It's happened again. That moment where my body is screaming at me to slow the fuck down.
How do I know, you ask?
When my stomach churns with bubbled knots and my heart skips ferociously in my chest, while my left wrist aches with the pricks of a dozen needles, I know I have tossed myself back into the panic zone.
Eleven years ago, my older children's dad passed away, leaving me to mend their broken hearts and soothe their ravaged nightmares. Months later, I raced to the E.R. with a pain in my chest and shortness of breath. As I registered, the check-in lady informed me I was most likely experiencing a panic attack. She was wrong.
After the rush of the CT Scan, I was admitted to the hospital with a Pulmonary Embolism. My life would never be the same.
My doctor stood next to my hospital bed, listening to me cope by joking about my own death. She cleared her throat and said, "I know this is your way to make yourself feel better, but your chances of not making it, were more significant then you realize. Be glad you arrived, before this turned into something more dire."
My life shifted that day. I realized I was all my children had. Their dad had already passed on and now I couldn't be reckless in my life, because those two babies were counting on me to be in their lives every single day from here on out.
And that was the day my panic attacks became a normal occurrence in my life.
At first, they were constant, forcing me to consult my doctor and have her prescribe me Xanax. For months I relied on that pill to keep me sane. I hated the way I felt on them, but I despised the way I my body functioned off of them.
After nearly a year, I quit taking the pill. Cold turkey. Yes, I know how dangerous that is. At least, now I know. In the moment, I had no idea, but I was determined to take back my power. I refused to be controlled by my anxiety, nor was I going to have my only saving grace be a little white pill.
I stopped taking the pills and I have never looked back. Step by step, I learned to recognize my triggers and control my reactions.
Now, I'm extremely conscious of my body's reactions to the world around me. Today, after two days of consistent panic attacks (nausea, quickened pulse, light-headiness, pain in my left wrist and an inability to think clearly) I have acknowledged I need to take a deep breath.
Sometimes, it takes me a few days to realize the pickle I have put myself in. But now that the light has come on, I can fix it.
I am in control of my body.
And today I soothe my own self back to health, because I am my number one advocate.