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It creeps up on your thoughts. Out of nowhere you're in a panic of fear. You're hands begin to sweat, you're feeling light-headed and nauseous, you're legs weaken and you begin to shake, you're body is so hot, like a fire that was lit from the inside. You feel like you're dying. In your mind, you are dying. If you're near other people you try to hide so no one can see you fight the monster. The embarrassment alone is enough for your anxiety attack not to leave you. You to talk to the monster and negotiate on why you don't need to go into this attack. Your mind is consumed with hundreds of thoughts you have no control over. Trying to convince that part of you that everything is okay, you are not dying. This is just another attack that you will live through. You're heart is pounding through your chest. So fast and so hard, you can't breathe. You feel like you're about to pass out. You desperately search for your safety. A person that you trust, a pill, a glass of wine, peeing out the poison of the monster, breathing cold air from the freezer, taking a hot bath, curling into a ball in a secluded area. Any routine that has worked before, you try again. You cry in fear. Fear of what though? Do you have an exact reason for the fear?
You've lived with this monster since the age of 12. When he first appeared, you didn't understand what was going on. You're parents telling you it's all in your head. Nothing is wrong with you. Stop being dramatic. The attack continues and your heart is going so fast, you're breathing too fast, you pass out. Waking up to the ambulance telling you're parents that you just had a massive panic attack that induced SVT (supraventricular tachycardia). The ambulance get it under control and the day continues as if nothing happened. Your parents look at you like an abomination. You go into another attack the very next day but this time you run to the bathroom and hide for an hour until it passes.
Eventually I moved back to Florida with my mother. She was very understanding. She got me help with medication. Even on medication the monster was present at all times. As a teen, I didn't leave my house to hang with my friends. I stayed within a quarter mile of my home. Or if I had to go "far" I needed to be very close to a hospital. Through my 20's I had children so I had to work to support my family. Husband was a drug addict and we left him. At work, when my monster came out to play, I hid in the bathroom pulling my clothes off as fast as I could to lay on the cold tile floor because of how hot I became or run into the walk-in freezer and sit in there until the monster went away. From age 20 to 28, I fought this monster at least 3 to 4 times a day, doing my best to hide it from everyone. Then one day, the attack was so bad that my heart went into SVT again and I passed out. My children called 911 and ended up watching the paramedics inject my heart with adenosine. Such a horrific drug. It felt like a heart attack. In 15 years I have lost so many jobs because of this monster. My employers would make fun of me and end up firing me or I would be so scared and feel like there was no escape and safe spot inside the building so I would just leave, making it very difficult to survive. Eventually, around age 26, I found who at the time I thought was my soul mate. He held me tight and rubbed my hair and protected me from my monster. He became my safety blanket. I was able to work again. I was only having attacks maybe once in a whole week. Life was good for 4 years. Then everything fell to the ground. Lost who I thought was my soulmate. He began to make fun of me, belittle me, making me feel worthless and hopeless and leaving me for another woman. Leading myself into depression and finally the monster returning for a full time agenda to destroy me. I started drinking every night to numb the pain and numb the monster and for the most part it worked until I had to face reality. I am a mother of 4 beautiful children. I needed to be strong and fight this monster. Got help from a psychiatrist and a psychologist finding out that I was suffering from PTSD from my break up caused by my anxiety. It was all my fault. I sabotaged my family. I sabotaged myself, my jobs, paying my bills. I lost everything because I couldn't fight this ugly monster. It took 3 years to heal from the break up/ PTSD. I'm now 33. I still fight with my monster and the SVT attacks as well. I have learned that for me, I had to accept living with him. He still comes before my menstrual cycles when my hormones are out of wack and I have to take meds during that time. I have learned that keeping myself busy with the kids and the house, music always has to be on to drown my thoughts and this has helped me. Now I'm with an amazing man that doesn't judge me for the monster I live with but encourages me to fight him. It's one heck of a battle. I surround myself with people that love me. My kids, my boyfriend, his mother, and my crazy cat. Anxiety comes in many different forms and it also changes every few years and you have to relearn how to fight it again. It morphs. Anxiety is an invisible disease and it is NOT in your head. If you suffer from this same monster, I want you to know that you are one of the strongest people that exist. You are not weak by any means because anxiety on the upside, also makes you very aware of your surroundings so you always take extra precaution to make sure your family and you are safe. You don't put yourself in situations you don't think you can get of. Rollercoasters??? Never. The research you've done on learning about this monster has made you more knowledgeable. I am still learning 21 years later. I now have many ways to make the monster leave me alone. Knowing your emotional strength and letting that guide you is key to overcoming him. You are NOT alone. We are all in this fight together and I am determined to help others like me.