Rambo and I went away for the weekend. With people we love and no responsibilities to care about. Nothing but the open road on the motorcycle and a cabin in the woods and drinks and friends.
We left Friday night for the 3 hour ride to the cabin. At about 2 ¾ of the way there, (I almost made it)….I told Rambo to pull the bike over NOW. I was going to either pass out or throw up and I didn’t want to do it on the back of the bike.
For the first time in over a decade – I felt a panic attack coming. A panic attack is much different than normal every day anxiety over going somewhere new or meeting someone. That anxiety is fleeting and I can talk myself down from it easily. I can understand it and pinpoint the exact reason I am feeling it.
Real panic attacks start in the pit of my stomach. Out of nowhere. Randomly. For no reason. They rise like bile. As the feeling gets higher, I feel like I’m going to suffocate or scream or explode. I want to run from the fear of the feeling. I want to scream and curl up in a ball and I want to weep. I want to be anywhere but where I am – even when logically I’m exactly where I want to be. And there is no control. They come and last as long as they last. I can’t talk them away or make them better. When they subside is not my decision. Nor is when they appear.
When the panic subsides, for me – anger sets in. I was at a fun place with the man I love – why in the hell was this happening NOW? There is absolutely NOTHING wrong in that moment. And yet, I’m crouched over on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere trying to explain to people what’s happening….when I don’t understand it myself. Embarrassment is the usually mixed in with the anger by then.
Panic attacks do not represent me. This is not who I am. I don’t want to see pity or fear or worry in your eyes because I nearly passed out. I blamed most of it on the heat – which definitely was a factor.
The whole weekend we put on nearly 450 miles – in blazing heat. With probably not enough water or food. When I have panic attacks – I cannot eat. The mere thought of food makes me want to throw up. But having an empty stomach in that kind of heat is also crazy. I can’t win.
So I spent the weekend pretending I was okay when a lot of times the anxiety was bubbling…just under the surface. Always there. It’s exhausting being okay when you’re not. And then by Sunday I had the full blown flu. I lost 6 pounds that day. And still had 125 miles to go until home. Fun times, right?
Apparently, I crossed a line my body wasn’t ready for. I’m so confused still today. I’ve grown so much, learned so much and accomplished so much regarding my own inner peace and now this.
Anxiety attacks? Now?
Part of me thinks it could be the Paxil. I was put on that drug to help in the prevention of migraines and it’s the only thing that is different. I’ve only been on it 3 months but I wonder if it’s causing the panic/anxiety attacks. Part of me hopes it’s literally that simple.
All I know is I have to figure this out. I cannot take steps backward. I cannot be afraid to leave home for fear of panic attacks. I have to figure out what’s going on in my body from all these migraine preventive meds.
So I survived the weekend that was thrown on me at the last minute…but not like I had hoped to. No one knew I was suffering except Rambo and he never left my side but I knew.
I knew this is something I haven’t felt in decades and it’s not good and it disappoints me immensely. I wish there wasn’t always a war to be fought inside myself. I wish I didn’t always feel like I have to be suited up in armor to protect myself – from myself.
I just wish I had inner peace. Until then, I’ll never stop searching for it.