We used to nickname her pumpkin when she was younger

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Nobody panic...I'm just having a panic attack.

It is 8 1/2 months since Alysia passed away and dusk time still unsettles me. Since I have been getting really tired of this dusk anxiety I mentioned it to Katie again and we were trying to figure out why this was happening.  Why wouldn't it be 6am when we heard the doorbell ring on July 25th, to open the door to two policemen, about to tell me Alysia died?  Why not 6am?  What does dusk have to do with any of this story?  Why such anxiety?  The only thing I could come up with was, the day before I was going about my life just fine, I was happy, at dusk I was settling down for another evening of relaxation and had no real worries, except that I had to get to bed by a certain time because I had to work the next day.  Life was good, life was simple. Yet the next morning my life was completely shaken, life was not fact life was bad.  So I wonder if my dusk anxiety comes from me not trusting that naivety anymore.  It's like "yeah today was a good day or a decent day or whatever but what will tomorrow bring?"  Dusk is the time I wind down for the day, I have time to think.  At 6am I am sleeping and shortly thereafter I am too busy getting ready for work.

I felt that if my worst anxiety is my "dusk anxiety" then I'm doing pretty good.  I can get through this and I'm banking on the fact that knowing the reason will help me conquer it sooner rather than later. However...Suddenly, out of the blue, I am getting severe panic attacks.  It started when we found out Terra was dying due to cancer.  The emotions of grieving were brought back to the surface. When we brought her to the vet to be put to sleep I was extremely traumatized .  We were in the room with her and we watched her die.  The overwhelming grief and guilt took over me immediately.

Somehow the grief, shock and trauma of Terra lessened the grieving of Alysia and that too shocked me and made me feel guilty.  I realized that my whole life does not revolve around my grief for Alysia, there are other things in my life that need attention, bad...and good things.  As time went by...a few days, the grief lessened. I came to terms that we did the right thing for Terra and she wasn't suffering anymore.  The realization that my grief for Alysia was overshadowed by some traumatic events made me feel like I understood a very important moves on.  Bad things happen but so can good things and it is ok for me to move on with life.

So I'm feeling pretty good about this insight but flashes of Terra being put to sleep would creep into my mind and visions of Alysia in the coffin wouldn't be far behind but I acknowledged them and moved on...or so I thought.  I was having lunch at work and suddenly I felt light headed and couldn't breathe, I remembered this feeling, I've had anxiety attacks before, mostly in my 20's but throughout the years as well and so I remembered how to talk myself out of it. "Just's an anxiety're ok..." and that normally stops them, but not that time.  My technique wasn't working.  It kept escalating in my mind until it got to the point I had to run out of the lunch room to get fresh air and calm myself down.  We weren't talking about anything that triggered it, it just came on.

Then yesterday Katie and I went for a walk, a few minutes into it I began to lose my vision and I knew I was getting a migraine.  We had to cut the walk short and go back to the car.  In the car, half my vision gone, I began to also get a panic attack.  I couldn't breathe, I couldn't tell reality from dream, my heart was pounding out of my chest, I couldn't see and I was nauseous.  Katie pulled into a Needs store to get me something to drink and as soon as she left the car the panic escalated to the point where I was convinced it was my last few moments on this earth.  I was sure she would come back to the car and find me dead or unconscious at best. I kept saying to myself "you're ok, you're ok, just breathe, just breathe" but the more I tried to breathe the dizzier I became and the closer to passing out...or dying (in my mind) I was getting.

It took all I had to keep it together in there.  My vision normally returns after 20 minutes or so with a migraine but it wasn't coming back.  We drove home and by the time we pulled up in front of the apartment my hands were numb, I felt like my body was slowly shutting down.  Katie guides me to inside and once inside I felt as though I was in a dream.  I could hear her talking to me, trying to talk me through it but she seemed so far away which made me panic more.  I eventually burst into tears from the fear and said "I MISS ALYSIA SO MUCH! I MISS TERRA SO MUCH!"  All the losses caught up to me these past couple of weeks in a physical way.

 It's just been too much hurt lately and my body is crapping out on me.  I am physically exhausted and have been for quite a while. My exhaustion is to the point that I have dreams that I lay down on the ground or in the middle of the street and just sleep from exhaustion.  I dream about sleeping in my sleep, as if by doing that I am doubling the healing power of sleep.

Somehow though I found some fuel to run on but now the engine is running out of fuel and things are sputtering in the form of migraines, stomach issues and panic attacks.  I have to have good things happen to refuel.  I have to CREATE good things to refuel myself.  I can't keep going this way, pushing myself through the sadness and hurt without refueling. I have to remember my realization that life goes on good or bad despite my grief, I have to choose the good. I deserve the good. I need the good. It might just be migraines, stomach problems and panic attacks now but if I don't get my life back to a steady happy joyful place it can manifest in much worse physical illnesses.

There is a fine line between suppressing emotions of grief and allowing them to run your life.  I want to learn to find joy without putting so much pressure on myself to do so. The biggest lessen for me is truly believing I deserve good things, good feelings, happiness and love. Yet I know I am getting there, I now see myself say no to situations or people that cause me stress or grief.  I see myself sifting through what brings me joy and what doesn't. I see myself being much more careful what thoughts I allow in my head or what words escape my mouth or hands when I type.  I see myself close off to the negativity outside of me and in me.

  It is sometimes a slow process, an imperfect process or even a painful process but it's a process bringing me closer to what I know my life should be.  A life where I truly understand that nothing of this world is permanent.  I could get depressed and not get too attached to anything or anyone and decide not to love (which believe me the thought has crossed my mind a few times) OR I could just love with such abandon because I know that our experience here is temporary but the love is permanent. Either way, we leave without the physical so in choosing to love, I can at least bring that with me to the other side.

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