Aug 31, 2010

Sheer Panic

After Bible study at 6:30 by myself in the cool morning air and breakfast at the bagel shop, and an nice cool relaxing walk to my classroom, I sit down in my chair in class at 7:47-ish and—

my heart is racing but I can't breathe—I can't breathe!!—and my chest and arms are hot, but my fingers are numb. my legs are jittery and my mouth is sticky—Still can't breathe!—I'm dizzy because i'm hyperventilating but i can't get enough oxygen to calm down. I rub my legs to make sure they're still alive and haven't stopped working. they're bouncing.

i almost get up. i can't miss class. but—Oh God—I can't breathe.

im fine.

i know that. there's nothing wrong. my heart is healthy. im strong. shoot, im a beast.

i'm going to die.

before i know what i'm doing, i've stood up and asked my teacher where the doctors office is. she tells me how to get there and i leave quickly. i throw away the remainder of my coffee—i'm never drinking coffee again!—and exit the classroom. she said it was outside across the street. but there are too many doors to go out, and there are too many "across the streets" to figure out which one she meant. i walk towards one hall, then change my mind and walk back, then stop. I don't know which one!!

I pick one and scream in my head nothings wrong! i'm fine! i need to calm down. but my legs are working too fast. my arms are tingling a little and my mouth is so sticky that i don't know if i can open it.

i ask a stranger where the building is and she points to the one two buildings away from me. I try to walk controlled, but end up power walking, which doesn't help my heart rate. my chest isn't quite as hot now, because it's chilly outside. my head doesn't hurt as bad either.

i get inside and the smell of cleaner hits me like a wall. i freak out again. i hate the smell of cleaner because about a year ago i nearly fried my brain with bleach and windex (well, it felt like i nearly fried my brain. i was just fine after a day, but i can't clean the bathroom with bleach or windex to this day).

there's nobody at the desk.

i finally got to the doctors and now there's nobody here! i'm going to fall over dead and nobody will know!
a voice snaps me out of my mindset. he tells me to fill out a form.

i don't want to fill out a freaking form! i want to see a doctor and make sure there's nothing wrong with me! it seems like if i hear those words, if a doctor says them, i know i'll be ok. just somebody tell me i'm not going to die.

i rush and fill out the form, and because my handwriting is so bad the lady gets me into the system as the wrong person. i don't find out until later.

they ask me if i want water. water? what would i do with water? it's hot in here again and my arms and legs won't stop moving and i'm hyperventilating again.

"I don't know." i say. because i don't. will water make me feel better? will it make it go away? will it keep me from dying?

"Well, if you feel like you're going to pass out, lay down on your back."

pass out! oh my God. He thinks i might pass out. maybe i will. i've never passed out before. what does it feel like? is it scary? is it better than this feeling? because if it is, i'll do anything it takes to pass out.

i just want to go to sleep and wake up feeling normal again.

what does normal feel like again? I'm scared.

"a nurse will come for you in just a second."

a second? a few minutes? fifteen minutes? the lady at the desk leaves. i'm terrified but i'm not sure what i'm scared of.

now i'm alone! i don't realize it but i've picked the healing scab off of my thumbs, and my cuticles, the ones that took weeks to grow back, are gone on my thumbs too. my brain tells me to knock it off, that picking won't help, but i can't. i can't stop moving. i feel like i'll explode.

Finally i get in to see a doctor. finally the doctor talks to me. the whole time i'm crying and shaking. he's nice, he holds my hands and helps me stop shaking for a while. and i'm scared. i don't know what i'm scared of, but i'm scared.

he says i can just wait until it stops (which would be fine but i might die before then!)  or he can give me medicine.

i hate medicine. i refused to take meds for depression years ago, and i won't even talk about a prescription now. i don't even take pain meds when im on my period or when my mouth hurts or when my knee is out. i grin and bare it. but at that point, all i want to do is fall asleep instantly and wake up and be able to think.

because that's what happens every time. i agree—reluctantly—and when he leaves to get me some medicine i text my parents. pray fore me. then i remember how to spell and i fix it. they text back quickly that they are.

i want to pray and make it go away. i know in my head that Jesus can make it stop but i can't remember how to get from here to there. I just say Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. until the doctor leads me to a recliner.

they give me half a pill because i hardly ever take medicine. it freaks me out. what will it feel like? will it happen slowly? will i be able to feel my arms and legs? they're still twitching a little. i drink all the water and take the pill, hoping that it isn't too bad.

i lay back and they give me a blanket. it's warm, but i'm hot from my heart beating too fast too hard too often. i push it down to my knees.

he said it would make me tired, i'm still scared. how long will it take to dissolve into my blood? will i sink away slowly or will i just wake up later?

i just remember holding on to the button they gave me in case i need them. i almost push it a few times, but tell myself that im ok even though i don't feel like it.

i don't remember when i fell asleep. i think i laid there for about twenty minutes, fearful, breathing hard, crying, and with a cramp in my side. eventually i fell asleep. i remember dreaming that i woke up, unhooked my overalls, and rolled over. i dreamed it several times, which is my body's way of saying "wake up and do this!"

so eventually, about two hours later, i woke up and unhooked my overalls. they were hurting my arms. i fell asleep for another fifteen minutes or so, but when i woke up…

it was like the fog had lifted.

and i realized I was a nutcase for thinking that i'd die even though i'm healthy… i eat salad twice a day. i drink fluids (probably not enough, but still). i didn't have too much caffeine that day. so what had caused me to freak out over absolutely nothing?

absolutely nothing.

I sighed and stood up. i stretched and made sure i wasn't dizzy or ditzy from the meds. thank God i'd only had a half a dose, or i'd have been out for six hours or something.

the doctor smiled and said "welcome back to the world."

and really, that's what it was like. it was like waking up after a bad dream.

that's what a panic attack is like. irrational fear over absolutely nothing.

so. that was my morning. how was yours? :)

1 comment:

Hannah said...

:( i love you, and i wish you didn't have to go though that.