"You'll know just the moment when I've had enough. Sometimes I'm afraid and I don't feel that tough... but I'll stand back up!"
It's been a rocky month and I've been fighting anxiety for weeks now. I hate the anxiety. It wasn't there before Dave died. After Dave died I kept having panic attacks. They don't feel anything like I thought a panic attack would feel. I thought they were about being scared. They really feel like someone just shot you full of adrenaline. It's hard to breathe, my heart pounds, I start to shake, my concentration is shot, my vision is affected, and my body generally goes into fight or flight mode. This is highly disturbing when it happens and I'll reach out to anyone, anywhere, whoever can help me the fastest... just to distract me and keep me from totally freaking until the adrenaline rush is past.
I haven't had a really large panic attack since early January. In fact, the past few months have been pretty peaceful except around holidays. Holidays really are hard, and I tend to be moody and irritable, but they don't usually make me panic.
This month was something different. The anxiety came back like it was in December and January. There are a lot of things going on in June and July. I'm assuming that might have something to do with the anxiety. Fair is coming up, and it's always a stressful time- even when Dave was alive. We've celebrated several birthdays (including Dave's) and there have been quite a few "family" events. It's always bittersweet watching other families. I love my family and I'm very content with what we are- but I still have trouble being quite so complacent about not having Dave with us.
The anxiety kept building and building and I kept trying to defuse it. Something bothering me? I tackled it. Something needed to be done? I tried doing it. Someone confusing me? I tried asking for clarity. It didn't help. I did accomplish a lot of things that I just needed to get accomplished- but it didn't make the anxiety dissipate.
I try not to dwell on the panic attacks. That means I don't usually do a lot of reflecting about them once they're finished. I forgot that every time one's happened in the past it actually was a time of healing. I try so hard to suppress them- because I hate feeling weak- but they really do mark progress and healing. Maybe it's my body's way of breaking through mental/emotional barriers that I wouldn't tackle quickly otherwise.
On Friday I had a doozy- right before the party I'd been planning for weeks. Strangely, I don't think the party had anything to do with the stress and anxiety I was feeling. In hindsight I'm glad that the attack happened when it did because it meant there were a lot of people around me fairly fast. At the time, I thought the timing sucked! Today I'm thankful for the timing... and for the friends who made the evening so much fun.
Once again the panic attack seems to have marked forward movement in my journey. I will never say that I'm thankful for the panic or that I enjoy it's affects- but I can say that maybe next time I won't fight quite so hard to stave it off. They hover out there, just out of reach, until I break down and can't breathe. Once I've been through the worst I'm exhausted but the next day I feel fabulous. It's the strangest cycle I've ever been part of. In all actuality I will fight the next one just as hard as I've fought to prevent every panic attack.
So, after weeks of living with a horrible anxious, insecure version of me (I really don't like her- she should take her toys and go somewhere else), today I am ready to say, "I'll stand back up!"