Because sometimes we all need an entire cake to ourselves.
Because sometimes we all need an entire cake to ourselves.
Trish came over today, and we made an attempt to run some errands with my mom. The craft store has some great sales going on that I wanted to take advantage of, and Taret may or may not have been involved. But as luck would have it, just as I was puttin on my boots and jacket, I began to feel like maybe going out wasn’t the best idea. Specifically, I was feeling dizzy, and I knew that it would probably lead to other things. Still, we were ready to leave, so I grabbed my yarn and crochet hook and we headed out to the car.
Our first stop was the mechanic, who mom had to see about some car parts, about three minutes from our house. When we arrived, mom got out to speak to him while Trish and I waited in the car. By now, I’m already starting to feel like I can’t breathe and I’m still feeling lightheaded. I know this feeling, and I know that pushing myself to continue on with my errands, which can be made up for at another time, is probably not the best thing for me right now. If I was already feeling this way now, I know for sure it would turn into a full blown panic attack before we even reached the craft store.
When my mom gets back in the car, I tell her I don’t feel well and ask if we can go back home instead. She doesn’t seem to mind, since “there’s always something to do at home!”. (In fact, she was in the middle of cleaning the bathroom.) I feel slightly guilty at first, but I’d rather feel guilt than panic.
Trish and I come back into the house, while mom decides to walk to one of the stores near our home before coming instead. I relax on the recliner while Trish lays on the couch. Despite my muscles tensing, I was actually able to engage in conversation, which is a tiny victory. Normally, speaking is the least comfortable thing I can do in these moments. But this time, I feel like it actually made the episode pass faster.
After resting for a while, I slowly get up to make lunch, once again hoping that some food will help. As we’re eating, we check Facebook and see that good ol’ Michael has challenged his friends to come up with a creative pirate name for him in honor or National Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Since Michael is such a silly person who’s always able to make people laugh, I thought at first that coming up with a pirate name for him wouldn’t be difficult it all. But… that’s why Michael has the quirky sense of humor, and not me. Trish and I could not think of anything.
I continued to rack my brain. This challenge was definitely a welcomed distraction to my day, and I wanted to come up with something good.
Trish convinced me not to overthink it — just let something come to me later.
And so, as Trish and I tend to do every time we’re together, we start to sing parodies of songs… “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” from Frozen is our favorite to write parodies to.
Can you see where this is going?
I start to sing, “Do you wanna be a pirate…?”
Trish and I look at each other.
"Would should totally one-up this challenge and write a song," I say.
Trish is always on board with such an idea. “Let’s do it!”
I have second thoughts. “Oh my gosh, no, that would just be ridiculous…” And then I have third thoughts, thinking of when I last spoke to Michael and how I’d really like for him to have a reason to laugh. He certainly needed it and deserved it. “You know what? Let’s do it. Let’s see if we can make his day.”
We get to writing, trying to incorporate inside jokes, Michael’s quirky traits, and sticking with the pirate theme. Within an hour or two, yet another new parody is born. We quickly decide to record it on video to send to him.
We’re on a time crunch for two reasons: 1) We didn’t want to risk anyone coming up with an equally silly idea first, and 2) Mom was on her way back with pizza.
(I’m sorry, Michael! I know you miss pizza! I told that bitch not to leave you for another pie. She’s so cheesy.)
Recording this thing was hilarious… I was so glad to have a reason to laugh myself. It’s a rare occasion for me to laugh a lot nowadays. And considering how my day started, I wasn’t expecting to get such a boost. I’m happy to say that Michael got a laugh out of our little jam, too. But I’ll let the videos speak for themselves:
My mom ended up picking up my medication without my knowledge for me while I was at work yesterday.
I got the notification that it was ready. The pharmacy is literally a minute drive straight down the road. Mom was asleep at the time, so I considered testing myself to see if I could go pick it up myself. I haven’t driven anywhere myself since July. And that same pharmacy was actually the last place I drove to by myself.
But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
When my mom picked me up from work yesterday, she told me she had already gone to pick it up.
It’s still sitting in the bag on top of my printer.
I’m not too eager to take it.
Despite the fact that I had a pretty shitty panic attack at work today, which actually started to manifest itself in the car on the way there. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, but I’ve been doing fairly well the last few days, so it was disappointing.
I know, I know. Just take the damn medication, Chrissy, and maybe you won’t have that problem anymore.
Or maybe I will.
And then I’ll be really frustrated.
Still hoping to wake up one day and be perfectly fine, and then the next day and the next day and the next day… But I’ve been praying for that for two years, so there’s that.
Irony: Having anxiety about going to pick up anti-anxiety medication.
So, I did it.
I was on the border of hyperventilating upon my arrival.
But I did it.
I went to my first psychiatry appointment.
I have anxiety (which is officially in writing as of today), so obviously I already fear things for no apparent reason. But I haven’t had nerves like that in a long time.
Going to sleep last night was not easy. Waking up was even harder. I wondered if I could actually do it. Again, I didn’t know how to feel… should I feel defeated? Should I feel hopeful? I don’t know. I just know that I want to get it over with.
I’m so thankful that my sweet Trish and Michael did not forget about me, and both sent me encouraging messages beforehand. When it’s time for me to leave, I straighten my hair, do my make-up, and put on my cowgirl boots. It’s boot weather today, and my boots make me feel fierce… and I need a little bit of fire in me today.
As I said in my previous lengthy entry, I’m on a bit of a time crunch with my insurance, and so I went with the first psychiatrist to return my call. She’s a one-woman operation with a tiny hole-in-the-wall office in a building that I think was probably originally built to be a small house or apartment.
I walk into the office with my mom. It’s a tiny space. We are greeted with a teeny, tiny room with three chairs smooshed in, a small table with some magazines and a small bookshelf full of books on mental and invisible illnesses, and four closed doors. ‘I hope she doesn’t treat people with claustrophobia…’ is my first thought as I look around the tiny room. It reminds me more of those shady places on the boardwalk where you get your palm read than it does a doctor’s office.
Within minutes, an older woman emerges from behind one of the closed doors. She introduces herself to me and my mom, and gives me forms to sign. She goes back into the room while I fill them out and returns for me several minutes later. She takes me back to the room that she just came out of, which I’m relieved to find is much more spacious and has windows.
By now, my symptoms have subsided enough for me to be able to speak comfortably and clearly, which I’m obviously thankful for. That’s what I’m here for, after all. I know, however, that they can conjure themselves back up at any moment. And speaking about anxiety usually does that.
She motions to a couch and invites me to sit down. (We all know how I feel about sitting when I’m anxious… I stood for several minutes in the waiting room before I sat down.) I put my purse down and take a seat in the middle of the couch. I sit on the edge, crossing my legs and folding my hands over my knee. She sits in a rolling office chair a few feet away.
After several seconds in silence (I’ve read that some psychiatrists and therapists will purposely leave the room in silence just to see how you react to it), she begins asking questions.
"So, what brings you to me today?"
I immediately feel like I’m in a job interview.
Am I being graded on this?
Is there a right or wrong answer to this question?
I describe my symptoms to her in a nutshell, and tell her that I fully suspect that it is generalized anxiety and panic.
She asks about my family’s medical history, including immediate and extended family. The only person in my immediate family who has dealt with mental health problems is my brother. He was fortunate to overcome them by the time he was in his early twenties, and he is totally free of treatment now. (That I know of, anyway… He honestly has no idea, unless my mother said something, that I even saw a psychiatrist today. I know I’m writing blog here and all, but there are only certain people whose attention I draw to it.)
I tell her that I don’t know my dad’s side of the family, aside from the one time over the summer I had the misfortune of being offered “turkey in case I’m a vegetarian” at my great-aunt’s birthday party…. And that my mom is one of fourteen. Only eleven are living, and we only stay in close touch with a handful of those eleven. Out of those eleven, there’s only one that I’m aware of who has admitted to being treated for a mental illness. (Though, he’s one who we are not currently communicating with, so there’s not much hope for getting more information than that.)
She’s jotting down notes.
I don’t remember the particular order of questions from this point on, so things might be a little jumbled here.
She asks if I have any specific triggers. I tell her that symptoms can set in at any given moment, no matter where I’m at or who I’m with. But the biggest thing that I would actually classify as a trigger is being in the car, whether I’m behind the wheel or not. I then tell her the stories of how my first two panic attacks happened while I was in the car going somewhere by myself. I believe that probably set off the fear of me now being afraid of driving somewhere, or even going anywhere, by myself.
"If I asked you to go outside right now and take a walk around the block, would you be able to do it?"
I shake my head. “No, probably not. Not by myself, anyway.”
She tells me that question was a test, and says that the reason I’d be unable to do that is because I’m overreacting. Not the response I was expecting, but I can’t say I disagree, either. I mean, isn’t that what anxiety is in a nutshell? Overreacting over things that aren’t frightening tasks in the first place?
She asks about my job. I tell her all about what I do and my love of cake decorating. I’m sure to mention, that despite the fact that my job is to teach, and therefore, obviously speak in front of a group of people, it’s never been a trigger for me. If anything, it actually soothes me. There have been plenty of times I’ve gone to work feeling like I was dying, and left feeling totally calm.
Then she asks about my friends. For the first time all day, I can feel myself glowing. I smile. “I have the most amazing friends,” I say, as I think about the amazing support I’ve had. “I’ve had to weed through a few bad ones throughout my life, of course, but my friends right now are incredible.”
She seems satisfied with this answer.
I’m quite satisfied with that answer myself. I’ve had friends come and go my entire life. But I think I’m finally getting it right.
She then asks about relationships, and I tell the story of my ex and I… in a nutshell, anyway. I tell her that after my break-up with Matt two years ago is when it seemed like my mental health really started to go downhill. That’s when my panic attacks started to become severe and frequent enough to prevent me from living the quality of life that I once had. And it hasn’t improved since.
Some more questions are thrown in.
Some of them seem like repeats from earlier, just phrased differently.
Towards the end of the appointment, she asks if I have any questions for her before she goes into her suggestions for treatment.
"Well," I say. "Would you agree that this is indeed anxiety and panic that I’m dealing with?"
She nods certainly. “Oh yes, it’s most definitely anxiety and panic. Your diagnosis was absolutely correct.”
Then come the treatment options… the first one threw me for a loop: Exercise.
Not what I was expecting.
So… we’re just gonna let that one ride for now.
(And not ride a bike, either, because I’ve probably forgotten how to do that.)
And then, of course, medication and therapy…. The two recovery options that were on the very bottom of my list that I was hoping never to get to because something else would have worked first.
(Again, just so we’re absolutely clear, I am not anti-medication or anti-therapy. I do not judge anyone for taking these paths, even without exploring other options first. I do not believe that these make anyone weak. I know plenty of lives that have been saved because those people chose medication and therapy. These are just the two things that I, personally, was the most uncomfortable with and was hesitant to make this choice for myself.)
I tell her that, at this moment in time, I’m still not as open to the idea of therapy. But I am willing to give medication a try… Which is not to say that I’m immediately going to get the prescription filled and start taking it right now… but it’s a start.
She writes a prescription for the medication that I’m willing to try, in the lowest dosage possible. And after a few more last minute bits of advice and information, she sends me on my way.
I walk back out into the closet-sized waiting room, where my mother is waiting for me. We start walking back to the car, which is a much more comfortable walk than it was going in. We make a pit stop at the bakery on the way home, because nothing says, “FUCK YOU, ANXIETY!” like a cupcake.
I don’t discuss much of the appointment with my mom on the way home. Like I said, I’m not very open with my immediate family about my anxiety. There are few people who I’m very comfortable getting into details with. It’s nothing personal. I’ve always been that way, about a variety of topics, not just anxiety.
We get home and I get myself settled and make dinner. I’m in a much better and relaxed mood than I was at this time yesterday.
Later on in the evening, I Skype with Michael. I’m pleased to tell him that things went more smoothly than what I was anticipating. He asks what I think my next step is going to be, and I honestly tell him that I don’t know. The prescription will be filled this week, for sure. That’s an issue of me about to be out of insurance for a while. But as for when I’ll actually start taking it… I don’t know. That part still scares me.
And as for whether or not I’ll continue to see psychiatrists or therapists, I don’t know that, either.
Today alone was a big step.
One that I was not expecting to take at this point in life.
I’m a stubborn little shit and it takes a lot to change my mind about something and get me to try something that I really don’t want to do… But I could not ignore the concern that Michael, especially, had for me after my blog update from a couple weeks ago. As I’ve said before, he has a very special way with words, and he really made me think and be more open-minded.
I’m quite literally going to owe him my life.
And probably a lot of spoons.
Something that I started to write earlier this entry, then deleted, but just now once again decided to admit…. Before my appointment today, I took a silly little note and drawing that Trish once left in the classroom for me at work, and the letter that Michael wrote for my birthday, and stuck them in my purse and took them with me. It was added comfort, and a reminder that I am not on this journey alone. I have amazing friends who are willing to juggle their lives with mine in order to help me recover, and that’s something that I’ll never take for granted.
So, with that, it’s now 1:00 in the morning… and so I should probably get to sleep so I can find out what new adventures are in store for me tomorrow.
May the new day bring you all nothing but strength and happiness.
You deserve it.
I wasn’t expecting to return home with the will or energy to smile, but I did and I am, so I’m sharing.
I’ve also returned with a cupcake.
But that’s besides the point.
Lengthy update to come tonight.
Please go by faster.
We’re 256 days into the year, and I’ve only just put my 64th memory into my 2014 memory jar. Now, not every little thing that makes me smile ends up getting written down and put into the jar, but I feel like I should have more by now… I had over 100 by the end of 2013. Ah well, I guess we’ll see.
So, my mom just poked her head in my room and reminded me of my appointment on Monday. She reminded me because she had forgotten, actually, and didn’t want me to forget, too. Oh, I haven’t forgotten.
At times, part of me is quite happy and ready to go.
Take yesterday for example: My brother and I had to take his cat to the vet for an emergency visit. His asthma was very bad yesterday morning. (Mine was actually acting up, too, so perhaps it was just the air quality. Either way, we were concerned for Bucky.) The whole time at the vet, of course i’m already nervous for the cat. But discussing asthma with the vet conjured up those symptoms for me. My chest muscles felt incredibly tense the entire time. Being in an examining room without a window didn’t help, either. I felt closed in in so many ways.
After getting Bucky taken care of, we walked out of the vet into the fresh air. I began to feel like I was able to catch my breath again. And as we were walking back to the car, I thought to myself, ‘I can not wait for Monday so that I won’t have to feel like this anymore.’
But at times, I’ve felt defeated. Like I couldn’t fight it on my own, as badly as I wanted to. Now I’m having to turn to my last resort. And what if that doesn’t work? What if I end up too terrified to go through with any of it at all? Then what?
All I know is that I want my life back.
And I don’t want matters to get any worse before they get better. They’ve already gotten bad enough. But I’m not so sure if that’s going to work out in my favor.
My, oh, my.
This is going to be a lengthy one.
Where do I even begin?
I guess I’ll go back to my last big update — where I talked about The Spoon Theory and described an actual panic attack that I had recently.
That was not an easy blog to write.
After reading that update, Michael messaged me, as he usually does… but this time, though our conversation was through text, his demeanor was different. It was not hard to tell that he was genuinely concerned and wanting to help. He reminded me of two options that I had not yet explored. (Two options that I’ve been avoiding like the plague, is more like it.)
Medication and therapy.
Now, we all know it’s not just anxiety that I don’t want to take medication for.
I avoid medication for anything.
I ride my way through headaches, cramp my way through menstrual cycles, and sneeze my way through allergy season. These are all things that will pass on their own if I give them enough time. And they’re minor enough to be treated with over-the-counter medication if someone so pleases.
But a medication that’s strong enough to require a prescription to treat a much more serious condition?
Oh, no no no no no.
All I have to do is read about one possible unpleasant side effect, and I’m just one big ball of nope.
But, as he does, Michael offered me very specific advice and recommendations. Though, this time, he pushed it a little harder. (As he put it to me once, you could call it constructive tough love, instead of destructive tough love, which I’ve received from others before… and it doesn’t help me.) He assured me that he fully believed in everything that he was telling me. He understands my fears and doesn’t judge me for them. He made me feel like it was perfectly safe, and that I was under no obligations… but he asked me to please consider these unexplored options.
And I meant it.
This is nothing that other people haven’t told me before.
But those were people with the “Well, I can do it, why can’t you?” or the “Just suck it up and do it!” attitudes. Which makes me, well, not want to do it. Or even try. Because apparently those people are totally fearless, and I’m just not. As someone said before, that’s kinda like saying, “Well, I don’t understand why your brakes fail, because my car works just fine.”
We’re all different.
But I could tell that he was concerned and genuinely cared, so I started to explore a little bit with much of his help. The specific medication that I was looking into was something that I believe I took for a short time (between two to four months) when I was 18. Long story short: I was stressed from a break-up and began to have involuntary twitching in my toes and fingers. The doctor told me in simple terms that my nerves were literally shot, prescribed the medication, and the problem stopped.
I’m pretty sure that it was the same medication, if not something very similar. (I believe I no longer have that information saved anywhere, though my mom is going to try to find out for me.)
So that right there gives me a little peace of mind, knowing that I’ve taken it before without any problems.
But there’s something that was causing me to have to speed up my decision making…
I just turned 26.
I’ve always been on my father’s insurance.
But after my 30-day grace period is up on September 19th, I am S.O.L.
Looking into new health insurance has been confusing and frustrating, and has therefore been avoided. I’ve been covered my whole life from my dad’s insurance. My brother gets insurance from his full-time job, and my mom has had insurance from her job since before I was born. So it’s been a while since any of us have had to worry about finding new health insurance.
And I’ve had no idea where to turn.
My mom has been trying to help me, but as I said, this is not our forte.
One website leads you to another. One phone number directs you to someone else who directs you to someone else… and then after being on hold for fifteen minutes, the call gets disconnected. One person tells you one thing, while the other person tells you the total opposite… Gah. Forget it.
So once again, I turn to Michael, knowing that both fortunately and unfortunately, he’d have a lot better understanding of all this than I do and might be able to explain it to me… in English.
(Though, Michael is multi-talented and could actually have easily have switched languages on me at any time… Which would have been the same as the Obamacare or Medicaid folks trying to explain things to me, anyway.)
Luckily, he was a big help and explained what he could to me over a Skype call. I actually learned a few bits of information that I did not find out myself online or through any of the various phone calls my mother helped me make. My mom and I spent the majority of this afternoon making more calls, trying to find out how to get me insurance once mine runs out… We got some more helpful information, but really didn’t get much closer to getting me any new coverage. It was a lot to take in and quickly got overwhelming. We’ll try again tomorrow.
Towards the end of our Skype call, Michael once again kindly reminded me of the recovery options that I had left to explore, and suggested that I take advantage of them while I still have insurance for a short time. I’m not obligated to stick with anything I’m uncomfortable with — but while I still can, see a psychiatrist, get a prescription, and at least have the medication on hand for when I should decide I want to take it.
Honestly, that was a thought that had already crossed my mind.
I promised him again that I was really thinking about it.
I relayed the information he gave me to my mom, and as I said, we spent several hours this afternoon making phone calls and getting more information. Finally, we had exhausted ourselves and decided to call it a day and pick up again tomorrow.
But I knew there was one more phone call that I had to make.
You can’t keep this stuff from my mom.
Nor would I want to.
But when you know that someone doesn’t realize just how much you’re suffering, it’s not an easy topic to bring up. I’ve had countless of attacks around my mom, with her being completely oblivious to almost all of them. I was afraid she’d have a lot of suspicious questions for me.
So I casually reminded her of the medication I took when I was 18. She barely had any memory of it. But I tell her, keeping it as simple and as short and sweet as possible, that I took it for nerves back then, and think it could help me again, so I’d like to see about getting a new prescription for it before my insurance runs out.
She was on her way out to run errands, but left me with my insurance card. I logged onto the website for my insurance, found a few psychiatrists who accept it, jotted down their information, and started making phone calls.
I don’t take choosing doctors lightly. Ever. I’ve had some shitty doctors, and I have no problem weeding through a dozen bad ones before I find the good one if I need to.
But I don’t have time to be picky with this one. My insurance runs out in two weeks, so I’m going to take what I can get for now, and if necessary, find a better doctor later.
My options were slim pickings.
I had been warned that many psychiatrists do not take insurance, and so I literally only had a handful to choose from in my area. I made three phone calls, leaving voicemails with each of them. Within several minutes, one returned my call — an older woman who didn’t seem too perky or enthusiastic (I like happy people!!), but she received good patient reviews online and apparently has many, many years of practice.
I told her exactly what I was looking to do.
She didn’t ask many questions from there, except basic information that she needed to set up an appointment… which is scheduled for a week from today, four days before my insurance runs out.
I thanked her and hung up the phone, slightly surprised with myself over what I just did. I was unsure how to feel. Hopeful? Scared? Defeated? No emotion at all?
I texted Michael within minutes to tell him what I did, and then Trish. They both had positive responses for me, which made me feel a little better about my decision. And I kept reminding myself that I am under no obligation to stay on this path if I decide it’s not for me.
Ed was the last person I decided to tell personally. I suspected that his reaction would not be quite as enthusiastic. I’m more than well aware that he does not agree with many of my recovery attempts. He’s insensitively told me on more than one occasion that I “need help” — in the way that literally makes you feel crazy and actually beyond help. Like there is no hope whatsoever.
So I really stopped talking to him about my health because I know that I’m not going to get the support and encouragement that I need. He’s one to “just suck it up”, and I’m not. I like to know all of my options, first and foremost the ones that are drug-free.
I sent him the link to my short update from my earlier. Didn’t say too much other than, “Thought you’d like to read this.”
He read the post, where I admitted to scheduling a psychiatry appointment, and told me that it was “overdue” — which I strongly disagreed with. Have I been dealing with this for at least two years now? Yes. Is this overdue in my eyes? No. It is on my terms in my own time.
And quite honestly, if my insurance was not about to run out, I really don’t think if I’d be jumping on it this soon. I did promise Michael that I’d think about it and consider it, and I truly meant that. But the pressure of temporarily being uninsured was a push.
I was then lectured on making sure I get health coverage, or otherwise paying a penalty, and that I should get a better job with benefits… which I wish he would fucking knock off, really. I’m sorry you’re totally miserable at your job. I happen to love mine. And no, I’m not rolling in the dough and nor do I have benefits, but I have a passion for what I do. I need that positivity in my life. My job actually soothes me and I look forward to going. I love what I do, and I love my students, and to hell with anyone who thinks that’s not good enough because I don’t have benefits or a six-figure salary.
Am I open to bigger and better things?
But I am not open to doing something just for the sake of making more money than the next person. If my heart’s not in it, I’m not doing it.
I assured him that my mom and I spent all afternoon making phone calls, and that Michael had given me some helpful information, and that we would get it figured out — even if I end up uninsured for a short time, which will likely happen. It’s proving to be a complicated process.
He said some other things that kind of rubbed me the wrong way, too, but I best not get into them.
I say this not to call him out. I’m not one to toss names around in a negative manner. I say these things just because it’s my reality. And I say these things to make people understand that we’re all different. Again — some peoples brakes fail, while other peoples cars work just fine.
Be respectful of one another’s decisions.
Especially when it comes to health.
You don’t have the suffer the consequences. I do. Let me make my own choices, regardless if they’re the choices that you would make for yourself or not.
I’m not asking to be babied, but I am asking for support and encouragement. It’s what I need more than anything right now. This is an incredibly overwhelming phase of life and it’s a lot to take in. I’m so thankful for the support that I do have. I wish I could have it from everyone, especially those who I’ve considered best friends… but the ones who are helping me, you are God sends and I thank you for bearing with me and taking this journey with me.
I told myself that I would treat myself well in honor of Invisible Illness Week and National Suicide Prevention Week.
What I had in mind was, ‘Maybe I’ll curl my hair’ or ‘Maybe I’ll bake some cookies’ or ‘Maybe I’ll treat myself to some new clothes’.
My hair’s a mess, Saturday’s batch of cookies are gone, and I’ve refrained from buying more clothes.
What I do have, however, is an appointment with a psychiatrist next Monday.
A whopping four days before my insurance runs out.
Lengthy update to come later tonight.
Anxiety & Helping Someone Cope.
I didn’t want to make overwhelming or too long remember, so I kept it to the main points that benefit me greatly when I’m experiencing an attack.
40 million of Americans alone suffer with anxiety; it’s a horrid feeling when you know someone just wants to help you but you cannot even construct a simple sentence at the time, so please share this in hope that it benefits even just 1 person. Muchos love.
Much of this applies to me.
I need noise of some sort. But it has to be familiar and soft. Just a decibel too high, and it has to be turned down. Having a random playlist on Spotify playing, or even QVC on the TV in the background, helps. But I probably don’t want to hear people who are physically here with me talking and telling me about their day — No offense. I need to organize my own thoughts before I can comprehend yours.
Space is a big deal. The last thing I want to feel is smothered. Trust me, I feel enough of that already, even when I’m completely alone. I love hugs, but please don’t hug me right now. Sometimes a hand to hold helps. Sometimes I’ll want you on the total opposite side of the room. But I probably don’t want to be entirely alone.
Communication. It sounds stupid, but please don’t try to make me laugh. I already feel like I can’t breathe. I’m not ready to use more breath on laughter just yet. You really don’t have to say anything. Don’t feel obligated to bash your brain trying to come up with things to say that will calm me down. Chances are, nothing you can say right now can calm me down. I just have to let it ride. Just sit with me.
I’ve had a person or two lose their patience with me, too. Trust me, that’s not helping you or me in this situation. That’s going to make matters worse and make the attack last much longer. I already feel like hell right now. I don’t need your guilt. If my panic and anxiety attacks are an inconvenience for you (boohoo!), I probably don’t need you around.