So I had an anxiety attack on Monday. Such is the case with me, there was really no trigger that I am aware of. Sure a few things could have aided in pushing me to the ledge, but no ONE thing I can put my finger on.
I spent the morning struggling to keep myself from falling off the ledge and in retrospect I seriously wonder if the struggle was worth it. I reached out to one of my pillars (my eldest daughter who has the unfortunate inherited gene of anxiety disorder but the wherewithal to understand the disorder far better than I do). By midday, I felt I was under control again, although I was exhausted. I finished my day at work, and went home.
The next morning I continued listening to my lectures on mindfulness and understanding how to have compassion for one’s self and the egocentric effects of perfectionism. (Both hitting home as I am overflowing with compassion for others and next to none for myself while all the time beating myself up for never being good enough). I turned it off as I began to feel weepy. It was shortly after that that I first heard of the senseless terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in the U.K. That was it… I was overwhelmed with sadness and darkness. How can anyone want to live in his hate-filled world. This was not an anxiety attack anymore, it was the deep dark pit of depression hell. The post-anxiety reality.
For days, I couldn’t muster enthusiasm. I wanted to sleep all the time and as a matter of fact, I would become so overwhelmed with exhaustion, my eyes would not stay open. My brain felt like it was scrambled. The sensation was something like I have never experienced. It was like my head was a watermelon and the pulp, my brain, had been scooped out, puréed and poured back in. If I sneezed or coughed, it literally felt sloshy. Oh and the inability to form sentences. Well I could form them in my head, but the words got caught in my teeth. Simple everyday functions like remembering to turn off the water or how to use my computer mouse were difficult. Colors were dulled. Tastes were bland. I had tightness in my chest and arm.
Why do I feel the need to blog about this…well, now that I know what I have I am forever on a quest to understand it. I took “mindful” notice of the after-effects of the anxiety. To quote the lecturer, I allowed the feelings to “arise and fall away” – although that didn’t happen in a matter of seconds, minutes or even hours. This feelings hung around until Friday. First my power to speak returned, then my focus and concentration (I regained the power to move my mouse), and then finally the exhaustion faded.
Recognizing these post-anxiety musings does not make the fear of future anxiety attacks any less, nor does it make me feel like the next one will be any easier. I still find it hard to find brightness or goodness in this world. I know it is there and I know I will find it again.