Image: Kein Do
I have panic attacks. Real heart thumping, cold sweats, body shaking, panic attacks. And it's not because I'm crazy.
A few times a year I'll have a bad one. For no good reason, in the middle of the night, I'll wake up to a feeling of dread and fear.
It started a couple of years before I turned 40. The first one was absolutely the most terrifying experience that left me both sure I was going to die, scared to tell anyone, embarrassed when I didn't die, and concerned that this meant I was going to end up freaking out like this all the time.
However I've seen my doctors, told them about it. And I've been assured many times that my heart is fine and I'll be okay. It is still terrifying when it happens.
I have tried anxiety meds. But they left me exhausted and lifeless. So now I'm logical. It is a chemical reaction, something wonky in my code, I won't die. Though when it happens it is hard to be logical.
Last night after a great weekend filled with Seattle's Comicon and going to see the new Wolverine movie “Logan” I went to bed happy and ready to get some sleep.
1:25am I woke up to a rabid heartbeat, feeling so cold my teeth were chattering, and that feeling that maybe I might be dying.
No reason. Just because.
Breathe. Nice and slow. In and out. Don't panic… you are panicking.. slow it down.
Everything starts to slow down, no pain. No arm tingling. No teeth or jaw pain. Nope, not a heart attack… just panic.
I stayed in bed, even though I wanted to get up and walk off the feeling. Even today the dreaded ick feeling lingers. And I am so tired because I couldn't go back to sleep.
Have I done enough in my life? Enough? What's enough and who the hell is keeping track?
Would my family be okay if I died? Do they know I love them?
I know I am not the only one who has these 2 am moments if Life Pondering. Yet they actually make me feelso thankful that usually I can sleep all night without having to think of updating my will or how 44 years of my life have gone by and yet I am still baffled by how mean and selfish people can be. I would be an awful insomniac.
So I lay in the bed for what seemed like hours, when it was likely only one, and tried to calm my thoughts and slow my breathing.
It doesn't matter what my critics think, I know I did all I could. And when I couldn't do anymore, I didn't stop being someone my Grandmother would have been proud of. That is important to me.
I counted my blessings and forgave my sins just like counting sheep until my racing heart could find it's sleepy beat again.
I have a beautiful and complex family who all count on me to be here, not to die from fear in the night. Just keep breathing.
Perhaps it was the change in weather, my Lyme Disease, or a combination of excitement and fatigue. Whatever it was passed like a ghost in the hall, frightful and then vanished with no explanation.
Well now I'm up and ready for the day, how about a new recipe? Today's will be something chocolately and maybe a dash of espresso.