"Come on, my enemy, we have yet to wrestle for our lives; but many hard and miserable hours must you endure until that period shall arrive." -Mary Shelley
Ah, insomnia. My old foe.
I was going to save most of this for a blog video I intended to do in the morning. But, alas, yet again I cannot sleep. Which means the likelihood of my being awake and coherent enough to record a video tomorrow morning is slim to none. Yay for yet another one of the side effects of anxiety.
I've spent much of the last two days sleeping--or, at the very least, sleeping in late. Though I've been "feeling better" following my last bout of anxiety/depression flare-up, I am still recovering from the aftermath. As if the actual attacks aren't bad enough, there's the headaches, and the fatigue, and the lightheadedness, and the nausea that follows. So much fun, let me tell you.
You see, there are actually several different types of anxiety disorders, each one with its own symptoms and side-effects, ranging from social anxiety to post traumatic stress disorder to obsessive compulsive disorder. Then there is generalized anxiety disorder, which fits most of the stereotypical molds, and is associated with excessive worry and an almost irrational sense of urgency or sometimes even borderline paranoia.
Then there's the anxiety disorder that I'm cursed with. Panic disorder.
What has surprised me the most about this particular disorder is the severe physiological impact. No one really knows what causes a panic attack, but at any given moment, through a series of rational and even irrational triggers, my body will shoot into full on flight-or-fight mode. My heart rate will shoot up, I'll begin to hyperventilate, the room will spin, and I'll suddenly be overcome with this incredible sense of dread. It's as if my body were screaming from the inside, desperate to get away from some totally unforeseen danger lurking just beneath the skin. If you've ever had to swerve suddenly or slam on the brakes to avoid an accident (or worse, you were involved in a fender-bender), you may have some kind of an idea of what it's like to feel your entire body flood with adrenalin. To have to verbally calm yourself down. To have to remind yourself that you're still alive. You're relatively ok. And everything is going to be alright.
Only instead of being behind the wheel of a car with the fresh smell of rubber against road, you're sobbing on the edge of your bed, or standing in the aisle at the grocery store, or sitting in church after having just contributed to a class discussion.
And as if the hyperventilating and increased heart rate and tightness of the chest and dizziness and fainting (oh yes, there's that too) and there being absolutely NO sudden onset medication that won't completely knock you out cold isnt' bad enough, you get to endure all the symptoms in between and after each panic attack. The constant headaches. The fogginess. The inability to focus. The uncontrollable shaking. The feeling cold all the time for no reason. The irritability. The stomach cramps. The nausea. The utter exhaustion. And the insomnia.
The cursed, cursed insomnia.
Why I Left the Church
The Importance of Friendship
Secrets to Staying Sane
Fighting the Rain