A few days ago, I posted this on
"Lest anyone think my life is
nothing but flowers, cute kids, and horses. Here is what I'm experiencing at
this moment: full blown panic attack over making a phone call.
Here's the story:
For the past couple of years, I've had several different issues that have
required many many visits to doctors.
Every time a treatment isn't
helpful, and I have to call the doctor's office and tell either the doctor or
his medical assistant that I'm not feeling any better, I get so anxious. Just
the thought of it reduces me to tears and panic. I've done it a lot, and it
doesn't get easier or better.
I can't really tell you why, but I
feel so panicked at the thought of talking to someone and telling them I'm
still in pain and I still need more help.
I had horrible experiences with
doctors when I was younger, but everyone I have worked with for the last two
years has been amazing. They've been empathetic, compassionate, kind and eager
to help. When I left the doctor's office on Friday, he told me to call him to
let him know how things were going.
I am aware that the absolute worst
that could happen is they think I'm stupid, weak, or needy for calling. (That's
not so bad. I'm posting on Facebook for all of my friends and acquaintances to
think that about me, and that's not so painful. Also, it's unlikely anyone
there will think that about me since they told me to call.) The best that could
happen is they try something new that does help.
And yet, I'm shaking and crying at
the thought of calling them again.
Anxiety is weird."
It came about because I had just
listened to a podcast: Hidden Brain's SchadenFacebook. Hidden Brain is
one of my favorite podcasts. This one was all about how people post one thing
on social media (Instagram and Facebook mostly), but their lives are completely
different. (i.e. Posting happy pictures of vacations, but in reality they were
miserable and fighting with each other.)
podcast talked about people found they felt much less alone when they were more
honest. Since I have experienced that, I couldn't help but agree with what the
podcast said. Anxiety and panic attacks are uncomfortable and weird, but I am
no longer ashamed of them... so... I shared.
in making me feel less alone. I got something like forty comments of solidarity
and support, plus several personal messages. That was helpful.
thing I couldn't sort out was what the anxiety was all about.
my body was shaking and tense. I felt like I couldn't breath and when I tried
to breath, I'd cry. At the same time, I could rationally sort it out and tell
you there was no reason to be panicking. There was nothing threatening in the
situation. Even the worst thing I could think of was not THAT scary. What do I
care if people think I'm needy or whatever the worst they could think of me? I
don't. Not really.
Todd asked what I would do if he was the one panicking.
tell you, you don't have to call. I would also offer to call for you.
Today, I had
therapy. I told her about the experience of my panic.
me to stop trying to be rational and think about it, and just explain what it
I teared up. I talked about how for so many years no one listened when I talked
about being in pain. The best that happened was people ignored it. The worst
that could happen was being hurt worse for speaking up. I had several memories
running through my head. I let the tears flow as I explained how even though I
have good experiences for the past few years of my life, I can't just let go of
the years of adapting to neglect and mistreatment. Also, sometimes it hurts
worse when people are compassionate and empathetic now. It reminds me of how
mistreated I was. It wasn't normal to be ignored or even punished for
expressing my needs and wants, but it was MY normal. That is a sad thing to
realize - even if it is only brought to my attention because I am not being
treated that way anymore.
me see how although my head and face look "fine", my body is letting
me know I'm not fine. The shaking. The shortness of breath. The stiff and tight
muscles. The panic. All of these things are symptoms.
times in my life, I have been told I need to control the symptoms: stop crying,
sit still, hide the pain, don't even flinch with shots or pains. I still have
some shame letting myself show or be "not okay". Since I can control
it, I feel like I should.
I can also
see how that is hampering me. There was a time in my life where my body told me
I needed to stop trying to control it and the emotions and the automatic
responses. I let myself lay down on the floor and suffer pseudo-seizures,
flashbacks, and literally reliving past trauma. Normally I was alone. Other
times Todd would be with me. I wouldn't have let it happen with anyone else,
because I didn't trust anyone else to go through that with me. It brought
healing. My body went through the release it needed to, and eventually I got
through it. I think I got through enough of it to not need that kind of release
anymore, but it seems I am still stuck in controlling myself in some ways.
I am still
suffering chronic pelvic pain. I've had every diagnosis, and many treatments,
and haven't seen a lot of improvement. Doctor says that isn't uncommon. Both my
therapist and I are wondering if there are treatment options besides the
doctors to help me overcome body memories and chronic bracing against
continue with the doctor's schedule of treatment. I'm also planning on looking into
EMDR therapy. When I looked into it eight or nine years ago, my PTSD was too complex and the therapist wasn't sure she could help me. It was devastating to
me. Apparently the science has been advanced a lot, and I have changed a lot
too. It is a noninvasive way to try to heal the body from trauma. I'm not
really excited about adding more doctors to my life, but I am also anxious to
find whatever healing is possible.
I made a
decision a long time ago to create the life I wanted, which meant sometimes doing
things I don't want to do... so... here goes nothing.