Sigh of relief.
That is what I am uttering right now, because I have not had a panic attack in a few days.
Because I am a completely open book, mental issues are simply not much the stigma these days, and I already overshare on a relatively public forum, I have never been shy about sharing my experiences with mental illness here. I have mentioned before that I suffer from depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which I have mostly been controlling with medication for 8 years. Quite bluntly, as anyone dealing with this sort of thing knows, it sucks. Because an anxiety attack feels icky. Because if you're not shaking like a leaf, nauseous and sweaty, then you're on the verge of sobbing uncontrollably for no conceivable reason. Because there's always a chance your meds might decide to stop working, or your insurance will stop covering the medication, or some stress will be too much for your current dose. And you feel like "this is a mental issue. I should be able to handle this with some deep breathing and meditation." But I can't.
This past week, something happened and I started panicking on Saturday morning. And kept it up for awhile. I was able to mostly breathe through the attacks, but as someone who has gotten used to controlling the symptoms with medication, I was not dealing well. I lost 12 lbs in one week, because, let's face it, it's difficult to eat when you're nauseous. I talked to the doctor Monday and he said he didn't think it was a med issue, but he changed his mind on Wednesday and upped my dosage a bit. I feel better now. I feel, however, like each time I have another attack, it's a wake-up call that I need to take more control of my own mental health. The meds work great, and I'm thankful, but habitual meditation, better eating and exercize habits, and finally getting off my butt and seeing a psychologist will probably help even more. Something to think about.
Another thing that kills me about this particular disorder is how completely self-centered it makes me. Let's face it, I have to be pretty egotistical to think a bunch of people want to read a blog about me anyway, but when I'm dealing with this? I have friends who were having surgery this past week, and all I could think about was breathing through anxiety attacks and when would they finally stop? Which made me feel a bit like a jerk.
So many people are dealing with mental illness of some sort in their lives. If you suffer from any sort, I hope you realize you are not alone, and take the initiative and get the help you need.
On a lighter note, here is an amusing and apt quote from Rita Mae Brown:
"The statistics on insanity are that one out of every four Americans are suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're ok, then it's you."