Tears sting my eyes.
The bottoms of my feet and the palms of my hands are sweaty.
My heart beats rapidly. Chills take over my body.
My chest feels like it’s caving in… I’m dying. I just know it.
Quick, short breaths… over and over and over and over. Breathe, Amy, breathe. I finally get control… somewhat…. maybe.
I’m restless. I’m anxious. My nerves feel like they’re going to poke through my skin.
Thoughts–thousands of thoughts rumble and bounce off the walls of my brain. I can’t control them. There is no rationale, no reason.
While eating, I feel like I can’t swallow, and I have to spit out my food.
It feels like hell inside my body.
Simultaneously (which really sucks), or at a different time, the second whammy hits…
The smallest annoyance or pet peeve makes my eyes roll in the back of my head so far I don’t think they’ll make it back to center.
My mouth opens, moves, and says things without thought or my permission.
During the day, I’m hot and uncomfortable. My whole body’s sweaty, even though I have the thermostat set at 68, and I’m dressed in minimal clothes.
I double over with stomach cramps, my head hurts, my brain is fuzzy–so damn fuzzy.
Moods–they come and go, come and go. I cry. I laugh. I scream. I cry. I laugh. I scream.
At night, the fan spins as fast as it can go, the thermostat still set low, and I sweat like it’s 90 degrees in my bedroom as I try to find sleep.
I’m so agitated, clammy, twitchy.
When times like this hang over me like a week-long storm (or two, or three weeks), I crawl inside an imaginary hole, steer clear from anyone I may upset or offend, and try to wade through the rough waters of restlessness and anxiousness.
See, I’m not normal. My body’s not normal. My brain isn’t all that normal either. That being said, let me make it clear… I’m okay with that. I’m not one to revel in normalcy.
I have panic and anxiety attacks. Combine that with the fact my hormones are all out of sorts–like off the charts wacky (no joke)– and there you have it, a yo-yo of feelings and fears–a double whammy. My emotions have no boundaries and my thoughts race beyond my capability to restrain them.
Yes, I’m under the care of a doctor. I think it’s very important to work with a professional to understand my mind and body as much as I possibly can. I’ve personally decided to go off estrogen and testosterone for my hormone issues. I’m trying to deal with it naturally with exercise and what I eat.
To try to rein it all in, I have to quiet myself. Slow myself down. I practice Ujjayi breathing and yoga. If needed, I allow myself to completely break down, and sometimes, I forget why I’m crying or why I’m upset. Most of time, the trigger for a panic attack is irrational. There is no clear explanation and that’s especially true when paired with messed up hormones.
When all else fails, I’ve done all I can, and the anxiety is too much for me to quell, I go to my purse, open the bottle, and take a Xanax. It’s a last resort that I have no shame in.
Eventually, it all fades. The mental-sun rises. The fog clears. Everything feels anew–just like a beautiful rainbow after a storm.
I’m not alone in this cycle of anxiety, emotions, and hormones. I’ve talked to many people who deal with the same issues. Yes, everyone’s situation and circumstances are different, but the manifestation of angst is real, no matter the trigger.
For me, the key is to surround myself with those who understand me, who don’t criticize me, who don’t judge me. It’s so important to know you have people you can turn to. When you feel alone, the dark hole of emotions seems endless. Being able to reach out without fear is like drinking water during dehydration. It fills the soul with necessities.
Those of us who suffer may not know how to express what we’re feeling, but having someone to listen to our jumbled thoughts can be healing. And when we we can’t express ourselves at all, a simple hug (even virtual ones) can mean everything. Those close to us don’t have to understand or “get it”; all they have to do is support and love us through it.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I accumulate an enormous amount of guilt for those who have to deal with the whirlwind and plethora of emotions during the time of attacks. There are times I don’t want to tell my husband that I’m having anxiety or that I feel the thunder of hormones approaching. I can only imagine the dread that (probably) washes over him. However, I’ve learned to be honest. I tell him anyway. And, guess what? I’m glad I do.
“What can I do to help?”
That very simple question, along with a hug, is like he’s wrapping me in a blanket and handing me a glass of red wine. Oh, wait… that’s exactly what he does sometimes. He never tries to push his way through my anxiety or pressure me to talk about it. He’s just there and that’s all I need to know. I have a fabulous husband. I am so grateful for his love and support. I’m grateful for ALL my wonderful friends and family. I have no clue what I would do without them.
Anxiety and screwed up hormones don’t define who I am. They may try hard to bring me down, but I’m stronger, better, bigger, and badder than they are. And, if you deal with the same, so are you! Never forget that.
We have to stay focused on our core–our true, authentic selves. We can conquer anything we struggle with. We are strong. We are powerful. We are worth it.
Until next time…
Love life. Be Kind. Be genuine. Eliminate the negative, false, and vain. Peace, love, and happiness to all.