Note to self: You are super & you are a woman, but you are not Super Woman!
Nope. I can not do it all all the time.
Even with best intentions no one can achieve it all. This week was my lesson in learning to take time to care for me.
Last week found me caring for mom, dad, three parrots, four dogs & anything else I could. Setting up my “new” space at their house and trying to adjust to living with other humans again (things like bath robes and earphones come into play when you share space with family, nurses, etc. at all hours). Then I dashed off to drive 3 hours to my house to rush in to start this semester of classes. In my haste I left behind one of the medications I take, but what is a couple of days? PLENTY. Spent time being outside of class making up for lost time running around trying to be 6 places at once. Lack of ambien (darn needing to pick up refills), the sudden influx of helicopter traffic in my neighborhood & dealing with night terrors every 2 hours had me zombie eyed & wishing for time to sleep.
I crashed. Hard.
The added stress of everything kicks up symptoms anyway. Being in public shopping recently has been harder. I’m in no way back to being where I was at my worst, but I recognize the pattern. Go somewhere, breathing starts getting harder, head feels spacey, everything seems extra loud including the blood pulsing rapidly through every inch of my body. After about 15 to 20 minutes I start to feel like my insides are going from concrete to slush & back again. I fidget nervously. Usually if I can move about I can release some of the adrenaline & try to calm down a little. Feeling trapped makes it worse. It can be something as simple as being “trapped” by having to wait on someone else or a check out line. I recognize there is no real threat, but my body doesn’t listen to my rational mind in these moments.
Fight or flight is pure animal instinct. You can discuss as much as you want, it will be as it will be. Once an attack starts, it is very hard to stop.
With a regular schedule, sleep & my medicine, I keep in control of it all.
This past week I had not a single one of those three.
My first class went great. It was less than an hour & even the professor was a familiar face. Second class was slated for 3 hours, but didn’t last that long. The professor is great. Intense, but great. Going around the room introducing ourselves has never been a favorite game for me but I survived. Panic? yup but I kept it under control. 3rd class I was less successful. It was only 2 hours and was same group as the 1st class but I lost it. Klonapin, internal dialogue stepping out to group in the bathroom & move around didn’t help. I ended up in full-blown panic mode. After leaving the class for a 2nd time (this time with books in hand), I barely made it home – my safe zone. Once there it still took a while to calm down. Then my body was so exhausted I ended up falling asleep for a few hours. I really didn’t think I would be able to make it to my fourth class (the 1st session of the 3rd course). I did. It was a major struggle to stay through but I did it.
Once someone has a panic attack somewhere, for some reason it is more common for them to have another one there. Being in the same exact classroom for all my classes doesn’t exactly help.
Still I refuse to give up. I have fought hard for far too long to let myself slip backwards. At the same time, I recognize that everything going on in my world right now is very tough. Can’t be too hard on myself.
I’m extremely grateful that the professor I have in the class where I had to leave part way through is understanding. Hindsight I probably should have explained what was going on prior, but it is tough. I want to be respected for the work I do same as any other student in that class. Still at this point I am glad she is aware of my situation with my mom & living in two places at the moment. There is some comfort knowing that she is willing to work with me if need be.
So first week almost down. Lessons noted. I have GOT to be sure my oxygen mask goes & stays on first before assisting my fellow passengers. ha ha.
Which is why this afternoon I am relaxing. Back on ALL my medications and ready to get a 2nd full night of sleep.
I have full faith I will find the balance in all this.