Monday, January 5, 2009

Thank you for your kindness, a bit of history and a bit of success!

First of all, thank you all for the kind words of support, taking the time to email me and leave comments of encouragement, it means a lot to me! I have been asked about a few questions about the Agoraphobia and Panic/Anxiety attacks that I have.

Sooooo, let me step back to the beginning when this all began or at least when I think this all began; the end of the summer of 2007. My doctor said that this all can be brought on when a lot of things seem to pile up on you all at once (stress wise) or like in a string of events that are very stressful. Well 2007, a lot of things did happen, I dealt my very first death of a family member, my Gammer (my grandmother), my job is always extremely stressful, I had a TMJ flair up that was so bad my jaw locked up which hadn’t happened before, one of my very near and dear clients that I worked with passed away after a long battle of trying to get better, Eric’s oldest son, Nick informed us that he wanted to come live with us here in Washington and not live with his mother and brother anymore in California… there were many other events and moments that happened too but I am not going to list them all. But basically it was as if I were a dam and there was just no holding back or suppressing that very high level of stress for that long any further and so I burst.

So when these “attacks” started, I honestly thought that it was hot flashes and that I might be hitting early menopause… now in 2007 I turned 37 and yes I know that is a bit young for it but it runs in our family so it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to think that. Besides, I had been having random, short, little mini hot flashes since I was 30 or so I thought, but nothing like the hot flashes I was having now! It was a big joke when I was 30 but it isn’t funny anymore! LOL The heat is extremely intense from the inside out, but not necessarily from a particular starting point. There have been a few times that the hot flashes were so hot, that it hurt! One of these happened while I was conducting a staff training meeting at work! Thank goodness it was all women there that day! LOL I tend to get red in the face, neck and ears and now most of the time, just drip sweat! (YUK! I hate to sweat!)

I didn’t notice it but others around me, like Eric, who is soooo very patient, noticed that I wasn’t going out and about like I regularly do. I pulled away from going on our “Midnight Shopping Trips” or going to get my hair cut or have my nails done. I would put off going to the grocery store and I am one that loves to grocery shop. I preferred (and still do LOL) it very quiet when I am at home and cherish Fridays, when I have the day off and the kids were in school and I could sit at the pc and not have any noise except for the dogs. No TV, no radio, no phone ringing! Ahhhh that’s wonderful! There were (and still are) a lot of times that I felt like I was electric or vibrating with energy but felt exhausted. That’s the only way I can describe it, it was like a sensory overload. There were times when my mouth didn’t quite make the connection to my brain and I seem to pause as if I totally forgot what I was talking about but I knew what I wanted to say, it just wasn’t happening when I wanted it to happen. I also started having trouble sleeping and began waking up several times during the night along with night sweats. YUK again! I was also extremely irritable and it seemed that the smallest of things would just set me off.

Well to try to make a very long story short, I had a male doctor and just didn’t feel that he was listening to me. He actually made me quite angry and frustrated and I actually thought that I might be going crazy! So during the summer of 2008, I finally got rid of him and got a new doctor and she is wonderful! My very first visit with her, she spent over an hour listening and talking with me. We were there until after the clinic closed even. She told me what she thought and of course I didn’t like what she said but she reassured me that I wasn’t crazy and that panic attacks are actually quite common. I’ll be honest, that last part about being common, I thought she was yanking my chain there just to make me feel better, which it did but …….. but I do know better now! LOL She did start me on a low dose medication, because I would prefer to try something more natural instead of synthetic drugs, but they did seem to help. I have had to have the medication increased now twice because the panic attacks have increased with severity and the last few that I have had, they affected me physically.

On Sunday, December 28th, I wanted to try to go shopping and buy some new jeans, socks and unmentionables, which were a gift from Eric for Christmas. We drove over to Kohl’s, and of course the weekend after the holiday is a busy weekend…. What was I thinking?!? Obviously I wasn’t! LOL A lot of things flashed through my head as we pulled into the parking lot…. Wow a lot of people here, how long are the checkout lines, how noisy is it in there and Oh crap, I can’t pick out underwear in front of my 16 year old step son, Nick! (ROFLMBO the last one still gets me!) But I went in anyways. We walked over to the undies section and I told Eric that I’d rather just get jeans, so I jetted over to the jeans department, went back and forth about size…. I took 5 pair into the dressing room try on. (I began to notice that I was getting very hot, starting to sweat and I also noticed my breathing was getting heavier.) Well I was dreaming about the size that I chose so I had to go back and got one size larger (dang it!) That is when I really noticed that I was sweating and my breathing got worse. I tried on the jeans, kept telling myself that I was almost done and that I had almost accomplished what I had planned to do and I would be going home soon. I know that a few people noticed that I was having issues and that really bothered me. Part of me didn’t want to come out of the dressing room because of that but the other part of me wanted to run screaming like a banshee to go home. When I came out of the dressing room, Nick and Eric both looked at me and asked if I was ok. I told them yes, but it is obviously not something that you can hide very well when you face is all red and you are drenched in sweat! Nick kept asking if I was ok, I kept telling him yes, I can do this. Eric took me to the farthest checkout stand since it had the fewest people in line. The longer we stood there, the worse I got I guess! Eric made me go out to the truck and wait while he paid for my jeans, I told him no, that I could do this and he just gave me that look, that I must go now. I was livid and crushed! I thought that I must have been embarrassing him for him to want me to actually leave the store! He had never done that before! So I left the store and went and pouted in the truck. When got into the truck he apologized and said that the only reason he wanted me to leave is because I was breathing so heavily, basically starting to hyperventilate, that he didn’t know if I was going to vomit or pass out. In a way that made me feel better but then I got really embarrassed and just wanted to go home.

Now I am happy to report that over this last weekend, on Sunday, January 4th, I went shopping with Eric for groceries and a new purse and I did ok! Then afterwards, I went to Kaiser to pick up medications for Tanner and me. His weren’t ready but I did ok again! When I got home, I asked Eric if I did ok at the store and he smiled and said yes! Again today, I went back to Kaiser, but this time by myself because it was after work, I did so-so honestly. I started to notice that I was getting wound up but luckily the meds were ready and I was only in there for about 20 minutes or so. When Eric got home from work I told him I did ok but fessed up that it was actually only so-so. He grinned.

So right now I am pretty pleased. I didn’t think that I would ever share these kinds of details about myself but I felt relieved after my last post about the panic attacks and such and it does feel a bit therapeutic to write about it and get it off of my chest so to speak. It also makes one feel better knowing that there are many other people out there in this world that are dealing with some of the very same issues that I am. I only wish that sometimes instead of a subscription of issues….. one or two at a time would be great! ROFL

The good thing is that I am at least starting to notice the signals only sometimes I don't notice them in time and other times, I just dont listen!

Well I have rambled on long enough and now I need to get to bed so that I can get up early and go to work in the morning! Check back tomorrow for a freebie or two!!!


Bon said...

Baby steps seem to be working for you, and I think you are doing great! Sometimes just finding out what is wrong is a huge relief, and learning to listen to your own body is part of the healing process. Are you taking care of yourself as far as what you eat, and getting some regular exercise? Just a 10 minute walk, 5 minutes one way and turn around and walk back,hopefully in a quiet spot with sounds of nature around you...will give you physical and mental help. And 'journaling' as you are doing by sharing your story with us, is also a HUGE help! This WILL pass, and you WILL be better. It also sounds like you have a lot of love and support from Eric, which is something to be really grateful for. Good luck!

Amberlee said...

Oh Kimmi I so understand!!! I have been in stressed out mode for YEARS and the docs don't know how I have continued to live let alone function at all. I have been diagnosed with PTS, I get panic and anxiety attacks and go through bouts of fighting myself over going out anywhere. I also have Sarcoidosis, so the various things don't deal well together. I have all I can do to go shopping. And holidays? HA! I refuse to go out from the day after Thanksgiving until after the new year. I make sure I do all the shopping I need before that.

I want you to know you are not alone. I have a wonderful chiropractor helping me with all the hormonal imbalance/female stuff...I don't have a doc for anything else as I can't find one I trust. I am proud of you for doing it anyway and working through those issues. Great success for you!

Hang in there! We love you!

Carole N. said...

Kimmi, I am so impressed that you were able to share this here on your blog and I am so thankful that you are getting help and starting to feel better. I am so sorry that someone as sweet as you has had to deal with this.

I do understand about feelings of frustration over medical conditions.
Some days I feel like there is no end to what will crop up next for me.

I still find it amazing that Paula Dean was able to overcome her fear of going out into the public and look at her now. To me she is an inspiration to all of us that have to deal with medical problems and is living proof that brighter days are ahead for all of us.

Take care, Sweetie. I miss you.

Love and hugs!