it was too soon for me to really go into detail about my anxiety attack. I managed to only summarize it.
so what is an anxiety attack, anyway?
Merriam-Webster defines a panic attack as:
an episode of intense fear or apprehension that is of sudden onset and may occur for no apparent reason or as a reaction to an identifiable triggering stimulus (as a stressful event); specifically : one that is accompanied by usually four or more bodily or cognitive symptoms (as heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, or feelings of unreality) and that typically peaks within 10 minutes of onset
other sources note the following symptoms during an attack:
- chest pain or discomfort
- dizziness or faintness
- fear of dying
- fear of losing control or impending doom
- feeling of choking
- feelings of detachment
- feelings of unreality
- nausea or upset stomach
- numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or face
- palpitations, fast heart rate, or pounding heart
- sensation of shortness of breath or smothering
- sweating, chills, or hot flashes
- trembling or shaking
basically, it sucks.
and you can’t predict it. I woke up late Wednesday morning, by at least an hour. I thought I would be okay to go in. but as I was getting dressed, it just hit. I literally collapsed onto the floor and began bawling.
another thing they don’t tell you about anxiety attacks is that you don’t really know what’s going on. so many sites have articles like, “How to Halt and Minimize Panic Attacks” or “3 Tips to Stop Panic Attacks“. bitch please. I can’t even remain standing on my legs, and I’m supposed to control my breathing? I’m having an asthma attack, and you expect me to merely “try mindfulness” during the attack? who the fuck are you kidding??
so I spazzed for a while. I have no idea how long. apparently long enough that Brian had to go on campus. so he called my mother. she came over and sat with me for while, until Brian got back. again, I can only vaguely recall her being there. the whole day is just so dark in my mind, I can’t see anything that happened.
when Brian got back and Mum left, I laid on the floor in the office at his feet and slept for four hours. when Kiera got there in the evening, that was when I woke up. I had calmed down relatively so by this point, so I actually remember the remainder of the day.
apparently, at some point during my pseudo-seizuring, I kicked a large hole in the bathroom wall. it seems I was lying on the floor flailing, and my heel just went straight through the drywall. whee.
we are so not getting our deposit back….
after a panic attack, you’re left indescribably exhausted. like, I felt as if I could sleep for a week. or as if I had done a triathlon on one leg with my hands tied behind my back. eating was difficult. just lifting a spoon to my mouth took an unbelievable amount of energy — energy that I didn’t have.
and of course, you’re left with restless sleep that night. you have nightmares and the sweats. you wake up constantly, usually from something awful happening in a dream. your brain isn’t done processing what happened to it a few hours ago, what happened to your body. it’s still confused. so it analyzes what happened while you sleep. which, of course, means you don’t get any actual sleeping done.
so then the next day, after all that emotional turmoil and no rest, you’re tired all over again.
it was awesome. not.