Again….I’m still here! I think that’s what I said on my last post, right? If you didn’t read my last post on my choking incident, you can click here to see what all transpired. I still can’t believe that happened. After what I’ve been through the last 4 1/2 months makes that seem like a walk in the park….well, sort of.
I have never had an anxiety or panic attack. I’ve never suffered from serious anxiety…..until 5 months ago.
In reading some of my stories on my blog, you know that I was extremely shy growing up and I have worked hard as an adult to overcome my shyness and with shyness comes fearfulness. Fearful of just about everything. I felt like as an older adult, I had a handle on it. I have been able to do things that as a child/teen I would never dream. Never thought about it or worried about it…..so I thought. Getting nervous about things, or deeply hurt by incidents was just a norm that I had learned to handle. How did I handle it? By stuffing it down and not dealing with it. Guess what….that’s not a good thing to do. If you are a stuffer like me, now is the time to stop. You don’t want to make waves, you want peace, so you stuff it down. You don’t want confrontation of any kind, so you stuff, you leave it alone, you forget about it…until something happens and it all bubbles out and what a disaster it will be. We will visit that subject on another post. I’ve learned a lot, trust me! If you look in the dictionary for the word “stuffer,” you will see my picture.
The only way I know how to describe what happened to me is to start from the beginning of this nightmare! In March we were having a wonderful time in Branson at a PraiseFest, which is a Southern Gospel Music Festival that lasts for three days. We’ve gone for the last several years and love it. As you know, in March, the big shut down began. While in a concert along with maybe 2,000 other people I was getting texts from friends and family asking me why we were there while the virus was quickly spreading. I was basically in the dark, I knew something was going on, but, I didn’t know to be in panic mode. I even got some comments on my social media from people telling me how irresponsible I was being for being there.
When the final concert was over, we had plans to stay longer in Branson and take in some shows and shopping. The hotel that we always stay in was starting preparations for shutting down. They told us we could stay through our reservation, though. After one day of being the only ones in the hotel, we decided we might want to head on home. With all the panic and shutdowns starting, I became a bit fearful. I had even wondered if we would get home. I had the thought, “What if they close the border of the various states we drive though and we can’t get home?” I couldn’t get home fast enough. I was worried about stopping at rest stops and restaurants all the way home. I’ve always been sort of a germaphobe, so I always am watchful for germs and I am the one who always has disinfectant wipes for everyone.
We finally made it home! I went into lockdown mode. I didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t even go see my mom as fear of if I had something I would spread it to her. I had a container of disinfectant wipes at the back door for when Jim came in. He even changed clothes in the garage for a while. I ordered our groceries, wiped everything down, etc. etc. As I’m sure you did as well. As you know, my choking incident happened a week after we got home.
I’m a news fan. I’ve always had a love for politics and current events. I had the television on with the news most of the day everyday. I listened as I worked around the house. I also listened to a talk radio program each day. This was during the time of the ventilator talk. Every time I heard the word ventilator, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My shortness of breath was scaring me. I was having a hard time swallowing. I even stopped taking my vitamins as they wouldn’t go down. I took very small bites when eating. When I laid down at night, I could feel my heart beating. I became fearful of having a heart attack. This went on for another couple of months.
One evening we went to dinner with some friends. I was asked to describe my choking escapade. As I began talking about it, I got very hot and I was having trouble breathing. Of course the joke of having a hot flash was said. Long story short, the next morning I woke up sick to my stomach. I thought maybe food poisoning or something. This went on for a week. I then went to the doctor. Was told I had a stomach virus. I was also told that I was hyperventilating. I was also given something for anxiety to calm me down. I wasn’t able to take the medication as it made me feel worse. I struggled to do anything. I became more and more fearful. I’ll spare you the details but, I did go to the emergency room one night and had a scope done and my esophagus was stretched to help with swallowing. I also had two ulcer like areas in my stomach.
After two days in the hospital, in my mind, I figured I was back to myself…but once I got home, the fearful thoughts and the constant nausea went on for another 2 1/2 months. I didn’t sleep hardly at all for those 2 1/2 months. I tried another medication and it was worse than the first one. I took it for two days and stopped. I had zero appetite. I lost 31 pounds during this time as well. I forced myself to eat applesauce and bananas and would gag each time I ate. I honestly thought I was going to die. I hurt all over. My stomach hurt constantly. No sleep. Fearful thoughts that wouldn’t stop. I could go on, but, I’ll spare you. And then….
I went to a Natural/ Holistic Doctor in our area. She examines your eyes and can see all that is going on in your body. She said that I looked like I had suffered what someone with PTSD goes through. A lot of emotional stress. She put me on a regimen of natural supplements. My body was depleted. Not to mention, she was the most kind and compassionate lady who convinced me that I was going to be fine and it would just take time. She assured me I wasn’t dying. How thankful I am for her.
During this time, my daughter-in-law was my huge encourager. She coached me through this entire ordeal with words of wisdom, love and truth. How thankful I am for her. My Jim has been amazing. I don’t know where I’d be right now if I didn’t have the support from these three amazing people! Not to mention, friends and family who assured me of their love and support.
As of today, I am almost at the end of this nightmare. The nausea finally left almost a month ago. No anxious surges throughout my body. I’m gaining my strength back (hopefully, not the weight) and still working on positive thinking.
Throughout this ordeal at the encouragement of my amazing DIL, I have been journaling about everything. I have realized that I have suppressed many things over the years of hurts and various things that have happened to me in my 61 years. What a journey this has been.
I have been a Christian since I was 14 and have lived my life for Him since then. I’ve read all the verses about worry, fear and trust. I thought I had those down pat! Evidently, I had some work to do in those areas. I have no idea how someone could go through this without the confidence of a loving Heavenly Father right by their side. I have never felt closer to God than I am now. He has carried me all these years through all the ups and downs. All those times when I just couldn’t understand the cruelty of people or when bad things happen, He was always there walking me through it. Having the peace of God is the most important thing to me. How grateful I am to have the confidence in my Savior!
I have learned so much about anxiety and am still learning. It’s very real and very scary. I had never been so scared in all of my life. I had no idea what was happening and how to stop it. I have also never worked so hard for something in my life while climbing out of the spiral of anxiety. I would never wish this on anyone. (Lot’s of I’s in this post…but, it is what it is)
The reason I am sharing is hopefully to help someone reading this. I know we aren’t given a manual for what to expect with anxiety. It’s like we have to figure it out ourselves. I did lot’s of searching and asking and found out that what I was going through was normal. I also found out that many people don’t have a clue what someone goes through. That is when I was the most frightened. It seems there are so many symptoms of anxiety and not everyone has them all. Everyone is different. So it’s encouraging when you read about someone that has the same symptoms as you do. You then, get a little relief in thinking, “Okay, maybe I’m not dying or going as crazy as I think I am.”
I will share more that I have learned on different posts only if I think it will encourage someone that is going through it or knows someone who is suffering from anxiety attacks. You have no idea how comforting words, affirmation, prayer and support helps someone as they are going through this.
So there, you go. I’m trying to keep it short to not overwhelm. I do have a few things to share as to possibly prevent something like this happening to you or someone you love and ways to support those going through it. Let’s just say, my eyes have been opened greatly!
Until next time…..