Panic Attack

Just a moment ago I skimmed an article about panic attacks. I guess I’ve never given a lot of thought to what other people think of them but it struck me as funny that some people think it means being dramatic. Really? So…when I’ve told someone along the way that I’ve had a panic attack they thought I had an emotional fit. Haha. Seriously people.

I’m sure panic attack symptoms vary but I will share what one of my first ones were like. I have a little more control of them now and medicine to help if it gets out of control, so they’re not nearly as scary.

Ok so here it is. Out of nowhere something weird happens in my body, like I feel a weird sensation in my head or I feel my heart do something not normal. Usually following that something happens, that I’d like to describe as cold water being poured from the back of my head and down my back to my feet. By the time that happens my fingers and toes start tingling, like that pins and needles feeling. Suddenly I realize I can’t take a deep breath or yawn. My mouth gets really dry and no amount of water makes it feel better but I usually keep drinking. Everything inside my body gets really loud and my internal dialogue gets speedy and full of what ifs. Everything inside is loud. I feel like I’m dying and like there’s an invisible belt tightening one notch at a time. If I’m around other people all they’d notice is that I’ve become quiet….really quiet. I usually can’t hear (I mean I can but I’m so focus on the loudness inside me that I don’t hear) anything anyone else is saying and I don’t want to. I want to escape but I don’t want to be alone. I want to ask for help but I don’t want to talk about it so I don’t. The lights seem weird and make me uncomfortable. I want to be cold. I want to be outside. I want to pace but I want to be still too. I just want it to end. I try to find a mint to make myself feel like I can breathe better. I want it to end.

When it is finally over I still don’t relax completely. The fear of another one coming terrifies me. It controls me. It happens without reason or circumstance. It isn’t a choice.

It’s exhausting and draining and until you figure out what it is, you think you’re dying. Like really dying. You fear it constantly when you’re anywhere when they first start happening. They take life away from you.

I had my first one at age 20. I pushed down a lot of things about four years prior and tried to move forward without healing. I honestly feel like they happen when you don’t deal with bad things that have happened to you. When you push down emotions. Your body kind of finds a way to make you deal. All that you push down comes ragging to the surface at the most inconvenient times.

One that really stands out to me was during a first date. The guy was really nice and seemed to like me a lot. I had a bad breakup a few months prior and his interest in me made me feel good again. We went out to dinner and to a movie and I couldn’t breathe. I had to leave the theater. I literally got up during this first date in a movie theater without reason and walked out. He came out to find me sitting in the lobby. I was trying to decide if I should just walk out. I couldn’t talk to him to explain. I just tried to smile and finally got out that I wasn’t feeling well. He took me home and I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. Strangely he called again and wanted to go out. I couldn’t. He was a panic attack to me now. He tried for a while longer until I just stopped answering or returning his calls (not nice I know). I can’t believe he even wanted to see me again. I’m sure I seemed like a freak. I wonder what happened to him. Obviously he was a good guy.

Anyway, I just wanted to explain what a panic attack was to me. Not a drama filled fit but actually an uncontrollable internal breakdown…not really but it’s the best I can do.

❤️

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A Vision of Hope

I think I’ve written…I know I thought, I don’t look forward to much pertaining to me personally anymore. I know some of it is fear, some of it has to do with not having any free time, I don’t want to take away from my children, and I generally don’t feel very good about myself anymore. I’ve often thought, what do I have to offer. I usually consider myself damaged and where I once felt pretty, I now feel like I look tired. Because I am. I have nothing to offer anyone. I hear it in my head.

Just moments ago, out of nowhere, I started visualizing running around with my children. Grabbing my son’s hand so he wouldn’t run in front of a car. He has never been observant of traffic. It was much scarier when he was a toddler but it still exists. Anyway, I’m doing this and totally focus on my children when someone gentle grabbed my arm and says softly, slow down. I look and see a man with the kindest eyes smiling at me. He starts talking to my children. Asking them questions that make them both start talking, joking around with them, and never once annoyed by their existence (something I fear in real life). He then takes time to talk to me about simple things things and the conversation flows…light and easy.

This is as far as my imagination took me. I know to some this may sounds silly but I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer. My ADD I assume.

It made me a little happy to imagine this. I never imagine things about me anymore. Never ever about finding anyone for me anymore. As I said earlier, I have nothing to offer but in this daydream who I am was enough. Enough. Not what I do. Not who I know. Not my back story or baggage, or fears, or regrets. Just me. I guess there’s a small amount of hope in me somewhere.

This week has just started. Tuesday. In these 2 days I have experienced some incredible highs and a possible bottom dropping out again. I wait and prepare for bad things to happen because in my experience, they always do. I brace for them and because of that I’m still standing. Always hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Always.

My daydream was a blessing, a distraction, and beam of hope. It reminded me that if I don’t know what I want how do I expect to get it. I have to know what I want.

I don’t want to talk about the bad so I’ll slightly mention the good. My little boy. My 8 year old ADHD little boy who catches so much grief from everyone because of his constant movement just blew his CogAt out of the park. He scored so high on this test that even I was amazed. It says he is in the very high range and if I’m not mistaken, he got the highest scores possible. I’m just so proud. I know that it is still going to be a struggle to help him manage his ADHD but his ability to do well is exceptional. Both of my children, that I’m raising mostly alone, are amazingly intelligent, creative, inquisitive, and kind. We’ve made it through many storms and I have guided them without much help at all and they’re excelling. I must be doing something right. I’ve prayed for this. I’ve prayed for the ability to do this as a single parent and my prayers are being answered.

One win.

One scary bottom dropping out.

Maybe I’ll be able to breathe by Thursday or maybe I’ll be in tears. You just never know in this life.

❤️

Incorrect

I read to my children at bedtime often. We usually pick a good chapter book and I’ll read a chapter or two before tucking them in. I like this routine and I think it helps them understand the flow of reading and it introduces them to new vocabulary.

Over the last few months my son has attempted to correct me when I say some words or names. I thought maybe he was just trying to sound them out himself, as they’re usually big words or unusual names, but after a while I realized he was just trying to correct me incorrectly. I would politely say that it was pronounced the way I pronounced it and say the word again. I’d continue reading even though he, oftentimes, would still be trying to correct me, incorrectly. I just ignore him and move on until he stops, thinking in my head, is this really just a male thing and he’s starting it now, thinking he’s always right?

Recently when my ex was picking up the kids and I was helping them with their stuff and saying goodbye, I noticed that my ex always tries to insult me, incorrectly correct me, or repeat what I’m saying to our kids in a childish voice….you know what I mean. I’d say something like, don’t forget to work on your project and he’d say, in a nasally whiny voice, don’t forggggeeett to work on your prrrojjjeeeeecccct. Followed by, whatever, whatever get in the car, close the doors, we’ve got to go. I’ve gotten so use to ignoring his nonsense that I hadn’t noticed that he’s leading, as the biggest male influence in our son’s life, with this ridiculous behavior. This behavior is why my son feels the need to “correct” me even though he has no idea what he’s saying. He thinks, because of his dad’s behavior, that this is how he should be.

I wish that I could explain this to my ex and he’d try to change how he acts for our children but unfortunately it would probably make him rev it up. So I don’t mention the affect it has on them. I have however started addressing his rudeness and setting a boundary by not allowing him to treat me like that. I stop instantly and tell him to stop talking to me like that and that it’s childish. I also say if you’d like to speak with me in private about anything he thinks I’m doing incorrectly that I’d be willing to do that but he wasn’t allowed to speak to me like he does. The first time I did this he apologized. It took two days but he apologized.

The change has to be in me and how I react to other people. It’s about the boundaries I set to protect myself and to allow healthy relationships to grow. What’s the point of unhealthy ones anyway? They are nothing but draining. The unhealthy ones that we have to keep, because of co-parenting or family occasions, our reactions are the only thing we can control.

Memories of Life

Memories of happy times help me push forward when I’m feeling stuck. Tonight I smile remembering a simple childhood memory. I remember being in bed at my childhood home watching Saturday Night Live. My brother is in his room doing the same thing and my mom is in her room watching too. I remember the laughter. It’s like I can see it going out each of our doors and meeting in the middle to make even bigger laughs. My mother’s laughter rose above the rest. She’d laugh and laugh and try to say what just happened on the show or copy the actor and try to repeat it but get way too tickled before finishing. She’d just laugh and laugh and never be able to finish what she was trying to say again and again because one of us shhhed her to tell her the show was back on and we might miss something else funny.

I never knew how good I had it. I wish I could enjoy the moments without other thoughts and worries in my mind. Distractions. I fear I’ll look back at this time, in all its uncertainty, and wish for it back. Wish for the couch snuggles, movie nights, messy baking helpers and many other things. It’s all going by so fast.

I’m sure I’ll always wish they would have had an intact family but I was never in control of that. I will still always love it was us, the three musketeers.

The Foundation

Throughout my life I’ve often envisioned how I hoped things would be. I like to see my future plans in my mind and hope I can achieve bits and pieces of these dreams of my future.

When I was younger, before getting married or having children, I envisioned how that would play out. I wouldn’t plan the big things in my mind just little things. Like I thought it would be cool to plant a tree after each child was born so as they grew the tree would too. It would be their life tree. I dreamed of taking my children places to not just tell them about things but actually show them. I dreamed of being really involved in a great church so they could grow their faith and have a group of church friends they grew with through the years. I also hoped that their father and I would be fun parents who handled discipline as a learning experience and not just a timeout corner. But with everything in life, you just don’t know until you know…so some of my thoughts for the future were just not realistic.

What I wanted from a husband I thought I had found mostly. He was a strong leader, successful, confident, yet loving, adventurous, silly and playful too. That was until we had children.

After getting married and having children I realized none of my dreams, with him and as a family, would come true.

The tree thing was shut down and I was told the stupid tree would probably die and then what….I have to keep planting tree after tree after tree hoping one of them lives. I’m not doing that. It’s dumb. So I had to let that go and I was ok with it. I just wanted the do it but it wasn’t a need.

Church was a battle from day one. I could only convince him to go occasionally but when I did he would complain the entire time making the experience miserable. When the kids were born they were either too loud, too hard, or he’d take so long to get ready we’d be late, causing more stress than necessary. It became a bad experience every time not the one I wanted to be good. I gave up most of the time but on the times I rallied through and tried to go without him he’d make me feel horrible about leaving him out. It was a no win situation. I felt like everything was.

Travel was a joke. When we were dating and first married we took fun trips but after the kids arrived, he took fun trips and left us behind. I could argue and be offended or upset but it didn’t matter. He didn’t change his plans. He’d just bring us back a dumb gift and be offended if we weren’t over it by the time he got home. He would tell me I was always mad about something and a grudge holder. It was really exhausting keeping reality and his versions of the truth separate. I refused to be tricked by his versions of the truth.

His versions of he truth about events that had occurred were so far fetched that I couldn’t be convinced they were reality which mad him try harder and become angrier when I challenged him. So, I learned to be quiet and nod. Nod not to acknowledge I was listening or nod to move on to something else. It was the way I survived. The only lies that ever got me were the ones he’d say about me….you know the ones, you’re gaining weight, you’re lazy, you’re a bad mother (usually followed by I wish I’d had a mom who cared as much as you care about our children). The insults he said to me still kind of live inside me. I know they’re not true and that he just wants to break me but I still hear the words and I still question their truth on bad days.

It’s been years since my husband and I have been together. He’s moved on a million times but I’m still stuck. He’s never been alone without a new girlfriend or numerous ones yet I am still afraid to get close to anyone. So in that way I guess he won. The damage was done and I can’t trust. I don’t want to take the risk. I don’t think I could do any of that ever again with anyone else. It’s too hard. I think I’d break if it happened again. I think I’d be easily tricked again because I want to be loved and because I want someone to care I think someone could take advantage of that.

This is what I infidelity does to a person. This is what being with a narcissist does to someone who was once strong. You move forward, after surviving the battle, and live with incredible strength but also incredible fear. People say healing takes time. I think healing never ends. I just hope the scars will fade and I’ll learn to find a way to step outside of myself enough to let someone great in one day.

Hello. Is Anybody in There?

I’ve written about this before but it’s something I think about often….when I feel a small piece of myself rising to the surface.

I miss myself.

I know, I know it sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I really miss the silly, grinning goofball that once dominated my personality most days. I miss the carefree person who could talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything. I miss how I could make the shyest person open up and feel comfortable around me. I miss making people laugh. I love to make people laugh. I love to laugh.

It’s almost like I’m trapped in myself. The worry, the disappointments, the fears, the self doubt, the loneliness, the lack of trust…they all dominate me now. Those guys are in charge. They wake me up from my sleep, they keep me up so I can’t sleep, they make me tired during the day, they make my heart beat fast and my chest tighten, they make me disengage…run, and they make it hard to breathe. They make me walk away and keep people out. They stole my laughter.

Sometimes when something distracts me I start feeling myself bubbling up to the surface and I feel normal again. But not for long. No, it not for long because once I realize it I escape. I hide back inside myself because at least it’s safe in there. Lonely but safe.

This is what infidelity does to someone who was once full of life. This is what it takes away. Even when the pain is gone and the love doesn’t exist anymore, the hurt from being thrown away, disrespected, uncared for, it still lives inside me because it is me now. This is who I’ve become and the other person is just a memory of a girl I use to know. The me I use to be.

I never knew how special she was until she was gone. Life’s funny that way.

❤️