Friday, November 6, 2015

I Have An Anxiety Attack

I continue to get really interesting feedback about diversity and writing, and I've also got a major revision looking at me down its long, cold nose. There are a ton of things I could write about, and a ton of excuses to not blog today. What I want to tell you is this:

I had an anxiety attack last night.

No reason, at least none I've been able to uncover. I had a lovely evening--jumped my mare, took a shower, made a nice meal which I enjoyed with family and a friend. Curled up on the couch and watched tv with my beloved; drank some nice red wine but not too much, went to bed at a reasonable hour. Earlier the day's activities had included a good yoga class, lunch with my beloved, and a lot of writing. It was a really good day.

I went to bed, and it started. Muscle cramps running down the outside of my legs--that's the canary in my particular psychic coal mine, the first sign of trouble. Lately, however--for the past several months--I've been able to stop any anxiety right there with some calming self-talk and deliberate breathing. This time the anxiety rolled right over the self-talk and slow breaths. My skin started to feel too tight to contain my insides. (I know it sounds gory, that's just how it feels.) My brain began a sort of electric race--completely unfocused, because I was honestly not upset about any particular thing--I ran options through my mind. Was it the anniversary of some sort of trauma? Had my daughter hit the anniversary date of something traumatic in my own life? (you'd be surprised how powerful that can be--but no, my daughter's now old enough that she's outstripped my own particular traumatic time bombs) Was there a cause?

There was no cause. None.

Didn't matter.

My heart was racing now. I tried all my relaxation techniques. Didn't help. I got out of bed and fetched my heavy blanket, 25 pounds covered in flannel. It's fantastic. I smoothed it under my regular covers so that it weighted my body evenly on all sides.

Didn't help.

I'd been tossing for over an hour now. My husband slept peacefully beside me. I reminded my brain, over and over, that we could turn the alarm sirens off. I was safe. Entirely safe. But the sirens kept going.

Once when I was living in Indiana, a squirrel got into our town's main electrical plant and shorted some wires. It led to the entire city being without power for most of the day.

I had a squirrel loose in my brain, tripping circuits, firing them up instead of shutting them down.

Finally I went to the bathroom and took half an Ambien. It takes seven hours for the effects of that to wear off, and our alarm went in six. When it did I mumbled half the story to my darling husband. He kissed me and left me to sleep. I am so, so loved.

My doctors and I have been experimenting with lowering the dose of my antidepressant, since my antidepressant seems to be raising my blood pressure. Already we'd decided I needed a different course of action, a completely different medication; Monday I go to a specialist. Hooray.

Even before last night I didn't need convincing that I should stay on psych meds. Psych meds are life-saving, healing, fabulous tools. I don't feel badly about having an anxiety attack, either, any more than I'd feel guilty about a lupus flare or something setting off my asthma. My brain is fantastic. It's just wired a little funkily, and there's always the danger of a squirrel getting in.