Before reading any further you need to know and understand that what you are about to read is so NOT a complaint and so NOT a "woe is me" situation. Rather, it is simply my experience. I'm sharing because it is my reality and someone, somewhere, may actually benefit from my words. And even if you, yourself, don't directly benefit, maybe someone in your life will benefit from your greater understanding.
About 14 years ago I had my first anxiety attack. I was completely off guard and didn't believe the doctor when he told me after running a bunch of tests to rule out other things. So, I went to another doctor, who ran more tests and said the exact same thing. I viewed this as a character defect in myself. I learned some stress management techniques, and then went on with my life.
A few years later I was again plagued by anxiety attacks. Not wanting to be bothered by them, I accepted a prescription from my doctor and took it for an entire year, never once suffering another attack. At that point I weaned from the medication. That was 7 or 8 years ago.
Since then, if I were to feel an attack coming on, I was able to head it off and go on my merry way. However, over the past many months this has become increasingly difficult and I have been having more frequent attacks and I've not been very successful in heading them off.
What does it look like when I'm having an attack? Well, you could be right next to me and you would never notice. That's right. You wouldn't notice a thing. And if you do know me in real life, you may have even been right next to me when I'm having an attack.
What does it feel like when I'm having an attack? Well, I get a little light headed and a stomach ache. I also get really thirsty and drink lots of water. I breathe shallowly. I can't focus on anything and my thoughts race around in my head from one topic to another.
This past year, while totally and completely over the top wonderful, has presented challenges, to say the least. After my last miscarriage I stopped taking all vitamins and supplements. I stopped buying organic foods and didn't care if I used foods or drinks with artificial sweeteners. Exercise? Sporadic at best. Sleep? I can't tell you the last time I slept for a solid 4 hour block without being awakened by baby/hubby/dog. Work pressure? Absolutely, c'mon, I'm a 3rd grade teacher. There's more to it that coloring and playing games. All of these things have created the perfect storm, if you will, for anxiety attacks to take hold.
I'm a planner by nature. So, a few weeks ago I came up with a plan. Step 1 was to wait for school to be out before enacting the plan. Check. School ended for me Tuesday at 5. I have the next 8 weeks to carry out the rest of the plan. I'll be combining exercise, diet, acupuncture and meditation to get myself feeling better. The plan's goal is to help me keep this from happening again once school starts in the fall. Hopefully I'll pick up some sustainable habits over the next 8 weeks.
I started up with acupuncture yesterday. It's the same place I used before while trying to improve my fertility. I've arranged for Andrew to be with his babysitter on Thursdays so I can go. We belong to a beautiful gym (really, check it out!) and I need to add Andrew to our membership. He can stay in the child care center for 2 hours for each day at no extra cost! I'll be restocking vitamins today while out shopping. That's right, I'm going shopping today! What am I shopping for? Well, we have a new king size bed being delivered tomorrow! I need to buy new bedding. I'm hoping to be sleeping better starting tomorrow night. We'll also be doing some menu planning this weekend as we begin Weight Watchers. I'll be documenting my Weight Watcher and gym endeavors over on my other blog, so as not to bore too much here.
So, that's my plan for the summer. I'm actually looking forward to it and I'm eager to start feeling better.