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Trapped In A Cyclic Headspace


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Anxiety begets depression. Depression begets denial. Denial begets complacency. Complacency begets anxiety. GOTO 10. This the everyday life I have led since my world caved in 2 years ago. I am a liar. I never have a bad day. I show up to work enthusiastic and in a timely fashion everyday. I am a liar. I appear enthusiastic because I am afraid to burden those around me with my unrelenting anxieties. I show up to work in a timely fashion with great effort as every morning starts the same. I wake in a start with angina and bowels revolting against the cocktail of heart and head meds that keep me waking each day. The fear starts from the chest and I am overtaken when a tactile numbness robs me of walking steadily as I make my way to the bathroom for yet another morning ritual. The porcelain goddess awaits her offering and once my stomach is empty the cramping effectively distracts me enough to allow for minimum self care before heading out to work. The short drive to work is filled with dread. What if I get fired today? What could I have done that would get me fired? What if I have an accident (as I work in the a field that any accident could put several young lives in jeopardy:) I do this line of work against the insistence of my PCP simply because it is the only job I have ever had that I can hold down barely. What if I begin to panic while at work. I have quit jobs simply because I had a panic attack, masquerading as a heart attack, been whisked away by ambulance. I never quit directly, i just never returned because I was too afraid and embarrassed to admit I do not actually feel as if I never have a bad day. What if this happens again? Should I have another episode I will relocate to a different town because someone I used to work with might recognize me and ask questions.

Before 2011 I was pretty normal... for me anyway. I have always struggled with anxiety to a lesser degree. It wasn't painful, it just made me a touch spazzy. It was completely manageable At 29 I had my first heart attack and that experience led to a series of events that have created the wreckage I am now. The first heart attack was almost my end. It was a frightening experience in which many times I faded into death, where the world fell away in silent, cold darkness, only to come back on fire as my half wakened self experienced the searing pain of defibrilation . My dreams are haunted by the agonizingly slow pain that crept through me as I was revived time and time again. I hadn't even hit middle age yet and already it seemed my mortality was something made of nightmares. My health, and the increase in anxiety and depression that followed no doubt aided in the accidental death (possible suicide) of my husband. His struggle began many years before I met him, but no doubt compounded by my own sudden need for support. In years passed, I didn't need support of any kind. I was completely and proudly self reliant. Suddenly I needed a kind of help I didn't know how to ask for. None came.

In the days that followed I spent countless hours alone in ICU, flat on my back, immovable save for the crunching monster inside my chest that came in the form of a heart pump. Hours I listened to the expansion and deflation of the pump, sick from morphine and loneliness... most of all fear. He never came to sit at my side, instead took my absence as a means to return to old drug habits. The fear grew long after I was released and it seemed our lives had returned to the same old psuedo-normalcy. He had no patience for my irrational fears and bouts of depression so it never seemed appropriate to me to share my darker thoughts with him. I continued to never have a bad day, even though my body hurt and my thoughts hurt even worse.

I struggled to return to my former self for the sake of our daughter. I pushed myself physically and emotionally to keep my home in order, flitting from this specialist to that in an effort to con some doctor into releasing me back into the workforce. One day my husband did not come home. Something inside me broke as I sat on the back patio, chain smoking, watching the road through the trees for any semblance of headlights. 3 days, only moving to void myself and care for my daughter, i waited for his return. Everything seemed to erupt from my mind at once. All the fear and depression suddenly refused to be contained neatly in my own denial. I don't truly feel anger, I really never have, but that day was the closest I had ever come to it. That day my daughter and I had had enough and moved into a hidden women's shelter. 4 days later he was dead.

My dreams are filled with false memories of him. I sometimes feel a cold pit of dread, wondering if he hadn't died at all, but is out there still, and really p*****. Now it is just the two of us. A crazy, half-dead mother afraid of her own shadow and a child. My body constantly rejects my desire to be functional, fueled by the incompetence of my emotional state. So each day I go to work feeling a deep set sense of dread. If I weren't so afraid of somene seeing me cry, I would cry every time I drove to work. When the panic takes over and I am physically unable to function i hide from the world. I literally hide in a closet, clutching a bottle of nitro tabs just in case this time it really isn't panic but another heart attack ready to claim me. When the panic subsides I avoid answering my phone, talking to people. I can't even call in sick but instead send an e-mail to announce my leave lest someone at work finds an issue with my absence.

Medication works some, but I have yet to find one that hasn't sent me into severe side effects. From bowel abnormalities that caused me to become sick with dehydration to panic so terrible that I have an overwhelming compulsion to run away from my own skin to seizures, sleep disturbance and interactions with other medicines I am beginning to wonder if trying medication is even worth the pain and trouble. The worst side of effect of any serotonin modifier is that it robs me of the one thing that has helped me maintain the facade of the eternal good day, my aesthetic escape mechanisms. The pencil denies me, the brush betrays me and the wonderful places unseen by no other being except me remain locked away behind a door of temporary numbness.

Therapy cannot work as long as I am afraid to share my innermost thoughts and I maintain my "good day" facade. I am two facets of one being, a terrible gestalt of logic and emotions that constantly war with one another. My mind bids me to speak, to tell the truth of my frightening thoughts, but my emotions tremble in fear, denying me any such release. To say things aloud makes them concrete, real. I am afraid to make some truths real. The best I can do is write them down in an arena in which I know I cannot watch the facial reactions of the reader.

I am also afraid of receiving responses to my thoughts but as I look around to my surroundings I realize something has to change. I have neglected my own personal care to the point of being offensive to others and neglected my surroundings to the point of paralyzing embarrassment. The shades are drawn to keep the outside from seeing the chaos of my home yet as I look around I am too overwhelmed to make it change. Logically it is such an easy thing, "Just get off your ass and do something... take a shower, vacuum your carpet, at least pick up for God's sake" Daily i say these things to myself. It should be so easy.. but for some reason that continues to elude me it is insurmountably difficult. When I begin to make a change, begin to run a bath, start loading the dishwasher... gather the laundry the panic takes over and I'm completely useless for hours.

Perhaps what frightens me most is that this cycle will not end.

Sorry this was long... and rather superfluous.

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So Sorry for Your Suffering Sae,

inorder to break this suffering and cycle of feelings you may need to do something different.

For me I called my Pdoc and checked my self into the Phospital He was working with.

Inhospital my cycle was broken by starting on different meds and receiving encouagement. There I also received a great deal of individual CBT and Group Therapy.. I would highly recommend it. I have been inhospital for help several times and always left with stonger and more tools for copeing against the Depression and Anxiety. I am a better man for it.

Just Never Give Up. There is Help out there

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Dear Sae...

If you read my profile, you'll find we have quite a lot in common. Though I didn't suffer a heart attack, I did nearly die in 2008 of Legionnaire's, spent 5 days in a coma on life support, 2 weeks in the hospital, and 5 and a half years of physical, mental and emotional hell ever since. My son was 7 and I am a single mom. His father is virtually nonexistent in his life so I shudder to think what would have happen to him. In fact, I think I saw his future when I was unconscious and that's what brought me back, knowing he could not grow up without a mother.

I also was married more than 25 years ago (not my son's father) to an abusive man. I managed to escape but all these years later, I still have nightmares that I'm back with him and I can't leave, too afraid. I awake sweating and shaking. It's a wonder I sleep at all and if it weren't for medication, I wouldn't.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, an end to the cycle. It doesn't happen overnight but gradually you'll begin to find something to look forward to every day, a reason to get out of bed. Something will make you smile, maybe even laugh (it will feel foreign, even wrong at first). You'll find you're less afraid of life and learn to take it one day at a time. Please talk to your doctor, and be honest. And all those people you think you're fooling, remember that about 75% of them are going through some type of depression or mental illness of their own and you'd probably be surprised at who. Don't feel alone...look at how many members we have on this forum, and that's just people who are willing to reach out for help and companionship.

Your post touched me, I saw so much of me there (smoking is also my escape, although I smoke outside, live in Minnesota and it's about 2 degrees so I've cut down dramatically recently). Just never give up hope. There's always hope. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk....

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