Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Just Go On & On & On

I may have mentioned at some point before that I have Panic Disorder. I have had it almost as long as I can remember, in fact I think I was 8 when it developed. I had begun to ponder the meaning of life in my own little way. My grandma had taken me to Sunday school at the chapel by her house and I had recieved a very incomplete and random catholic education, okay well rather it was not an education but more of a few teachings. Someone had bought me a kid's bible as well and I was a huge reader (even at that age, I was reading full novels, my teachers made me go to the resource room at school and read Little House on the Prairie when I was 6 or 7) and I used to read the stories in that bible.

Except, I suppose the problem was that it was the old testament or something. But at the time, I had no idea there were different testaments or what a testament was. Basically I was taught, the bible is the bible, every word is true. Accept it, pray to God every night and beg for his forgiveness for being alive and hope that he decides not to send you to hell. That was the kind of "religious education" I recieved. So I believed that the bible times existed somewhere in some sort of space-time dimension of its own because I couldn't figure out how the dinosaurs fit into the whole equation. I reasoned to myself that if on the first day God made Earth, etc etc and then he made Adam, well when did he make the dinosaurs? Where were they? I couldn't figure it out. So in my mind they all just existed in separate realities/dimensions.

Anyway one of the stories I read was about Isaac (I think that's his name) the one who was told to tie up his son, take him to some big rock and kill him to prove that he loved God. Well at that point in my life it didn't raise the same red flags that it does now. What that story did was confuse the heck out of me. I'm not trying to bash anyone's religion at all. I know now that people believe different things about the bible. But that story (to me) was terrifying. I spent every night praying to God to please please not make my parents kill me or send me to hell. I know in the story he didn't end up killing the kid, but honestly if anyone asked me to tie up my kid and kill him to prove my love, well that's not someone I want to put my faith into. That would make me run the other way.

So at night I would begin to panic, I would lie in bed, staring at the walls too afraid to sleep. Too afraid that what if heaven didn't really exist, what if after life there was nothing. Just blackness. No thought, no love, no feeling, nothing at all. And I would hyperventilate, I would sweat, my stomach would tie itself in knots, my heart would beat so fast, I felt like I was going to die. I diagnosed myself by the time I was 10. My mom had taken a psychology class in university and her textbooks were one of my favourite reading materials. I learned about psychosomatic symptoms, I learned about anxiety disorder, panic attacks, manic depression, so on and so forth. I discovered that what was wrong with me was a panic attack, that I wasn't dying.

They would come to be frequently at school, I was shy and nervous, I hated talking in front of people. It didn't matter who, teachers, classmates, anybody. If I had to stand up and talk in front of anyone I would have a panic attack. If I hadn't finished my homework and I was worried the teacher would ask me something about it I would have a panic attack. Sometimes I had them randomly for seemingly no reason at all. The only good thing about it was that at least I realized that I wasn't dying and that it would eventually pass. One of the worst parts about having a panic attack is when you freak out that you are having a panic attack, or when you don't know it's a panic attack and you freak out because you think you are going to die.Hypochondriasis was another condition I struggled with for a while. My chest would sometimes hurt from the panic attacks, which I thought was an indicator of a heart attack, which it can be. But probably in my case the chest pain was due to the palpitations and all the epinephrine rushing through my veins. You have to understand I was still a child when all of this happened. I suppose you could say I matured a bit quickly. These were the things I worried about as a kid. Death, the afterlife, heart attacks, brain tumors, etc. I was aware I wasn't normal. The teachers wanted me to skip a grade because I was at a higher reading, higher comprehension level, and everything else than the grade I was in. My parents let me decide and I said no, because the older kids picked on me.

When I was about 14 I learned that I could somewhat control the attacks, I had the power to on occasion calm myself down. By university I decided to step out of my shell of shyness. I walked up to people, I introduced myself. Of course my blood pressure and heart rate were through the roof, but I managed to do it nonetheless. And I found I got a huge rush from meeting new people, from being outgoing. It was something I had never done before. Normally I was the one in the corner, hardly making eye contact, afraid someone would look at me. Slowly I've come out of my shell. I no longer panic when I have to talk to people, (except sometimes on the phone if I know I have to deliver some bad news, or if it's something scary like health problem related) I can stand in front of my entire daycare with 75 kids and talk to them without hyperventilating.

But over the last few days I've been having them again. And it's been bad. My worst trigger of all has always been the hospital. It's sometimes called white coat anxiety. Just seeing a doctor would make my blood pressure rise, for the longest time none of my doctors could ever get an accurate reading of my blood pressure or heart rate. One time I was admitted to the hospital and the nurse who was taking my blood pressure and heartrate was speechless. He said to me "I am not even going to write this number down, this is insane." I was basically in tachychardia almost. Though I had told them I had panic attacks so they knew what it was from.

This whole business with the seizures is killing me. I talked to the nurse on the phone today, his appointment is for next Friday at 10:45. It's perfect timing. But she asked me how often he has these spasms or whatever they are. I told her on Saturday I did a running count for the day and it was 20. She said that was too high. She said if he did that again to take him straight to the ER and tell the doctors about what's been going on, and the neurology appointment. She said that from what I've described she isn't 100% it's a seizure, but if it is that it needs to be taken care of right away. Luckily today he has only had THREE, and they were very small. It was half a second and he barely moved his head. Nothing like the video I posted. So we're in the clear for today..

Anyway I started out attempting to tell you about my recent panic attacks, but ended up giving you my life story. Oops. So to make up for that, have some adorableness.


Stacie said...

Don't feel bad about writing a long post. I know I really like to get to my bloggy friends. The good/the bad/the ugly.

I have always been shy (to this day), and cannot speak in front of other without having massive anxiety. I don't really like being looked at by several people at once. Sounds lame, I know, for being 29 years old.

I cannot imagine what you've had to go through with having panic attacks. It sounds awful. I hope that you can get some peace after Sky's neuro appointment next Friday.

I loooooooove Sky's expression in that picture. That is awesome!

Karen said...

I remember being really bothered by that story, too. Isaac was the son and Abraham was the father. I still don't get it. Not a bit of it. But Bob Dylan's Hwy 61 Revisited has some great lyrics about it.

"God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"

Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"

God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"

God say, "You can do what you want, but...

The next time you see me comin' you better run"

Abe says, "Where you want this killin' done?"

God says, "Out on Highway 61."

I've got my own ideas about God. I've decided the bible is mostly just slanderous about God. A huge chunk of it says the reason to worship God is because he'll punish you if you don't. That's a crappy reason. Maybe I'm going to Hell for it, but I'm not worshipping anyone out of fear. I'll worship the God I believe in, the one who loves us and respects us and wants the very best in the world for us, and if I'm wrong I guesss I'm screwed. But even if I knew for a fact that the bible was all true, it would just be a reason to protest, not to worship.

Is there any way you can call Sky's neuro and have him watch the video online? That way you'd at least have an idea of how serious of a problem it is. It would only take him a minute and save you a ton of worry.

Ashley's Mom said...

Karen's idea is great - see if the neuro will watch the video online. He might be able to give you a little piece if mind between now and the appointment.

Hang in there!

Corrie Howe said...

Great insight into you with this post. You have a lot going on, no wonder why you are anxious. I like what Karen and Ashley said about uploading the video and asking the doctor to give you some piece of mind.

As far as the story of Abraham and Issac, it can be terrifying when read without someone explaining the context. The entire bible is about how God gave his own son as a sacrifice for His people. So the story of Abraham and Issac is another "foreshadowing" of what the Lord plans to do.

Abraham (who is like God in once sense of the story) is asked to sacrifice his one and only son Issac (who is like Jesus in this story). Abraham was willing to do it, just as God is willing to do it. However, in the end, Abraham is a man and not God. So God provides another means for the sacrifice He requires. A ram, in this story, but Jesus in relation to the world.

I hope that sheds some light on this story. It's like I tell my children...the most popular stories in the world come down to this...someone who is innocent is willing to sacrifice their one life for the salvation of many others. You see it in Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Indian Princess folktale...and many others.