I am always listening to my body. Hyper-vigilance, it’s called. Every little ache, twinge, tightness, odd sensation, floaty feeling, whathaveyou – I’m there, more than aware of it.
There’s not a single day that passes where I don’t have at least one moment of worry (usually several): am I having a heart attack? “Managing” that worry is just a slight improvement on that routine: instead of freaking out, on a daily basis I force myself to calm the fuck down and accept that I have anxiety, that it doesn’t make any fucking sense, that I’m probably not having a heart attack, my symptoms don’t even really match that of one, but that if I am going to have a heart attack, there will be little doubt of what it is when it happens, and in the meantime there’s not much I can do to prevent it that I’m not already doing.
Even though I paid out of pocket for labwork last fall and went to the doctor (again), to appease my worries, I’m already considering trying to scrounge up another $300-400 for bloodwork, EKG, and a general appointment, to settle my fears, AGAIN.
NOT that doing any of that is actually any sort of insurance or guarantee against a heart attack. Google that shit and you’ll find any number of cases of people who went through the whole stress-test, bloodwork, monitoring thing, were diagnosed as “fine,” and then suffered a massive coronary.
I don’t even suffer the textbook/hollywood-style panic attacks, thankfully. Yet. The tightening chest, the gasping for air – nope. My ‘hyperventilation’ happens in the form of excessive yawning attacks, when it happens. My panic attacks are literally random adrenalin spikes. This last one, and one or two before it, started with 2 seconds of dizziness, then a hot, buzzing feeling traveling from my chest to my groin. Then it stops. Thankfully, less than 30 seconds, but it’s all so weird and out-of-nowhere that it freaks me out every time, makes me have the sudden urge to sob regardless of my conscious thought process, and sets me back for the next several days in a fog of disassociation and frustration.
I take medicine, and I see a therapist.
I’m working on adjusting my diet to improve my quality of sleep.
I at the very least try to get 20-30 minutes of solid, cardiovascular exercise a minimum of 5 days a week.
I don’t feel stressed, at least on a conscious, emotional level. I do, however, know that I am stressed. I’m an introvert, and I am currently involved in a couple of commitments that have severely cut into my introvert-time. It also has cut into the little bit of regular writing I had tenuously started a few months back. And that has created a lot of angst and guilt with regards to my personal goals and dreams.
I know all that probably exacerbates the anxiety thing, whether or not I consciously associate it with the physical symptoms of anxiety. Heh – it’s like my mind sets all that aside, but my body doesn’t. And then out of the blue, when I’m feeling perfectly relaxed, bam. Fucking ass shit.
I also apparently come by this honestly – my mother, brother, and probably my sister all suffer from some kind of this thing (although my sister, despite having been through some fucked-up shit including breast cancer, refuses to even consider counseling, never mind the rest of it).
I’m just – tired. Tired and frustrated. I hate being victimized by this stupid damned random-ass chemical misfire. And I know – I know I’m damned lucky that this is all I deal with, knock wood. (See? I’m fucking paranoid – I’m paranoid that even writing about this will bring about the fates to cause me an actual heart attack or some other massive health catastrophe in a flash of some kind of poetic irony. Because my brain is a fucking dumbshit.)
I sometimes wonder if the drugs are doing more harm than good – I am crying right now, but barely, and it’s an effort to do so. I used to cry all the time. My therapist recently asked me if I talk to myself. I know I used to. Now, when I drive back and forth all over the place every day, my car is often silent. My head is filled with chatter, but I don’t open my mouth. I was told to work on that.
All I can do is push myself through the next few weeks. Two more weeks of rehearsals, then opening night. A month of weekend performances, a visit from the MIL, and then I’m free and clear.
Right now I want to curl up in bed, but I’m afraid to, because my stupid motherfucking brain. And sadly, chemical relaxants are a bad, bad idea for me – any physical change that I can feel will backfire.
Time to go breathe.