July 29 16

At 4:45 this morning, I woke up in an unexpected full-body panic attack.

I say unexpected because this week has been pretty great, I was a little surprised to see my good friend anxiety lurking around.

But that’s the thing about anxiety, isn’t it? There’s no pattern to it, sometimes there’s just no WHY of it. It just is.

It doesn’t care that I’m almost all caught up with my editing, two pieces of my heart are home and one gets home on Tuesday, and that I stepped out of my comfort zone and went rock climbing (and loved it so much despite the spaghetti arms that I’m now a proud owner of a monthly pass and have plans to go back on Wednesday). I even managed to read a book this week — Crazy Rich Asians — and finish a really hard butterfly puzzle and go for walks and bake muffins and have company for dinner (and even have a second dinner at midnight because out-of-town friends are the best and so are my husband’s smash burgers). But there it was. Panic attack. The cold sweating, the stomach ache, the shaking, the terror. Waking up with one is the worst too, because it’s so disorienting. Am I dying? Am I having a heart attack? Why can’t I swallow or catch my breath? 

In the dark and quiet of night, panic is the scariest.

I turned on The Office (season 4, I think. The one with the job fair) and played a few levels of Candy Crush and answered a few emails. Distraction, for me, is always the best. Sometimes I sing the lyrics to We Didn’t Start The Fire in my head or say the alphabet or count backwards  from 1000 by sevens and think of warm brownies (Thanks for that one, Leslie Knope.)

I’m okay this morning. Upset with myself, though I know shouldn’t be. Rethinking every conversation I’ve had, though I know I shouldn’t be. (Should I not said that thing that I said over drinks?)(Why didn’t she text me back — was it something I said? Don’t my friends know that texting for people with anxiety is hard?) Wondering if I had too much coffee, though I know I shouldn’t — I already know that I do, but coffee is a tricky one because it both panics me and relaxes me. And because it relaxes me more than it panics me, it’s here to stay. We aren’t going to talk about those pesky 48 hours I tried to give up coffee because those are two days I’d really like to redo.

Trying to figure out the WHY of my panic, though I know I shouldn’t be.

It just is.

So today the plan is to be gentle with myself. I’m doing the best I can.

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  1. Be good to yourself, friend. It happens and you know how to deal with it!

    Love you!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kristabella on July 29, 2016
  2. Counting backward from 1000 by 7s…I’m impressed!

    Hang in there.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Alison on July 29, 2016
  3. I DID NOT know that panic in the middle of the night was even a thing. I am the mom of a girl who is now 15 and she has anxiety disorder and I learned something reading this so there you go. Your posts help. Thank you. Hope today is a wonderful one and Yeah to rock climbing.

    [Reply]

    Comment by paula schuck on July 29, 2016
  4. Love and light to you!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Karen (Prof. J) on July 29, 2016
  5. Oh man, the middle of the night panic attacks are the WORST. I’ve woken up before banging on the window, trying to get out, not knowing where I am. Terrifying! I feel for ya, sista. Hope it eases up!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate on July 29, 2016
  6. I’ve called the paramedics twice in the middle of the night during panic attacks. Convinced I was having a heart attack both times. (They were so kind! Both times!) I’ve since learned not to overthink the “why’s”. It just happens sometimes. Now I do my best to calm myself (Will & Grace helps) and then I try to go back to sleep. Sometimes I need a little pharmaceutical help calming down (Ativan), but not as often as I used to. It’s a sucky think to live with (anxiety) but it is what it is.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Carrie on July 29, 2016
  7. I don’t mean to alarm you, but I think we might be the same person. Except I pick Friends and Candy Crush Soda. But otherwise, that was me like 5 times this past week, while on vacation. Gentle hugs to you

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Totally doesn’t alarm me…it comforts me. Hugs to you too. xoxoxoox

    [Reply]

    Comment by Katie on July 30, 2016
  8. I feel for you – I’ve been having the same attacks for about a week. Except I know why and am going to tackle it head on today.

    Take care.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Heidi on July 31, 2016
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