“Don’t worry”. “The doctors will figure it out.” “Get over it.”
I have heard all three of those statements and then some over the last few months. Actually There is at least one person a day to tell me something along those lines. But the one I love to hate the most, I heard today. “you’ll be fine.”
Over the last three months I have been to the ER six times. I have seen my family doctor about eight times. The ENT doctor three times. And a total of four visits to two different neurologists. I am currently awaiting to visit the cardiologist for more tests with them. All is not fine, something is wrong.
The problem when you are fighting an unknown illness is that no one sees it. To the world you appear to look normal, you look fine actually. But inside, you know something is wrong. You feel your body revolting on you, and yet to the world you look fine.
I battle panic disorder. That leaves me not only battling the unknown illness wracking havoc on my body, I must also battle the fear that comes from having panic disorder. It’s a vicious cycle. But to you everything is fine.
Today’s blog we are going to walk through everything I have encountered today (which is a typical day with panic and depression). Am I fine? To you, probably. To me, all is not fine.
The alarm goes off at seven. It is far to early to be up. Weekends are supposed to be for sleeping and relaxing but, church starts at nine. We must get moving. Steve rolls over and wraps an arm around me. Yes! Just a few minuets like this. Life is a lot less scary when he holds me. But it never lasts. The dogs notice we are awake, and must receive all of his attention. They haven’t had time with him all night after all. Actually, they are more interested in going outside at the moment, but will settle for his attention. So up Steve gets, and in his place comes the first fearful thought of the day.
I need to increase one of my medicines. To be honest its the antidepressant. I am supposed to double it. I was actually supposed to do that Friday, but was to afraid to. I forgot to do it Saturday, well again I was to afraid, but I tell myself I forgot. I can take two right? The doctor wouldn’t prescribe more if it wasn’t safe right? Wait….what if it makes me sleepy? See before I even crawled from the bed to the bathroom, the panic had set in.
Pill bottle shakily in hand I decide, its just not safe to double the dose. So I take one and a half instead of two. Then panic because I took one and a half. What if my body cant handle the extra medicine? What if it makes me to sleepy? Wait, there is Steve. He will notice if something is wrong. I tell him I chickened out, and didn’t have the balls to double the dose. but I did take an extra half. In his arms again enveloped in a hug, I know he sees just the extra half is a big accomplishment for me. Medicine is one thing that will set the panic off quicker than anything else.
Coffee in hand I hop on the computer for a few, and then out the door we go to church. I feel funny. Kind of dizzy, but more light headed than dizzy. My body is sore. Aches actually from lack of use, and all I have tried to do this weekend I assume. My shoulder and chest have their ever present hurt hanging on as well. And as we step out of the car at the church I throw a few PVC’s(normal for me, I have them occasionally but they are scary as crap) and a wave of dizziness overtakes my body.
We make it inside, hand in hand, Steve and I. We are stopped pretty quickly by a dear church member who asks how I am doing. I tell her, honestly. I know she sees my fear. She recommends another trip to the Mayo Clinic in Florida allowing them to do a full medical work up on me. Awwww! What a dream come true that would be! But honestly, I do not think my body would handle that trip. I fear I would die en-route.
After greeting a few other members (with the best fake smile I can muster since I am so dizzy) we head to our seats. Thank goodness, I cant stand up much longer. It feels like I have walked miles and miles as opposed to the few hundred feet it actually was.
Worship starts. This is my favorite part. I close my eyes. The music washes over me. I am a music person. I think that’s why I adore that part of service so much. Woooooh…..open eyes, I am far o dizzy with them closed, and realize I am swaying (and its from the dizziness not the music). I hope no one notices. The members of my church have been through a very recent medical scare. (A visiting pastor received CPR after his heart stopped. A side note: he is well and recovering at home.) The members do not need to see me drop, especially after they witnessed that.
I tell Steve I need out. Like now. He tells me to sit. I cant. That will alert those around me something is wrong. Ut oh…..I am gonna drop, I feel it. I tell Steve let me out of the pew. I head out to the hall. He is right behind me thank God. We no sooner hit the hall and out I went. He gets me “awake” and I am so confused. I hear a woman’s voice and am to embarrassed to look and see who it is. I cant believe this has happened in church of all places. Is there no where I can go to be safe?
It takes about five minuets to go the fifteen or so feet to the fellowship hall. I sit, and the tears come. Why has this happened again? Why am I sick? Why me? Why cant I even go and listen and learn God’s word? What else is this unknown illness gonna rob me of?
I tell Steve I need help getting to the rest room. Its weird. When I come to from these episodes its like my badder is going to burst. Ok not really. I am afraid if I go down and my bladder isn’t empty there will be a mess. I must accomplish this. We slowly get there, and I realize I must go in alone. We are in public. Can I make it that far as dizzy as I am? I must try. I get there. While washing my hands the shaking starts. We don’t know why that happens either. buts its just as scary as passing out. Panic. I have to get out of there and to Steve.
I make it. I collapse on him. Full blown tears. And am comforted by the arms of a lovely church member. She tells me she is praying they find an answer for me. I somehow take comfort in that. I know if God is gonna answer any ones prayers, hers will be at the top of the list. When she says she is praying, I know she is on her knees lifting my name to God.
I gotta go. I gotta sit. I feel like I am gonna drop again. We cant. Someone else has spotted us. I don’t know who she is. But she knows my name. She tells me to have my magnesium checked. She says things will work out. Magnesium? She says it can mimic a heart attack. Did my doctor check that? Did any one? What if I have that? Where do I go to get that checked? Should we go to the hospital?
Steve says no to the hospital when ever I ask anymore,. Says they will just send me home anyways. I don’t even ask this time, though at least if something bad happened and I was there, they are equipped to help. To the car we go. Back home we go. He places me on the couch, and out the door he goes to work on the car. I have taken some Tylenol for the body aches anyways. I doze a little. mostly I sit here worrying what could be wrong with me and how scared I am to be alone tomorrow when Steve and the kids return to work and school.
To you I look normal. On the inside, I feel anything but normal. I feel scared. I feel tired. I feel light headed and nauseated. I feel dizzy. I feel the every present lately pain in my chest and shoulder. My face is tingling and slightly numb. Like it was hit with Novocaine and its wearing off. My right arm is so sore I cant stand it. We think that pain is from all the shaking. My body literally feels like it weighs a thousand pounds. But to you I look fine.
Today finds me suddenly looking for understanding. What did you find yourself suddenly looking for today? I pray its that this blog if nothing else, allows you to see, people are more then how they look on the outside. I hope you are suddenly looking on the inside. Do you see the struggles of your friends, family, and coworkers? Can you offer words of comfort? If so, offer them. Because to someone who looks fine, usually does not mean they are fine.