Last week I was very tired. My muscles hurt. My brain was fuzzy, i.e. I lacked mental clarity. Wasn’t hungry or thirsty. Coped with 1 birthday, 1 holiday, and over time at work.
The nightmares started Thursday. Waking up frozen in fear and unable to breathe started late Friday/early Saturday. Waking up in the middle of the night for no reason started late Wednesday/early Thursday. The gas and abdominal pain decreased after acupuncture treatment on Tuesday, but flared up again on Friday.
I have to say that rubbing my tummy in a clockwise position really does help to get things moving in there and relieve some of the pain. Hard to imagine, but gas really does hurt until the body lets it out. So does everything else that gets stuck in there. Cause pain I mean.
And abdominal pain causes pain in other places too. For me, it causes low back pain and pain further up my chest. Then breathing deep becomes a challenge. Then breathing shallow becomes a challenge. Finally, I have to consciously remember to breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
Waking up Saturday morning, I felt fine in bed. Going down the ladder was slightly uncomfortable because I felt off balance. Then I go to the floor.
My body rebelled. Said: “Get me to the bathroom ASAP”
In I went. And so started the panic attack with my body in pain as it tried to eliminate waste.
Normally, this is not a big deal. Panic attacks like this have eased up a lot with coping strategies in place.
But this time was different. We had a time limit. By we, I mean all of us mental alters and our body (considers itself an alter too). And the time limit caused even more triggers. Caused a regression back to those times when nothing but passing out into unconsciousness made the pain stop. Without the time limit, maybe we could have made it to therapy.
But with less than an hour to work through the panic attack, everything quickly got worse instead of better. Not until I texted the counselor to tell her that we couldn’t go because of a panic attack did the pain ease. 50 minutes later, the panic attack was over.
And I missed counseling. Takes about 10 minutes to dress and leave. Takes about 15 minutes to walk there on a good day. By the time I arrived, the session would be mostly over.
Coping Strategies that worked:
- Repeating the following mantra: “I love you. You love you. We love you. I love us. You love us. We love us. I trust you. You trust you. We trust you. We trust our body. I am safe. You are safe. We are safe.” to start.
- Reminding ourselves: “We are safe at home. This is our bathroom. We can stay as long as we want. We can leave and come back any time.”
- Finally: “Pain is a warning system and reminder. Pain eases as our body does its job. We trust our body to do what is necesssary to keep us safe.”
- Belly rubs and back massage to help stuff on the inside move out.
- Removing any layers that felt uncomfortable against the skin.
- Breathing and changing position as needed to ease physical discomfort.
- Cleaning up; putting on clothes or not; taking care of other needs like food and water; sleeping again.
Staying at home was the best thing to do. Following the panic attack, I had a light meal and slept for about 5 hours straight. During that sleep, my mind and body waged war with whatever was causing the heightened anxiety and panic attack symptoms.
Woke up feeling refreshed and hungry for the first time all week.
Was it my grandmother’s birthday? Was it Chinese New Year and my conscious choice not to celebrate? Was it working over time? Was it an email from my cousin? Was it an email from the college admissions team requesting a call next week to inform me of their decision?
I honestly don’t know. All I do know it that I’m tired and grumpy. Today, for the first time in over a week, I actually woke up feeling rested and like myself. I worked some more; did laundry; cooked a few meals. And now I’m exhausted.
Also a little worried. Missing appointments is a big deal and something I work hard not to do.
How do you handle missed appointments?
Thanks for reading.