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.
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.
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.
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.
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