Another day in Paradise!

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I have had two anxiety attacks within the past month. To be honest, it is getting out of hand.  Between the long hours of work, MIL situation, and high stress, my mental health is taking its toll on me.

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The first anxiety attack happened as I watched Kobe Bryant’s last game. It wasn’t because I was sad he was leaving the game of basketball, more so due to the fact that I felt like I was in sheer terror. Sometimes, I can be in the middle of a conversation, and I get a paralyzing fear of everything. Nothing in particular sets it off. I have been to the emergency room twice within a year. Only to leave with papers that tell me I am completely fine.

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The first paralyzing attack happened while I was watching the Laker game. Noticing a change in my body language, my wife asked me if I was okay. That prompted me to break down in tears, having a meltdown for no apparent reason. I know that I have an anxiety issue. My real issue is how I will deal with it. The second anxiety attack that was horrid, happened while taking my wife through a drive-thru. The fear of impending doom, left me in a state of apoplectic shock. I was totally disoriented. There felt like these invisible walls closing in on my chest, heart palpitations, that made me want to jump out of my car and run away screaming. I just could not take it. As I practiced my breathing exercises, I mustered enough courage to push my way through the trivial task. I couldn’t figure out what happened. So I ended up vomiting when I got home, only to go to E.R., with advice from a hotline nurse from the hospital.

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I walked in fine, jovial and all with no malingering.  They took me in immediately after explaining my symptoms. This was about 11:30 pm and they were telling me that there was a six hour wait. I willfully agreed and sat down after getting my vitals checked. I must have waited 3 and 1/2 hours before getting checked out. Falling in out of sleep, only to be bothered by the nearest push-door to be opened by nurses and security guards. My mind focused on my breathing, while contemplating the possible outcome of some dire result that would confirm my worst fears. Toddlers and young children bursted through that push-door, as concerned parents coddled their crying seed. I witnessed a young African-American woman, similar to my age, festering resentment for having to wait “six-hours” to be seen. Speaking on the phone with her mother, she complained “They want me to wait six fucking hours! Girl, its already 1 o’clock. I gotta put my daughter to sleep”. Bleary-eyed and confused, I awoke to the cacophony of noises. Averting my gaze, as if I was not to appear too nosey, I listened in.  Her 4 year old daughter, wearing a cast on her fragile arm, became irritable due to the mixture of  fatigue  and  frustration of a mysterious pain in her arm.  The child was incessantly whining in the background, as the mother tried to soothe her daughter and hold a conversation. Between the loud speaker on her earpiece, and the hollow space of the four walls that surrounded us, I made out a voice who I assumed to be her mother. “Just grab your shit and go back home, come back at six in the morning. They will hold your spot and you could pick up where you left off!! You aint gots ta wait!”the voice on the phone said. Emboldened by the encouraging words, the mother laid her daughter in the cramped hospital seat, as she approached a nearby nurse. She explained the plan and the nurse unwaveringly said, “Once you leave, you have to start from scratch, I am so sorry, but that is not how it works.” To her chagrin, she became disgruntled and slouched with a defeated body language. Only to grab her frustrated toddler and return the next morning. 5 minutes later another woman interrupted my sleep. An overweight dark-skinned African-American woman who was in her late thirties sat across from me.

 

She spoke loud on her telephone, cursing and grunting. Upset that she was not receiving the expedient service she wanted. She held her stomach as she winced in pain. She blared out, “How long have ya’ll been already waiting?!” I told her a couple of hours, and she became irate at me, as if it were my fault. The cacophonies and door-slamming continued, only to be awoken by a nurse who would escort me into an emergency dorm room. The doctor checked all of my vitals, and explained to me that what I was experiencing was more psychiatric than anything else. My numbers were well and everything was on point. This was what I knew would be most likely the case. Relieved and disappointed, I grabbed my patient belongings and headed back home.

 

Anxiety disorder is an issue that I have been dealing with for quite some time. I believe that anxiety is somewhat of a natural human characteristic. The original Sapiens, had anxiety when hunting in pre-historic Sabertooth Tiger territory. Sapiens were both predator and prey, in a world that was far different from ours. Anxiety is a natural feeling to have, it can actually help in certain instances. My problem is that I cannot control my anxiety. It gets out of hand. I try to mask the symptoms as they occur, but usually my body language says everything. I don’t know what to do. Due to the fear mongering of a lot of homeopathic activists, who also have blogs, I become very leery on taking drugs, only to find out that I am solely dependent on Zoloft of Prozac for the rest of my life. I have read stories of impotence, brain zaps, nervous tics, and lack of sleep as side effects of the drug. I do not want to go down that path. There are other ways to allay anxiety, however, it would be hard to accomplish those things while working 12-14 hours a day.

 

Thanks for reading my blog, drop a comment below and let me know what you guys think.

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25 thoughts on “Another day in Paradise!

  1. Anxiety can be so crippling! I suffered from attacks shortly after my relationship ended with my daughter’s father and the Adavan was not my friend…it only made me sleep walk and leave my daughter alone in the house while walking up the street with my pants in my hands. Have you considered mediation? Maybe using an object solely associated with your meditation state that you can focus on when you feel the attach coming on?

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      1. LOL! I am a firm believer in not taking drugs! It’s a big business and the FDA is not looking out for our best interest. I can understand some meds with serious psychological disorders that cause hallucinations and such but I also find they love to put people on medicine without addressing the route cause. Maybe try a homeopathic doctor? Do some research but an mmj card is a great start! LOL

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      2. Yeah, I think homeopathic remedies may be a start. I become afraid of meds, when I hear stories like yours. I check out threads of different patients who struggle with many forms of mental health problems, and for every 7 out of 10, you hear those stories about side effects. If its not weight gain, it is insomnia, or just something.

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  2. I know a couple people with anxiety disorder. They take anti-depressants to treat it with mediocre results at best. It does seem to affect sleep and you can’t just quit cold turkey. One of the guys I know did that after being on meds for 15 years and he was on the door step of a nervous breakdown. CBT is apparently one of the more effective routes.

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  3. Ever written a detailed comment only to find you were disconnected? I just did and nearly thought, OK won’t bother, but then I thought, hell, you’ve got something to say … so here it is again. Seems to me like work can’t be helping, if only because it doesn’t leave you enough time to work on yourself. They take your time so they can’t expect all your energy too. Any chance of soft-pedalling on the job – meditating, napping, writing for yourself, etc? I had panic attacks in my 20s – classic dissociation, no evident trigger – though the root cause was living with the tension of my unhappy, arguing parents. 2mg of valium daily was enough to help me think straight and that was the answer. Couldn’t meditate at all at first but slowly came back plus yoga helped. Good luck, my friend, it’s a sign of intelligence in a crazy world! 🙂

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  4. Valerian root and saint Johns wort gave me relief whereas the SSRIs tormented my mind badly. I understand this feeling but I wouldn’t right it off as anxiety just yet. Often times, anxiety is a warning signal from the brain that something in the physical body is malfunctioning. Vitamin b12 deficiencies can even cause psychosis, let alone anxiety. Hang in there, you’re not alone! I like your writing flow… hit close to my heart. Thanks ❤

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  5. I’m sorry to read about your anxiety and about your unpleasant night at the hospital. For no apparent reason, I am also having a weekend consisting of waves of anxiety–it’s taking me a while to type this because my hands are shaking. My family doctor has me on a couple of medications, and he also had me cut back on coffee. I’ve had a year of CBT and have been working on breathing and mindfulness. Neither of us is alone in this, and–God willing–we’ll both pull through. J.

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  6. Eddie! I was just about to tweet you and ask how the MIL situation is. Sorry to hear about the anxiety. I haven’t read all of the above comments, but you might want to search for a holistic doctor who takes health insurance. It’s a hard find, but it’s worth it because they won’t try to load you up on meds. Be well my friend!

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  7. Hey, I liked this post but do not like that you have anxiety issues. I’m so sorry you have them. I’ve had it most of my life so I relate. Best wishes to you.

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  8. Okay, Eddie, I’m going to come at it from a bit of a different angle here. Yes, diet and regular exercise and all that are very important, but please do not just write off medications. Yes, some of them have side effects, but the trick is finding some side effects you can live with, or finding the med with the least about of side effects for you–because everyone’s body is different. I spent six years on sertraline (Zoloft), then was off meds for close to ten years, and have just started on venlafaxine (Effexor). I have not had a SINGLE panic attack since starting the venlafaxine. NOT ONE. Life-changing!

    Mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are not just in our minds. They are physical. Just as someone with bacterial pneumonia needs antibiotics, and someone with cancer might need chemo, sometimes people with anxiety need anxiolytics. Someone above mentioned Ativan, which is a benzodiazepine. Personally, I would not want to take those because they are addictive and very sedative–but that’s me. There are also SSRIs and SSNIs. Just do some research about it NOT on the fearmongering sites before you make a decision. Panic attacks and severe anxiety are f*cking crippling, as you know. You deserve to be free of this.

    Also, and I’m sure you know this as well, no amount of meds or homeopathic remedies or St. John’s Wort is going to cure you when the circumstances of your life are so stressful. At most, they can help keep the panic at bay. But the MIL and your work and all that? You know what’s contributing to your stress. Is there some way you can tackle those things?

    I hate taking meds. Hate, hate, hate it. But I am glad to have my sleep back (no more insomnia) and my life back (no more anxiety so bad I couldn’t go to the grocery store without panic), and to be free of the panic attacks. It can take a while to find the med that works for you, but there’s very likely one out there. Good luck!!!!!

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  9. Yeah pot is the only thing that helped me with my anxiety. It used to be so bad I couldn’t even get on a city bus or go to a store without freaking out. Going to class was the worst; having to sit there in a room full of people, unable to focus. Then I started smoking every day and now it’s not nearly as bad and I don’t have to smoke anymore, although I still will when I move to Seattle for my Borderline Personality Disorder. Breathing exercises do help but not when you’re having a major attack. I personally still think it’s better than getting on meds that you become dependent on for the rest of your life. Working in home healthcare for years I cared for many people who would tell me they felt the psych meds made their condition worse but felt powerless against their therapists or caseworkers to stop meds without loosing their housing benefits.

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  10. Thanks for writing about this, Eddie. I deal with anxiety attacks myself, although I didn’t realize it until a little over a month ago. It can be a minefield. Wish you all the support in the world – take care of yourself!

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  11. Oh wow! What an ordeal you went through! I also suffer from anxiety so I get it. But you put it into great words.
    The palpitations, doom feelings. Wow I get it.
    Take it easy and definitely find some techniques to calm you and learn when it’s about to hit.
    No Meds!!!!!
    Hold on friend, hold on.

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