Friday, October 07, 2011

My Body is a Temple of Doom

Every couple of years I go through the most annoying phase where I have strange, debilitating panic attacks. These are absolute bitches, causing me to question my health and my sanity, causing me embarrassing moments in public, and causing me to become a hermit because I never fucking know when it's going to hit or why.

These are of a different calibre than the others, as they start with me having difficulty swallowing. Being an old bitch, I've got a zillion health problems that mostly involve my digestive system, so I initially thought it was a reflux problem. But I have no idea really, and neither does the doctor. So far.

While waiting to undergo a battery of tests, the doctor has me going for Biofeedback (she also gave me a sexy little prescription for Xanax that I have yet to fill - I know, I know, what am I waiting for?) I had never really heard of Biofeedback or at least never really paid attention to it, so I didn't really know what to expect. I spent the day before the appointment in a total state of panic (what else?) imagining myself being strapped to all sorts of electrodes that were going to record my brainwaves and good god what if my brain waves were broken?

Thankfully, none of that actually happened, in fact, it was a very nice session where we chatted about anxiety in general and she taught me how to abdominal breathe when I felt an attack coming on. She even told me that difficulty swallowing was a big anxiety symptom and that I was not alone in feeling that way. So..yay for me.

Only towards the end of the session did the question of possible causes for said anxiety come up. I thought about it for a second and I honestly said I couldn't think of any. Until I started thinking of many:

My boyfriend's father was diagnosed with stage four cancer last year
My next door neighbor was murdered and I heard the whole thing
I watched my friend's cat die in her arms as we were on our way to the animal hospital
I walked into another good friend's apartment to feed her cat and find that cat dead on the floor
A good friend got (and fought) cancer
Then another friend got cancer
My close friend's parents died suddenly, one after the other, with no warning, leaving her an orphan
My cousin's husband died in a plane crash
I am going to be unemployed again in a month and a half
My future = uncertain

So, thanks to biofeedback, I was just able to give you the summary of my last year. 


Ms. Pants said...

I get the panics in stages too. I haven't had a full blown attack in a long while--I generally get them during busy season when it's least convenient. I totally sympathize.

And I get the swallowing thing too--it then turns into the "holyfuckican'tbreathe" thing. Xanax will help. (And it's great with a glass of wine.)

Sorry if my Bionic Box added to the schmutz. However--I'm all rebuilt and good to go! (And full of funny stories about it.)

Violet K said...

Goodness! You are so strong to go through all of these things with something so small as anxiety attacks. People have anxiety attacks all the time for way lesser reasons. You are such a brave, strong, positive person who always has a sense of humor for everyhing that comes your way. You are doing a really good job in life and by the sounds of it, you are a really good partner, friend, and family member.

i like cheese said...

Thanks! To be fair, those weren't the ONLY things that stand out when I think of this year, good OR bad, but those were things that came to mind that have caused me the most pain or pain to those around me. Mostly making me think of my own mortality and all the things that can go wrong, which is a huge theme in my anxiety.

i like cheese said...

Ms Pants-I only just got your comment today..I need to start writing more often! Thanks for your words of wisdom, as always..I'm glad to know I'm not alone in the holyfuckican'tbreathe camp.

I am looking forward to hearing about your rebuilt box and other funny anecdotes over brunch this weekend!! :)