The Journal of Kimberly Bauer

Anxiety, panic, shortness of breath, oh my!
04/17/2015 01:42 a.m.
Today: Anxiety.
More specifically, panic attacks.

It starts small. I stir around the apartment, exhausted from a ridiculously long and arduous day at work. I can't think of anything to do. I don't want to do anything. But I can't just sit here. But I can't move. This apartment needs to be cleaned. I can't stand how everything looks right now. I'm too exhausted to clean. I decide to start small and kick my dog out of my bedroom so i can properly clean without distraction. I stand in the corner by my dresser. I fidget. I take off my socks. I change pants. Why is my hair down? I can't stand the way my hair feels on my neck right now. Everything would be okay if my house was clean and my hair wasn't touching my neck. I look for a hair tie, to no avail. I decide to get back to the task of cleaning. I stand back in the corner. My breath gets short, Not. Enough.Air. Something is just not right and once i figure it out I will feel better. I make the bed. I throw away old pop cans. I clean up my dogs toys. I move to the kitchen and i wipe the counters. That's it. That;s all that needed to be done but i am still not better. My mind is spinning. I can't think clearly. I want to curl into a ball but i resist the urge- I now recognize what this is. I am having a panic attack. My husband asks if I am okay, what he can do. I can't focus. He was about to leave, he asks if he should stay. the world is spinning, I can't think, i can barely respond.. i can't think. I just need to be alone. I sit in bed and practice breathing techniques. All I can mutter is " it's okay. everything's okay. I'm sorry.I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." I cave, and take a Klonopin and wait for reality to come back into focus.
A panic attack is a complete sensory overload. Its like putting all of your senses on steroids, all your bad thinking patterns into overdrive and the physical sensation of careening off an embankment. I can't decide when it's going to happen, and it always takes me a minute to realize what is happening. What a weak spot in life.
It has passed, but i am still left with anxiety. Anxiety can take on many forms; today mine feels like my insides are being shaken and stirred and my chest is tight. My limbs are tense and I can't focus on much. I just keep focusing on my breathing. ratatattat in my body. swirls of uncomfortable thoughts oozing into my body to leave a shakiness, and no motivation and not a clear enough head to push through. Anxiety, panic and shortness of breath- oh MY!

Thanks so much for reading and supporting this blog. I really hope it helps someone, as strange as it is, it is helping me. I have created a table of contents (so to speak) of what other topics will be on going forward, as i am ready to face and address them ( or if i happen to be in the throws of them and feel personally obligated to fulfill my goal. I promise there will be some lighthearted stuff too.. I really am funny ;) I just need to get through the dark murky water before we can gaze at any beautiful waterfalls..
To any of you reading this- you are not alone. You are not crazy. We are all in this together.. Life is a beautiful journey. We might find ourselves in an abyss, but even the abyss can be beautiful. If nothing else, it gives us empathy. Empathy is something this world could really use a lot more of these days. Have an authentic evening.

Comments (1)

Welcome to the abyss... my depression
04/11/2015 02:12 a.m.

Even now, I sit to write about depression and it stiffens my fingertips like a gloppy monster sucking all motivation out of me. This visitor in my body only seems to want to sleep, lay in bed, stare blindly, swirl up a whirlwind of dark and dusty thoughts or cry. Depression is a cruel beast from which I do not think I will ever fully tame.
I have referred to my depression as the black abyss. It is all consuming. I can block it out and push through for a time; but it is like a demon hell bent on taking not just my body, but my soul into the darkness for which their is no refuge. At my best I look at each day with indifference. I move through the motions, handle my responsibilities as necessary for an adult in this world who maintains self sufficiency and I insert appropriate responses in conversations when the occasion arises. All the while,throughout each day I face the aching for the solitude my bedroom brings. I imagine the soft and welcoming embrace of my bedding and the soothing blank walls as I can envelope into myself until the next day, when I know I must return to the "real world" and push through all over again.
At my worst, the daily simplicities suck the breath right out of my lungs. The though of a day following the present one becomes more than I can bare and I frequently burst into tears. Pushing myself to get ready and out the door for work feels like an equivalent to hiking the entire Appalachian trail. Social interaction is excruciating. The mask gets heavy and then it's hard when someone can tell that you aren't okay. And oh, how much worse it is when no one notices at all. There really is no winning at the worst of it.
The positive feedback loop of thoughts is what scares me most. I will open up to people and then feel consumed with guilt for the burden I put on them. From there, I realize, that is all I am. a burden. I only hurt the people I love and they would be so much better off without me here. I'm not strong enough to be here anyway. Everything would be so much better if I was gone. One thought after the other, as quickly as this paragraph, and you are easily contemplating your own demise. Luckily, I have been able to fight this thought cycle and I have a weapon for these times. As silly as it sounds, My dog Misty keeps me in focus. My troubled mind can trick me to think everyone would be better off without me, but it can never trick me to think Misty would be. In so many ways she saves me.
I have days of clarity. The sun shines in my brain and I can feel my old self, with my unhindered thoughts and perspective. These are the moments that keep me going. That make me realize, in the words of Dexter, that this depression is just my "dark passenger." It is not me. It is not my end all be all. I just might beat it one day. Until then, I will try to learn from and survive the abyss.

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