Just Me, #9

Hello Friends and Fans,

A lot going on in my life right now, as you may have read in some of my previous posts, that is once again preventing me the time to respond to comments, post 4 more awards (since the last I have posted), return emails, read my wonderful blogger friend’s posts, and of course, write all that I have building up in my head that will, eventually, fill pages. I am still looking for a job while keeping up, barely, with my school work, and lately, my anxiety level has been at an acutely diabolical height that is unusual, even for me.

Yesterday, hours before the onset of my panic attack, I had a very productive day. Yes, you know me, there is always a bright side, and here is one facet of this chaotic time in my life’s bright side. I completed and caught up a lot of my homework, and then Mary took me to the bowling alley for more research on my English class ethnological, subculture study. I took a lot of great pictures, found someone not only willing, but eager to talk to me and I learned a huge amount of information from this gentleman including being introduced to several people who will be willing to give me an interview. Having turned in my Literature Review, the interviews will be the last leg of my study, before I will piece it altogether into one final report. Not only that, but I had a really nice time hanging out with Mary.

My Panic Attack post that I wrote very early this morning, I did from my WordPress app on my Blackberry, so I know how that works now. This is a very good thing, because it will allow me to post when I cannot be near my computer and can utilize time when I am also away from my school work. I will, of course, edit that post to include category (Poetic Detours), tags, and a picture of some sort. I have also been taking pictures, other than at the bowling alley, with my Nikon CoolPix digital camera, and when time permits, I will figure out how to upload the photos to my computer so that I can post the best of the bunch here on my blog. There you go, something for you to look forward to!

A quick note in regards to my panic attack—first I want to say thank you to all of you who posted comments and for the words of encouragement and support. I am, once again, very touched by how much you care about me and am very grateful for you! One common thing that was mentioned was how well I worked through the attack. I want to give recognition to three women who have made it possible for me to do this. The first is my treatment counselor, Kathy Ward, in 2005/2006 who encouraged me to seek a doctor in regards to severe depression when I first started experiencing panic attacks, roughly four months after I got clean. In taking her advice, I did seek a doctor and that led me to getting into therapy, along with a medication that helps balance both my anxiety and depression. I was dead-set against it at first, not wanting to replace one drug with another, but the attacks were becoming debilitating and I finally conceded. It was also explained to me, by Kathy, that I had done a lot of deceitful manipulation to my brain and the normal functions of the chemicals therein, so the medication will help repair and replenish those chemicals to the level they are intended to be at. Between the medication and the therapy, and staying clean and healthy, I felt much better and could function again. And the panic attacks subsided considerably!

The second woman was my second to last therapist (the last was her replacement, but her style was so basic it did not work for me), Dr. Kerri in 2008/2009. Being a therapist, she gave me different exercises to do. We would first do them together in her office and then I would take them home, work on them during the week, and then share with her how well or how little it worked. We would either add it to my “tool box” or discard it and try something new. There are two that I use regularly for panic attacks. One is deep breathing. The technique that I use is to count to eight while slowly inhaling. Not only am I counting to eight, but I am visualizing clean, positive light and energy coming in through my breath. I then hold it for two seconds, and then exhale through pursed lips, slowly but deliberately, again counting to eight, while visualizing dark, negative, energy leaving my body. This works really well. Aside from the physiological aspects that accompany deep breathing, I am also disengaging my brain from not only focusing on the thoughts that may have kicked the panic into motion, but also from focusing on the attack itself.

The second is another exercise of visualization. I close my eyes, see a bright blue sky, and see my every thought written into a balloon and drifting away from me, releasing my focus on those thoughts. This one takes a little more effort, but it does work. I generally go with the breathing, but depending on the intensity of the attack or how quickly it hits, I latch onto the first technique that enters my mind. In having made it a habit to do these exercises as soon as I think of them, I have learned to get through them without potential self-harm, which is how they were when they first started occurring in 2005.

And last, but most certainly not least, my very wise and intelligent best friend, Cherie. Through the course of our friendship, which began in 2009, I have developed a trust in her that is unbelievable to me, even now. I have opened up and shared so much of what goes on in my head, and what I have endured throughout my lifetime, that along with her support, insights, and deep understanding, has allowed things that have been broken inside of me for years, to come to light and to begin to heal. This healing and growth has resulted in my panic attacks to be very far and few between. The do occur, but on the rarest of occasions and I am able to pinpoint exactly what set them off, whereas before, I could never be sure. In opening up to her, I have opened myself up to me. Please believe me when I say, that is a rare and lovely gift!

That is all I can do for now, folks. I have an exam to prepare for and several assignments due this weekend, so, though I will try, I may not be back for a few days. I am sorry I keep getting behind, but such is life. {sigh}

Happy Spring,

-Cindy

8 responses to “Just Me, #9

  1. I am sure people will understand that you need to take time for yourself as you have alot on at the moment….your friends from WordPress will still be here when you are ready :) I also find that sometimes I never have enough time to be able to respond or read everything.

    I hope the job hunting is going well and good luck with assignments and exams.

  2. Cindy, I found this post really interesting and I could relate from a “pain” aspect and can vouch for everything you just said.

    Geezz, its like almost 25 yrs ago now I would have what they thought were gall bladder attacks, I. Would end up curled in a ball on the floor in agony. I was a single mom of a 4 year old and living 45 minutes from the nearest hospital. I would drive myself to the hospital and they would give me a few demerol because they couldn’t give me a shot because I was driving. My doctor prescribed 100 Demerol but I didn’t filled it for a year. Finally the pain won out and I started to “self medicate”. It took several years but I ended up taking 40 demerol a day in the end. Then they did the surgery and took out a perfectly good gall bladder and the pain didn’t go away but I couldn’t get any more demerol. And now I was treated like a common drug addict and told by emergency to never come back.

    I went to a pain clinic in Vancouver. they wanted me to go to detox but I refused. I said, “you get rid of the pain I’ll get off the drugs”. I was pain free and drug free within 5 weeks. Same as with you they wanted to put me on an antidepressant and I didn’t want to substitute one drug for a another. They explained that all the Demerol I’d been taking had killed my body’s natural pain fighting properties and I had to take meds to balance my body again.

    They did massage and other relaxation techniques but it was the breathing exercise that worked for me. Exactly the same thing 8 seconds, balloons, or kites and I was supposed to visualize my pain going down my arm, along the string and then I let the balloon go and watch it float away. It worked every time and I was off the other drugs within a month or two.

    I find it amazing how the mind can be that powerful.

    • Yes, it is amazing how powerful the mind can be, but I also find it amazing when I hear how someone else has had a similar experience to my own. No matter how often I encounter that, I still find it awe inspiring. I am so happy that found the truth for yourself and that you, too, are all the better for it! I really appreciate you always sharing with me. It means a lot!

      -Cindy

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