Sunday, December 18, 2011

Catching my breath

My shirt bouncing with my painfully beating heart, tingly numb body and face, hyperventilating, uncontrollable shaking and sweating.  Feeling totally detached from the world around me.  That pretty much describes my week.  I've had a few moments of relief here and there but for the most part I've lived in a constant state of panic since Tuesday evening.  I went to my DBT class on Tuesday and on my drive over my heart started to race, my vision began to go in and out and my reaction time slowed down so much that I had to pull over for a few moments to try to slow down my heart.  I was only slightly successful and drove the rest of the way to my class.

Once I actually got into the classroom my heart was racing so much that I thought about going to the emergency room down the block.  Instead I decided to try buying some benadryl, water, and raw almonds.  I quickly pumped all of them into my body hoping something would calm me down.  I didn't have my meds on me so I has hoping benadryl would help.  It didn't and I began the mindfulness meditation struggling to breathe and slow my pulse.  We were listening to this meditation with random loud chiming bells throughout the 7 minutes of silence.  Every time I made any progress in calming down my heart a bell would chime and my heart rate would fly.

Halfway through the class I went to the bathroom and sat with my head on my knees on the floor of the handicapped stall.  One of the doctors in the class came in to check on me and I told her I was okay.  She said she'd come check on me in a few minutes if I'm not able to come back.  I went to the sink and let the water pour through my fingers for a while.  That helped.  I washed my face and returned to class.  My heart rate was still insanely high and I wasn't sure if I was going to remain conscious.  I managed to stick it out until the end of class where I ran to the bathroom again in a full blown hyperventilating panic attack.  The doctor came in and sat on the floor with me asking me to do random things like describe her boots or the tile floor.  Eventually my breathing slowed and she asked me to walk around with her before we returned to get my stuff.  I apologized for being so disruptive and like everything in DBT I was praised for nothing.  "I didn't see it as a disruptive.  I saw you using a lot of skills and you stuck it out when a lot of people would have bailed."

I went to my car but my panic returned and I felt extremely faint and detached from my body.  I wasn't able to drive and had to have someone come get me.  When I got home I panicked some more and needed to take an insane amount of my anxiety medications to calm down a little bit.  I still wasn't comfortable enough to sleep and I had not slept in three days.  The next day I had a full blown panic attack in therapy with CT.  Having a panic attack in public is mortifying and humiliating.  I've always been able to keep them quiet.  Usually they only last a few minutes and I am all better when it's over but I've been staying at a pretty high level of anxiety and panic all week and I really don't know why I can't calm down.  I can't eat, sleep, leave my apartment, or move around very much.  It's really not a whole lot of fun and there is no reason for any of it.