There comes a time when you can no longer ignore what is going on….
My stomach had been growling in anticipation of dinner all afternoon. I hadn’t been feeling well the past few days, my appetite had vanished only to come back with a vengeance once the fever was gone.
I was feeling better… or at least I thought I was.
Out of nowhere I became antsy.
I couldn’t sit still.
My mind wouldn’t focus on any activity.
I tried to write… only to have my train of thought venture off in another direction.
I tried to read a novel and while it was one that I didn’t want to stop reading, I kept placing it aside at the end of every chapter to wander off…
Back to my laptop.
Scroll social media.
Grab the book again..
It had been the kind of day where I was just waiting for bedtime. When it was finally time to heat the oven for the chicken breasts I planned to roast- that was an easy task. However once the oven was heated, I had lost all interest in cooking dinner. Take out would have been easier- but after pacing the floors I decided to force myself to make the chicken.
It took willpower.
TO MAKE CHICKEN.
As the evening progressed, while dinner cooked, the feeling in the pit of my stomach became worse. Mixed in with the growling was this tense ache that was spreading into my back, my chest, my shoulders, my neck.
My breathing started to pick up, I felt overwhelmed, like I was trying to keep my head above water. Trying to shake it off and with a flick of my wrist I saw that my FitBit read my heart-rate was elevated above normal.
Yup there it was.
I was having a panic attack.
As my heart raced, I asked myself:
“Why? Why is making dinner triggering me?”
It took a few minutes but I calmed myself down, however my eyes kept flicking to the cabinet that holds my medications.
Was today going to be the day?
You see, my anxiety has been on a steady incline in the past week or so. Milder panic attacks or ‘overwhelming feelings of anxiousness’ even ‘foreboding’ have been slowly taking over. Striking when I least expect it- and here I thought that I was having a better year than last.
Dinner was ready.
I was hungry….but I wasn’t.
The seasoned chicken breasts, mashed potatoes and peas I had served up looked delicious. Deep down, in the growling pit that is my stomach, I couldn’t wait to eat. We all sat around the table, digging into the food. I smiled and took a bite of the chicken, forcing myself to chew. My stomach eagerly waiting to be fed, however it felt like there was a lump in my throat. My chest was tight. My breathing was picking up again.
My food didn’t want to go down without a fight.
I didn’t want anyone to know.
With a smile plastered on my face, I continued to slowly chew each forkful that went into my mouth, ignoring the unpleasant feeling of the ‘anxiety barrier’ that had possessed my body.
An unseen swirling barrier of unease nestled in my throat and chest that made the meal choke down, rather than glide.
I had to eat.
I forced myself to eat.
I didn’t want my kids or even my husband to know what was happening, I was going to stay as calm as I could without making a scene.
It wasn’t just the food.
I had to put on a smile, forcing conversation:
“How was your day?”
“Did you hear about…?”
“What is on the agenda this weekend?”
No one knew that the fork was shaking as it went toward my mouth, that my chest felt on fire and that while I may have been speaking- I was picturing the tiny pills in the orange pharmacy bottle. Pills I haven’t touched in several months. Pills I really hate to rely upon, a prescription that will help ease the feeling shuddering through my body.
Medication that I know I am going to need refilled.
Something that I need to discuss with my doctor.
Dinner was over.
Everyone cleared out as I felt yet another round of panic set in, forcing me to give up trying to fight it.
This isn’t a monster so easy to back down and every day this happens – it gets stronger and so much harder to fight. It may be invisible, but anxiety and these panic attacks are a powerful force. One I need to get under control, and soon.
Into the medicine cabinet I went.
I held the bottle of Ativan in my hands, feeling like a thief, I looked around the room to make sure no one would catch me. Ridiculous really, when this is exactly what they are for, prescribed to me for this exact reason.
Feeling guilty about something I shouldn’t feel guilty about.
I wanted to cry as I tossed the pill into my mouth, but I held back the urge.
Here we go again…
The above is a true story.
A very recent story.
One I wanted to capture before all the feelings completely faded.
One of the most frustrating things about living with depression and anxiety is that sometimes, you really don’t know what is causing it. Sometimes things are buried so deep inside that you can almost work yourself into a state trying to it figure out.
As my anxiety has increased recently, I feel very much on edge. I have several ideas of what could be causing it, but to even let my mind go there is too difficult.
This is the point where I know it is time to ask for help from my doctor and probably re-enter counseling.
I don’t want to… but I
think know that I am going to.
So if you are out there reading this, and you can really relate to what I am saying- know that you aren’t alone and at the end of the day- there should be no guilt and shame in feeling like this. There shouldn’t be any guilt or shame for taking medications you need, talking to a mental health professional…. or even for letting your family and friends know that something is wrong.
I write this for you and I write this for me:
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO SHAME IN HAVING A MENTAL ILLNESS.
This is just another post in my personal journey- for more please visit the cloud category.
Please seek the help of a mental health professional if you are feeling depressed, anxious, or feeling suicidal.
Daily Prompt: Invisible