Wow, today has been a struggle.
Have any of you (as in my readers) experienced panic/anxiety attacks? They are very hard to describe and for someone who hasn't experienced it, they may downplay it a lot. Attacks of this kind can be very scary- my husband thought he was having a heart attack once and rode in an ambulance to the hospital. There wasn't anything major wrong with him though, it was a combination of acid reflux, which mimicked the heart thing, and a panic attack. He had never really experienced anything like that before.
I dealt with it a little when I was in 8th grade. I was watching a semi-scary movie at the movie theater and I just suddenly got very afraid, with a deep sinking feeling inside. I couldn't really describe it. The next day it was still there. And the next. And so on. I would wake up at night freaked out by 'something' and go to my mom. Finally, she told me that I was going to have to figure this out myself, because by relying on her I wasn't going to get over it. So, I left my fish tank light on at night, and if I woke up I would watch my graceful angelfish and pray till I fell asleep.
After 9-10 months, it lifted. I grew a lot in my relationship with the Lord at this point, because He got me through. I read my Bible and prayed everyday, soaking it in. At times it would get better, then I would realize I was better and start thinking about it again, and be back in the same boat for awhile. But then, I never experienced anything else like it again until one night on our honeymoon, I just got really scared for no real reason. That didn't last at all. But, after I had Alexa, my second one, I began having them in conjunction with IBS attacks. (irritable bowel syndrome) I was mostly just paranoid about having one, and then in the middle of it I would panic.
After I got that pretty much healed up, my husband started having some problems, and then I started having them again just before Sarah was born. I wasn't sleeping well and was just ready to have the baby. Afterwards I was in bad shape for awhile. I panicked about the kids catching the stomach flu and then maybe I would get it. Every time my stomach bothered me a little, or the kids woke up at night, I was so fearful that 'this was it'. I had some serious attacks too. Just about every night my stomach was upset. (duh, all the nerves!) I generally only had problems at night anyways.
So, I have battled this since then. Recently, I really seemed to have gotten over it. Used to, just talking about it or reading about someone else getting it just ruined the day. I just couldn't. I would watch TV and wonder if the characters on the shows ever got sick or worried about it. I would wonder if other people ever had stomach issues and how it affected them. I became fanatical about healthy eating etc., not take the kids to public places, be worried about taking trips etc, because 'what if we got sick?' What a fear driven life, and I'm a Christian!!
So then, I did get sick. Twice. It kind of messed me up a little thinking, what does it matter what I do? Am I doomed to always deal with this? Slowly, fear began to build up again. Then I've immersed myself in all this birth stuff, and it just really fueled the fear already building. I was still uncertain and maybe a bit worried about it last night, dreamed it, then woke up this morning with a lot of rumblings in my stomach and gas and a little diarrhea. Uh oh, I think, what's up? Am I sick again??? Of course, that starts the ball rolling.
I prayed and my husband prayed. I ate a little and took some St. John's Wort. Finally, I just couldn't bring myself to leave the house with the girls to buy the diapers I forgot and called my mom. She also went through the same things as me at the same time, and some before. I talked to her about it and she helped me a lot. I was able to feel normal again, and move on. I was able to eat too :) But, I had someone get me the diapers.
The rest of the day has been fine, because I had visitors, but then when I'm alone again with my thoughts, it can still be hard. The only way to fight thoughts is with your mouth. You just can't fight them with thoughts. Your head needs to hear what your mouth is saying to change. So typed up several scriptures and printed them off, then put them in places where I could see them easily. While preparing food I read aloud what the Bible says about fear and healing. Over time this will build faith and cause me to memorize them.
What is a panic attack? Well, it's the feelings you get from a perceived situation. Like, I wake up with the physical bad feelings, since I'm already afraid of illness, I get worried and think, I hope this isn't anything bad. Then my brain starts rolling with what if I do get sick again, what does that mean? Why? What's wrong with me? I don't feel hungry, but I don't feel sick, but I don't feel good. And so on. Eventually, I get all worked up and feel a rushing force within me full of fear- I usually have diarrhea at this point, my husband gets the chest pain- I get hot and cold and sometimes sweaty; I feel lightheaded and faint, like I can't breathe. I feel fear mostly and try to breathe through it because I know it does pass.
Crazy huh? Just by being controlled by fear, and allowing my thoughts to run loose, my body will react physically. But, if I can confess the truth with my mouth, my mind and body will listen, and if I stay focused, they will obey. It may not happen instantly, but I have had it happen that fast before. It's hard to stay calm and rational though.
So, I mainly wrote this out because I'm curious if others experience it and how they deal with it. Let me know.