Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cloud 4.5

Loss of breath. Blurred vision. Chest pains. Head pains. Arm pains. Leg pains. Light headedness. Fat tongue. Irregular heartbeat. Trouble swallowing. Involuntary twitching. Sweaty palms. Impending doom. Symptoms I haven’t experienced in months…

I don’t know what triggered it… Busy month? Approaching surgery? Working with a bunch of asshole attorneys and attorney wannabes? Maybe…

I’m still recovering from this afternoon’s anxiety attack.
At first, I thought “heart attack.” Then, “stroke.” “Maybe organ failure.” But, I quickly recalled my blood test. My age. My hypochondria. And that nasty little thing called “panic” that plagues me…

Lucinda Bassett would’ve been proud. Despite the “discomfort”—I’d have called it much worse at the time—I somehow managed to “float” through the “symptoms.” And although the aftertaste of the attack is still in my mouth, I grasped pretty quickly, that what I was experiencing (in those terrifying minutes), was a panic attack, not sudden death.

And although I clung to the “panic-handle” above the passenger window the whole way home, I knew inside it was just an attack. And just knowing was a victory. A small victory albeit, but I’ll take ‘em where I can get ‘em.

Now, excuse me while I finish drowning myself in this bottle of chardonnay…

7 comments:

Debaser said...

Panic attacks suck ass. But at least when you recognize them you know that they won't kill you and will pass at some point. But they still suck.

I'm on Klonopin for it. I've had maybe one real one in the last 4 months. Of course, you can't drink on Klonopin. And now that I don't have as much anxiety that's EXACTLY what I wanna do! Dammit.

I'll never be able to figure out how you can tolerate drinking with these disorders you have. Hangovers or simply drinking a little too much would cause my stomach to bloat up. I'd look like a pregnant man.

Lucinda Bassett? Have you actually used that program?

Leila V. said...

No drinking? That's why I'm so hesitant, alcohol is my medication. I guess that's a bad thing.

Panic attacks do suck ass, even when you can identify it.

I haven't used the "Lucinda Bassett Program," but I did read her book, From Panic to Power. She had some good concepts, but the end was extremely underwhelming.

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem about medication. I think it would help me with my hypochondria and anxiety. But no drinking??? I just need that occasional glass of wine, ya know?

Leila V. said...

Oh, I know, I need that "occasional" glass of wine everyday.

Nikole said...

I feel for ya! I had my "first" panic attack a few months back while at work (also when I came across your blog). I left work and didn't go back for 2 days.. (Thankfully there was a weekend in there to make it four days off).
I was seriously convinced I would never leave the house again.

I had taken some Ativan (sp?) that the dr. had given me, but he also said once you go off of it you can experience worse attacks - and you can't drink while on it... I have also chose to self medicate ;) .. Although I do keep some in my purse just in case!

SA D. said...

Hi Leila,

Sounds like you handled it very well. When something like this happens to me and I handle it well, I really try to etch into my memory how well I handled it, rather than fixate on the attack itself. Then, the next time I have an attack, I can easily recall the memory of how well I handled the last one and focus on that.

The last MAJOR attack I had was about five years ago, during the first night of a university writing course I was taking. I spent the entire class staring at the black and while linoleum floor tiles while trying to calm myself down. The next three months of class were hell, since every school night have this anticipatory anxiety about going. But I never missed a class, which was something I was proud of at the time.

Anyway, I feel your pain and can only imagine your hangover. :)

Dave

Addie said...

Wouldn't it be nice if once we pinpointed what was bothering us, the symptoms would magically disappear, never to return? Aah, yes, the dream world I live in is quite comfy...what with the private beach and all... Congrats on your epiphany! Addie