I also had my husband, who on most days is supportive, understanding and empathetic to my anxiety, asking me why I would tell people something so intimate. On the INTERNET. Where anyone could see it. Wasn't I embarrassed?
No. I'm not. And I did it because I know, personally, a few people who struggle with anxiety, but they don't talk about it. They don't get help for it because they think they're crazy and they're alone. Maybe you're another person like us. But here's the deal. I want anybody who deals with anxiety to know they are NOT alone. And you're NOT crazy. And I want all the rest of you, who don't deal with it, and think that those of us who do need to just "get over it", to know that it isn't that easy. I want you to KNOW what it feels like. I want you to GET it. Because the rest of the folks like me who are suffering with this, need you to. So I'm going to lay out today's panic attack in great, extreme detail. So you get it. And if you don't believe that anxiety is real, or you think I'm just...whatever. Then click off of here right now. I made it perfectly clear from the very beginning of this blog that I am human. And this is my perfect example.
After spending 3 hours in the ER with a miserable kid last night, we got home, finally got him to bed at midnight, and got some sleep. He even slept until 9 this morning. I woke up feeling good. His fever was only 99.5, he was happy, and we had both gotten some sleep. I took my cheery self to the kitchen to get his breakfast, and just like that it, it all went downhill, and fast. I lifted the tray for his high chair out of the kitchen sink, and there they were. Two of them.
Remember this guy who showed up on my front porch a few weeks back? He has friends.
And we have had several of his friends INSIDE our house over the last week or so. But Jeremy has been here, I've been able to leave the room, and let him kill and dispose of them. But this morning, I was on my own. And, full out panic struck. I tried to be rational, I tried to tell myself that I could kill them, they're just spiders. In my sink. But I couldn't. I started shaking, sobbing, freaking out. I got lightheaded, I couldn't breathe. I tried, so hard, to say "Stop it, Kelly". Even saying it out loud. I picked up one of Jeremy's shoes to smash them, and that's when it hit its peak. I had to grab the counter, because I truly felt like I was about to pass out. It was pure torture. Everything inside of me was clenching, but it was jello at the same time. I could not, no matter how hard I tried, catch my breath. I called my mom, and told her she needed to come. I couldn't do it. She tried her hardest to tell me I could. That I could kill them, and she would come later to clean them up. It wasn't enough. By this point, I had Landon and I locked in his bedroom. I tried my neighbor. She knows about my anxiety, and she knows I hate spiders, but she's a champ, and she can kill them. She wasn't home. I was losing it. Felt like I needed to get out of the house. I had to get Landon and me OUT before the spiders....what? Killed us? Now, I honestly don't know. But in that moment, it felt like they were everywhere, and they were crawling their way towards us. Like our walls were closing in. I texted Natalie, I knew she was in the area, and she lives in the country. She could handle this. Bless her heart, she told me she could be to me in 20 minutes. 20 minutes felt like an eternity. We would surely be dead by then. I assured my mom I could not handle it, that I was having a panic attack, and because she is amazing, she came. In her pajama's. To save the day. I was a total disaster when she got here. I hid in the bedroom, sobbing, while she killed them and cleaned them up. I sat at the end of the hallway for maybe another 5 minutes once she promised me they were gone. Still crying. Still having a hard time catching my breath. It took me a good 10 minutes to come down after it was all over and feel ok. I spent 45 minutes of my day today in the midst of a total anxiety attack. Over two spiders.
Here is where I need to say, that my child is amazing. I saw a psychic medium at a party my cousin had last fall. And she told me that I did not get Landon by mistake. That instead, my Grandpa had handpicked him for me. He was specially chosen. Today I realized why. My amazing little boy sat on my lap while I was sobbing, nearly hyperventilating. He sat on my lap and hugged me, kissed me, and smiled at me. He crawled right up, curled into me, and protected me. From myself. From my anxiety. Grandpa, you did a good job. You knew I needed this boy and his strength. You picked the perfect baby for me.
After it was all said and done, I cried some more over the fact that my 1 year old had to be brave for me. That I let him see me that way. But you know what? I couldn't help it. Trust me, you must believe me, if I could have, I wouldn't have let it all happen. But that's the point. To those of you who don't have this problem, to those of you who tell us to just stop, get over it. We can't. We don't WANT to live this way, or feel this way. It's not our choice. We cannot help it. But it doesn't mean we're weak. Or crazy. Or sick. It's just the way we are.
I also need to make it clear that I am not ALWAYS this bad. This is another side effect of coming off my anxiety medication. We watched my Grandmother have multiple panic attacks as she came off the same thing. It's as if all the anxiety that had been suppressed while I was on the medicine, just needs to get out of my body. And today, a huge sum of it managed to escape. I pray that there aren't many more of these attacks until I'm back to myself, but there's no way of knowing. There's no warning for them. They come out of no where. Over sometimes nothing. Today, my trigger just happened to be spiders. Two days ago, my trigger was Jeremy telling me he didn't want to move the dresser in the house that night. I am pretty sure I suggested we should get divorced? Then sobbed because I was determined he was really going to leave me. Let's face it, as much as I may complain about that dude, he is basically a saint for dealing with me.
So is my mom. And my dad. And all the people I called on today. And so is everybody else who has someone in their lives who suffers like this. You people are our lifeline. Your patience, your understanding, your LOVE, is what we need. You don't have to "get it", you just have to know that it's very real for us. To you it's a spider. To me, it's a monster trying to kill me. And I have to say, even in the moment, somewhere in the back of my mind, I know it's all ridiculous. And I can very faintly hear myself saying "Get a grip. You're fine. This is not a big deal". But that faint voice is over ridden by the monster that lives inside, who is much scarier than the spider, that is telling me this is life or death. This is reason to flip out. This is bad news. That monster is horrible.
I could write about this in my own journal, which is what my counselor suggests. But who is that helping? I don't even know that it's helping me because I'm not really getting it out of me. And it certainly isn't helping anybody else who feels this way. I could try to sit down every day for ten minutes, like my counselor tells me, and face my worries and anxieties then. Devote that ten minutes to nothing but worrying, and then get up, and move on. But I can't schedule when spiders are going to show up in my sink. Or when I'm going to flip over a crumb on the ground and have to clean the whole house. The point is, you can't plan anxiety. It just hides out until it's ready to rear it's ugly head.
My counselor once asked me to describe what I thought a germ looked like (because germs are another HUGE anxiety trigger for me). She said she wanted to know exactly what I thought it was that was attacking me. I described them as small, green, fuzzy, mean, evil guys. They had lots of legs, and little weapons. And they always came in swarms. I'm trying to think about how I would describe the anxiety monster that lives inside of me if she asked. What does it look like? I honestly don't know. For some reason I think he's gray? And I know he's huge. And downright mean. I think he always has a smirk on his face, because he knows I never know when to expect him. He must have some sort of weapons. Something that stabs me in the gut, and sucks the breath out of me. Now I do sound crazy, I know. But I urge the rest of you who feel this way, to put a face to your anxiety monster. When I did it for the germs, I laughed for a good 5 minutes. I never realized that I thought they were little people. And putting a face on them, made them more manageable for some reason. I'm not there yet with the anxiety. I'm still trying to make myself laugh. But I'm working on it. And, yes, I'm still afraid of germs, they still freak me out, and I still need to sanitize everything, all the time. But, they don't cause panic attacks any more. They make me uneasy, uncomfortable, and drive me to clean like crazy. But it's not as bad as it was before. And next Tuesday, at 11, when I see my counselor, I'm quite sure we'll be talking more about my anxiety monster. Maybe she can help me figure him out. Maybe I just need more Landon snuggles.
So there it is. That's me. Raw. Uncensored. Scared. Grateful. Exhausted. Me. No apologies.