Panic Disorder

How do I continuously end up right back where I started? No warning. No slippery slope. Just, a sudden drop. Thrown against the same fucking wall. And every time it hits, it hits a little harder.

I thought it was just another migraine. I took some Excedrin and tried to push through it. We were going hiking & I knew I’d feel better once we were outside in the fresh air. Except by the time we got there, I was nauseous. And when I stepped out of the car, I collapsed, my legs were too weak. I was dizzy. My heart was pounding. My stomach was in knots. I leaned on my husband for support to make it across the parking lot to the bathroom, where I desperately tried googling “why are my hands numb’ – unsuccessfully – as I was losing feeling and control in my hands. I decided that the nausea was the least of my worries and I needed to find a park ranger, so I clung to my husband as I scanned the Visitors CenterĀ  & tried my best to stay calm as I approached the first ranger I saw, my feet beginning to tingle with numbness as well – I explained my sudden onset of symptoms through labored breaths & they sat me down, took my vitals, and ran me through several tests; the numbness and nausea coming and going in waves…every wave a little more severe than the last, until I started having carpopedal seizures in my hands/arm & I was barely clinging to consciousness – they kept telling me it was just a panic attack. Just. A panic attack. But they called an ambulance anyway.

Once they got me on oxygen, indeed, the seizures and spasms calmed, and the numbness receded, my heart rate dropped back to normal, and the nausea dissipated…

Just a panic attack.

The next day was a blur, my body exhausted and still reeling from the physical trauma and my mind on edge, terrified of triggering another episode.

I texted my therapist first thing Monday morning and asked if he had any cancellations that I could take – I hadn’t been in months, and while I knew I needed help…I didn’t want it (or, didn’t want to need it? more specifically); I typed the message out and immediately hit ‘send’, not wanting to give myself even a second to consider the option of not asking, torn between hoping he would be booked and I could avoid having to talk about it & desperate for him to have a slot open because I knew that if I could just get to his office, if I could just step over the threshold and into the waiting room – I would dissociate and all my feelings would lock themselves away and I’d be safe again (because, yes, this is what happens every time I go to therapy – my body refuses to participate).

He had an opening that afternoon. I took it.

And so here we are, still trying to break this cycle. Still trying to figure out how the fuck to heal, mind and body.

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