The last couple weeks have been a complete roller coaster.
Trip out East (my mom’s got the tiara for now, cause she rocks)
The trip out East to see my Uncle and support my Mom through her bone marrow donation to him was a trip to remember. The family came together and supported each other. My Mom gave something of herself to her brother. It’s one of the proudest moments I’ve had. I know she was scared. I know the procedure seemed foreign and dangerous to her. She held that in and was strong for her brother, and the others around her. She put on her sparkling attitude and as usual, made the best of the situation. I don’t know that I know a stronger and more selfless person than my Mom.
To add to the emotional carpet ride that had been our few days out East, a double whamy of a ice storm in Maryland and Snowpocalypse 2011 in Wisconsin were threatening to hinder our trip home. With a forecasted 18 inches of snow making it’s debut Wednesday, we decided to bump up our flights to Tuesday instead. Our trip home was one of those “just by the hair of our chinny chin chin” trips. We were just about a half a step ahead of the storm.
Here’s the funny thing about trauma and stress happening in the family. I spent the last 8 weeks worrying about my Mom and Uncle and our trip out there. If I was going to be able to go, what days I would be able to go out there, I worked 10 hour days in preparation for the trip. During this time, the already steady stream of anxiety that I deal with in everyday life was slowly collecting steam. My usual self-awareness was put on hold so that I could concentrate on everyone else and how they were feeling. The tiny trouble that is my daily battle with anxiety had become a troll under the bridge. I didn’t even know it. Sunday, as I laid on my couch to watch the game… I was suddenly overwhelmed by the most all consuming and heavy, literally heavy like a wet blanket… anxiety and depression. I couldn’t cope. I was suddenly broken. It had taken time to get there, but I hadn’t paid attention. I was shattered into pieces and no amount of superglue could get them back together.
Now, whether you call it an anxiety attack, an “episode”, or a mental collapse of death-star proportions… Monday I had one. I was at work, and had a full fledged episode. I couldn’t breathe, I had chest pains, my skin was crawling (in essence it feels like road rash.. the sensitivity is almost unbearable), and I just couldn’t get a grip. I locked myself in a conference room and called my Mom. I felt horrible doing it because she has so much other stuff on her plate right now. But, she knows me best. I just cried. I could barely talk. Putting what was hurting inside… into words… is so hard sometimes. It’s just this feeling of loneliness, confusion and loss. That was the day I decided that I needed to cry Uncle and get help because I obviously could no longer try and handle it by myself. At least for right now. Coping with this everyday, and failing… was causing me to blame myself for failing. I look around at the things other people in my life are going through with seemingly (key word) little trouble. The road might be tough, but they have a path and a purpose and a assuredness about their actions that I envy.
The rest of the week was a very long and rough one. In order to recover from one of the “episodes”, it takes days. My muscles ached and my reactions to things were off the wall. Either calm and collected, or barely able to hold back the tears.
Valentines Weekend (where the hell are my minions?)
Dad and Jean took me out to a wonderful early Valentines dinner on Saturday evening. We ate at the Paoli Schoolhouse. It was so nice to get to talk to Dad and Jean since it seemed like we hadn’t seen each other in a while. I was so nervous to catch Dad up about my recent feelings and struggles. I so rarely talk about my anxiety problems to people because they don’t understand. If you don’t have it, it logically doesn’t make sense. I agree with you. When I’m feeling extremely anxious about the most ridiculous thing, even during it I logically know I should not be reacting like this. But, logic doesn’t play as big of a part when your body chemically reacts in a “fight or flight” manner to the oddest things. I get frustrated when I try to explain it to someone that doesn’t understand because it is like discussing and open wound. And when people don’t understand or ask questions you don’t know the answer to, it’s like rubbing a little salt in it. Why would I want to keep doing that?
Anyways, when I was younger and struggling with anxiety, Dad and I didn’t see eye to eye about it. In retrospect it probably had more to do with the complete nincompoop that I had decided to date and had caused the majority of my anxiety back in those days. The moral of the story is that Dad was awesome. He understood and listened. Dad and Jean were both supportive and it was more of a relief than I realized it would be.
Stupid Sunday (found my throne… wrong kind though)
Then there is today. I woke up at 4:00am with such pain in my stomach. It was like someone was squishing my tummy in their fist. I tried to go back to sleep, but didn’t have much luck. Eventually I tried to make some breakfast, but couldn’t get much down because my stomach was cramping so badly that I didn’t have any appetite. Much of the next few hours was a haze of water, cheerios, trips to the bathroom, and the fetal position on my couch. To top it off, throughout the morning my temperature started to slowly rise. I ended up about 101 at the peak of it… I had enough tylenol and whatnot in me… but it was persistent. I finally had to go to Walgreens to get gatorade, saltines and something for the less attractive side effects. I made it about 3 minutes in the store before running, okay… quickly shuffling back to the bathrooms. An uncomfortable conversation with the pharmacist led me to Immodium AD… which I will now refer to as little pills of awesomeness.
My first real meal of the day was eggs and toast for dinner. Of course I live like a college boy half the time so my fridge was empty. So, I asked my neighbors if they could bring over a couple eggs tot he quarantine zone. Thankfully, they did! Phew.
I’m still completely uncomfortable, running a fever, and feeling like shit on a stick… but… at least I don’t feel like the stick is also roasting over a fire anymore.
I missed out on the wonderful weather today. Hopefully I will be feeling better tomorrow and will be able to go for a couple walks.