Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pitch black

In July of 2009, life came barreling at me full force like a locomotive out of control. One of my very favorite songs goes, "My life Lord, is Yours to control." Well, as a joke, I started to sing "My life Lord, is out of control." Things were happening left and right, and I truly had no control over any of it. I am a self confessed CONTROL freak! Unfortunately, the panic attacks came back during this time. They came back with a vengeance. I had the very worst one to date in the summer of 2009. I was sitting in my parents living room, nursing 5 month old Josiah. Suddenly, my ears began to ring and my arms felt like they were on fire. I had no idea what was going on, it felt like a heart attack.I yelled for my mom to come get him, and I tried to go outside. Before long, I was completely hyperventilating. My head hurt so bad I thought I might be having a stroke, yet my chest was so tight I knew for sure I was having a heart attack. My mom called 911, and when the ambulance got there, the men thought I was having a drug overdose!! They kept asking me what I had taken and I kept telling them just some Tylenol. Then I couldn't get into the ambulance, the thought of being stuck in there almost killed me. That's when one of the men took someone aside and said " I think she might be having a panic attack. She needs to go get checked out though." Sure enough, that's what it was. I did go to the hospital, and they suggested a slew of drugs. I politely declined, although I did take the Benadryl, seeing as I was itching so bad that I was quite afraid I might be left with no skin!!

The panic attacks once again followed the same pattern. That one was the worst of the worst, and then slowly but surely they settled down again. Strangely enough, I had only one true panic attack after Gracie's stroke. It was three days later, and the neurosurgeon had come in and told me she would be having the shunt replaced within the next couple of days. I had not yet left the hospital. My mom told me to go over to the RMH, play with Josiah and take a little nap. I did just that, and I fell sound asleep nursing him. When I woke up, he was twitching beside me. Just a little infant spasm. I immediately thought he was having a seizure and then I was immediately and completely convinced that I had rolled on him (even though I woke up a good 2 feet away on the bed). I can remember picking up the phone and calling my mom at the hospital, screaming and crying. By this time, Josiah was completely awake and perfectly fine. It had finally hit me though, that my baby girl had had a stroke. That she was lying in a hospital room, hooked to every machine imaginable, in a coma. She had to be on top of a pretty much freezing cold blanket, and yet she was still burning to the touch. The truth of the situation hit me like rough waves of the sea, and I fell on my knees and wailed like an animal. I had no choice but to just force myself to regain my composure and go back to the hospital, I had Josiah. So, that's what I did. I swept the gigantic purple elephant in my life back under the rug and went back to the hospital.

The panic attacks actually got better after that though. I realize now, it's because instead of a once in a while burst of panic, I became generally anxious all the time. Anyone who has followed this blog knows the struggles I had after Gracie came home. Yes, my fears were normal and somewhat justified (in our human minds)- BUT they are just that...FEARS. Fears that should have been dealt with inside of me. I've been living this past year and a half in a world separate from everyone else. Oh, I do my best to be happy and joyful, and most of the time my happiness is real. I still live in my own little shell of a world though, that world where in my quiet moments I sit and wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. It's like living inside a darkened theater. When a person first walks in, she stumbles to find a seat. It seems PITCH BLACK. Before long though, our eyes adjust to the darkness, and it seems normal. Well, somewhere along the way, I adjusted to this darkness inside me, and it began to just feel normal. Every so often though, someone will come in or out of the theater, and the light will stream in. In those moments, I'm reminded that I'm still in here, with the lights turned dim, hiding away in my little theater.
                                              To be concluded....

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