me. My husband was trying to reason with me, speaking calmly, and telling me that we would be there soon and that I would be okay. I made a promise to him, to me, and to God... If I make it through this, I'm going to change my life. This is a wake-up call.
That 20-minute drive seemed to take an eternity, but we finally arrived at the hospital. Due to my symptoms, I was whisked away into the ER where they hooked me up to lots of machines. They did bloodwork, an EKG, a CT scan, among other things.
They did find that my blood pressure was a little too high (even after the horse-pill Ativan that I was given), but other than that? I was "fine".
It was a dramatic way to spend my birthday, but my mother, in her infinite hilarity stated, "Well, you spent your first birthday in the hospital..."
I spent the next few weeks battling the anxiety. I had a few tense discussions with my primary doctor and his suggestions of psychotherapy, medication, life changes, etc. It took me a couple months to fully embrace change, but eventually the underlying message in my brain was that I had a second chance and I promised to change my life and that's what I decided to do.
Since that crazy night four months ago, I've made some incredible discoveries and I want to share them. They are not earth-shattering ideas, but there are some amazing things that I've discovered and am still discovering and I want to share them.
I hope you're all doing well! I don't share this story to garner any sympathy. We all go through our own shit, but not everyone shares and that's okay. I just feel compelled to share my journey.