…from confidence to self doubt in 60 seconds…
No, but I know a black girl who grew up in Queens, with BOTH of her parents, who went to a special school for academics, participated in a program at a Bio lab at Queens College for a summer, and took photos for her HS yearbook.
Apparently there are people out there that think that someone like me couldn’t possibly exist
The title of this post is lame, but it’s true. August 2012 is a weird month that I will never forget, because it was a rollercoaster, but ended really well.
This is all stuff I covered before. So here’s the big news:
I’d been actively looking for a new position for the last four and a half years, so I’m very excited for the opportunity. I got to give my notice on Friday, and that really made it the best day of my life.
And the icing on the cake:
So yeah, August was painful, exhausting, and ended full of joy and excitement.
So much happened last month that I took a hiatus from editing photos while all of this was going on, because I stopped enjoying it, which slowed me down and it became too time consuming. I have several sets to sort and post, and I look forward to getting those up for everyone to see in the near future.
So, I had a pretty intense panic attack yesterday, and today I’m still feeling the effects. For those of you who have never had a panic attack, you need to understand that it can take a while for a person’s body to recover from that shock.
Yesterday, my chest and upper back were sore for at least 5-6 hours after the panic subsided. Obviously, the soreness in my chest was from the violent, rapid heart rate. While I was having the panic attack, muscles all over my body became tense, and there were also some muscle spasms. This, of course, affected my injured right rotator cuff, and it proceeded to throb until I broke down and took Advil several hours later.
This morning I woke up to muscle soreness throughout my core, sore thighs, and tender biceps. I fully expected my abdomen and lower back to be sore, but the thighs and biceps were a surprise. I guess my body was working extra hard to help me keep the car on the road since the attack came on while I was driving, and all of this soreness is a result of that.
I still feel off. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s almost a hollow feeling. I’m physically and mentally exhausted, but I managed to make it to work early, and I don’t know how I pulled that off. I kinda feel like I’m moving in slow motion, and I feel kinda washed out.
And then there is the guilt. I feel guilty for texting my friend and telling my coworker. Both of them have other stresses in their lives, and I feel like a burden to them.
The friend I texted remained cool under fire, because that’s just how he’s wired. He didn’t panic, or give me any unsolicited advice (until after it was long over), and most importantly, he didn’t feed my fears and allow things to escalate. He’s also up early, so I knew he’d see my message hours before anyone else would. I feel bad for involving him, and I feel bad for making him worry, but he reacted the right way, and that’s why I chose to message him.
So that’s what it’s like. It’s a shock to your system, and it hits you on the physical, mental, and emotional levels, all at the same time. The after-effects can last for hours, or days, depending on how bad the panic was. And those of us who suffer panic attacks usually feel guilty for subjecting our loved ones to it. It’s a thoroughly awful thing.
So I had my fourth full-blown panic attack since February this morning. It started sometime after 4:30am, and I only know that, because I texted a close friend (that I trust completely) shortly after I realized what was going on. I woke up after it already started, and to be honest, initially it didn’t feel like it was going to turn into a full attack. I felt like someone was standing on my rib cage, and both of my arms were tingling. Every heartbeat felt like someone was beating a tympani inside my chest, and I could feel it all the way in my ears and toes.
I managed to get another hour of sleep, and woke up to a concerned text from my friend (and to his credit, he manages to show concern without getting nervous or flailing or reacting in a way that can make my panic attacks worse, which is one of the reasons I reach out to him). This was a few minutes after 6:00am. At this point, my heart rhythm and beat intensity were both normal, and my arms were a little tingly, but I felt like the panic had subsided.
I got ready for work, hopped in the whip, and was driving into downtown Raleigh, when I was suddenly gripped by a full-fledged panic attack while merging onto Capital Boulevard. My heart rate probably hit about 150 for a few moments, but slowed slightly as the panic settled in and gripped me. The entire episode lasted about five minutes, and was accompanied by tingling arms, sweating, and shortness of breath. Luckily, my adrenaline kicked in, and I didn’t get woozy or disoriented, because that would’ve been bad whilst driving.
About a block away from the parking deck, my heart rate and rhythm dropped back to normal. It’s been about 2 hours since the attack ended, and the rest of the symptoms are still fading away. I am physically exhausted, and I feel like I ran five miles and dead-lifted 200lbs.
So that’s what a panic attack is like for me. I feel like someone is standing on my chest, and I can’t take in a full breath. Sometimes just my arms start to tingle, but if the attack is intense enough or lasts long enough, my legs can go tingly too. My heart rate goes from resting to rates that I’d expect if I were doing high-intensity cardio training (140-160bpm). Sometimes my heart misses beats, and my pulse can get thready. I am instantly covered in sweat from head-to-toe, and I can also get dizzy. Sounds like a blast, right? Well that’s not the worst of it.
The worst part is that I feel like a burden. When attacks happen around family and friends, I know I’m a burden on them. I get babied and coddled, and I get concerned looks for days afterwards. Sometimes their reaction to my panic attack makes the episode physically worse for me. If I’m alone, I usually try to reach out to one of my friends to let them know what’s going on, which is the responsible thing to do just in case something worse happens. But then I become a burden to the person on the receiving end of the text or phone call. I used to let my parents know when I had panic attacks, but I don’t anymore after my dad’s major illness last year, because they have enough to worry about. If it is a particularly bad attack (I had one that lasted over 90 minutes), I usually end up missing work, which makes me a burden to my coworkers.
So at the end of it all, you feel emotionally and physically drained, and a burden to your loved ones. It’s a wretched thing, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Having a Captain America shirt is really handy on patriot-flavored holidays. Thanks to the Avengers movie, I’ve also noticed that people listen to me and follow my orders more readily when I wear the shirt. Odd, but totally cool.