I will be frank. Last night I had an almighty panic attack. I haven’t had many of them before and they are only something I have experienced since being ill.
So today I am frail and fractured and fragile.
I felt it coming, so much so that I told Mr Tree Surgeon before it hit me “I think I might have a panic attack.” Yet it wasn’t a choice. It just came. And boy did it come.
My face and arms went completely numb. My jaw locked. It was incredibly physical. I couldn’t breathe properly. My temperature fluctuated.
And then the tears started and they wouldn’t stop.
I was conscious that Mr Tree Surgeon had a big week at work ahead; that he needed his sleep. And yet he couldn’t get it because I was in quite a state. I started to worry it wouldn’t stop. I wondered if I was mad. I knew I must look awful with tears and snot and sweat everywhere. And so thinking about all of that made it worse.
I’m not sure why it happened or whether there was a trigger. But I wonder if I have been becoming a little overwhelmed by life recently. Something as simple as the online food order feels too much for me. What if forgot something or order the wrong quantity or the wrong brand? Silly things that suddenly feel incredibly important. I worry about how socialising is always such a bitter sweet experience; wonderful yet likely to make me very ill afterwards. I worry about being too ‘busy’. That I have so much to do and so much going on. I worry about being ‘enough’, about pulling my weight around the house, about being a flakey friend. I even worry that my wonderful progress will lead people to think I am fully recovered; that I have to prove otherwise. That my benefits will be taken away because of that progress even though I am still incredibly unwell. I feel under pressure but the only person putting me under pressure is myself.
Yesterday should have ended in celebration. I made it to my dad’s birthday gathering at my parents’s new house and lasted two and half hours! But perhaps that’s what got me in such a pickle. The house was full. I didn’t know who everyone was and I think I felt rude that I didn’t have the energy to socialise and chat and introduce myself to the people that were there. I hid myself away in the corner or outside behind the chicken coop. And yet I had been so excited to go and to be able to go. And eager to see all of my parent’s friends who I’ve known nearly all of my life. But I wasn’t as well as I’d hoped I would be and so my energy levels wouldn’t allow me to be myself. I left early and felt embarrassed and shy at having to interrupt my own dad while he was chatting in a large group to tell him I flagging and so Mr Tree Surgeon was taking me home. And I held it all together until I got into bed and then it got to me.
Today I have been hit with the usual post-exertional malaise (PEM) that comes after every and any activity when you suffer with this particular health condition. I have an incredibly fuzzy head and feel groggy and spaced out. Yet I can write this which shows how much I’ve improved over the years. (Ever the optimist?) My arms are stiff and sore and heavy and ’empty’. I am typing with two fingers. On top of the PEM I feel incredibly vulnerable somehow.
I have made a little fort for myself on the sofa. I would have stayed upstairs but I was worried the doorbell would ring when the postman came and I wouldn’t be able to get there in time, which would then lead me to panic again. Another case of making a mountain out of a molehill perhaps. I can’t find the words to expand on that right now but it’s something I must revisit as since moving out of my parent’s care and essentially into my own home I have noticed how I put myself under pressure to do the things I feel a young woman should be able to do in her own home. How silly to do that to myself when I am still so poorly. Yet I do.
The cavalry have been called once again. My mum is calling in after work and my dad is on standby ready to come to me at the drop of a hat.
I need lots of TLC today. I am scared that it might happen again.