The Grim Reaper Makes For A Strange Best Friend

Rapid heartbeat, can’t breathe, nausea, vomiting, sweating, light-headed, arms tingling, and entire body shaking. Oh shit! What is this?! Sitting up in bed I grab my laptop. Google all of the above. Oh Gawwwd! HEART ATTACK.

August 5, 2012  4:00 am

My husband wakes up because I start making some sort of whining, oh Lord I’m gonna die, type of noise. He asks what’s wrong and I tell him the symptoms I’m experiencing. He notices the laptop on and says, “You better be on puppiesandkittens.com.” He disapproves of Dr. Google.

“No,” I say. “And I think I’m having a stroke or heart attack!”

“No, you’re not. You’re having a panic attack.”

“How the hell do you know?!”

“Trust me.”

Three days prior to this my mom passed away from a stroke. I was mentally and emotionally overwhelmed and yes I was having my first panic attack. I’ve had at least one or two a week ever since. To be on the safe side I went to the doctor for a full check up. I half expected the doctor to tell me, “Dear God woman! How are you not six feet under already? You are messed up head to toe! We need to prep you for about four different emergency surgeries, stat!

Color me shocked when I was told no such thing.

However I was a bit stunned when the doctor’s demon scale showed I weighed eight pounds more than I thought I did. Along with the physical exam I was asked a series of questions, one being, did I feel depressed. I told her, no, not until after you told me I weighed a significant amount more than my scale at home says I do. She chuckled as my self-esteem officially went on vacation. See ya! Come back and visit!

It turns out except for needing a bit more iron and a little less poundage, physically I’m fine. The next step according to the doctor is either medication or talking to someone. Who wants to ever hear that. Yes, it appears you have mentally and/or emotionally snapped. Would you like to travel down medication or therapy road. Hmmm…I choose red wine road with a pit stop at fuck it all cafe.

I thought hearing I was fine would help keep the darkness away. But it didn’t. At least once a day I think about my death, my husband’s death and worry about anything happening to my daughter. To keep my head from these dark places has proven difficult. You have to understand, before my mom passed, almost all the adults I’ve known my whole life also passed on. My grandmother and her sister passed in 2010, then in 2012 my mom’s sister, two uncles, a few of my mom’s cousins, and a couple of family members I never met. It’s a bit much when the grim reaper has over stayed his welcome in your house. You need to get out! Go visit someone else and get your feet off my table!

What’s even stranger is that most of them including my mom died on a day that had other significance. Either a family members birthday or the same date someone else died. My mom died on her dad’s birthday. Now on my parents birthdays I’m going to keep a sniper’s eye on my bff and his hitman ways.

Hell, I’ve already got weirdness with my own birthday, which happens to be the same date my mother’s first born died eleven years earlier. My family could make the head of someone who practices numerology burst into flames.

During the last few attacks I decided to think about my early exit on earth positively.

- No more bills – No more accidently catching infomercials – No more period cramps –  I won’t have to be around for the iPhone 18 (not that I have anything against iPhones) – No more desire to ram my car into stupid people – No more stupid people Aaaaaah…namaste.

Every anxiety attack is a lonely experience. Most of mine happen while everyone else is asleep. A week ago the darkness crept in and I started to lose my shit at 11pm. Rapid thudding heartbeat, shaking like a crackhead in withdrawal, and severe nausea. My husband had just laid down in bed and I knew he was already half asleep. I told him what I was experiencing and he mumbles, “Your body is just doin’ what it wants to do. Just let it.”

The attack even paused and said, “What the fuck. What did he just say?”

Well, thanks honey. Sweet dreams.

So if my body wants to have a heart attack just let it do wants it wants to do. Excellent.

In his defense he was snoring 20 seconds later.  I survived the night (whew!) and the next day he admitted he was barely awake and what he said didn’t make any damn sense.

A word of advice, don’t rely on late night TV to calm an attack. Between dial-a-faux-hoe, and Montel Williams “get the cash you need tomorrow” commercials, David Letterman’s awkward laugh, and bad movies about someone trying to avenge the death of their brother by the hands of a drug lord, who can relax!

My refusal to go on medication comes from a fear they’ll be a gateway to odd behavior. Here I am…a housewife popping anxiety meds. Then I’ll feel like, what the hell, and wash it down with some five dollar Pinot noir. As I shake my glass in the faces of my imaginary friends I say, Oooooh I feelzzz goooood! Let’s get the party started, y’all! I’ll throw sexy parties on the weekends and let strangers sleep in my livingroom. Next I go get nipple piercings and shave my head and take the crazy train to Britney Spears dark days town. My husband will be so distraught he’ll turn to his friends and co-workers in this small town and tell them all about his space cadet wife. Then some flooze-ball, whore-bag see’s an opportunity and snatches up my good man. Meanwhile, my daughter gets pregnant at thirteen, becomes a meth addict and ruins her entire life. All this because I couldn’t get my mental shiz together and stop being a big ol’ worry wort.

Actually, I don’t want medication because I don’t feel it’s a permanent solution. It would be a temporary fix. I need to confront what is causing the anxiety and work through it. It’s as simple and difficult as that.

Although some of the real side effects of possible prescribed meds are, impaired thinking, impaired judgement, slurred speech, mania, hallucinations, and impulsive behavior. So the above scenario is not totally off base. It would make a great Lifetime movie, but I’m not interested in that being my life.

Stay sassy and classy! (Says the girl acting like she’s signing a highschool yearbook. But I do what I wahhnnT!)

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12 thoughts on “The Grim Reaper Makes For A Strange Best Friend

  1. Written with so much humour and yet covering a really serious problem. I think you’re right not to take the drug route but what might help when you feel an attack coming on is to grab a glass of milk , turn on the laptop – out of the bedroom- and get Youtube up. Think of a song you really like, say you choose an oldie like the Mamas and Papas, listen to that while guessing the year it came out, then choose another from the list to the right and do the same.The music will soothe and comfort you while distracting you from the problem. I really hope you can come to terms with your losses and get better soon though taking a glass or two of wine doesn’t sound half bad,.Hugs

  2. I really like your comment about every anxiety attack is a very lonely experience. So true. There is nothing at all unusual about the timing. Things slow down at the end of the day. They say with kids that idle hands are the devils playground, but with anxiety sufferers it is idle minds that are the problem. I have way more experience with these meds than I care to remember and I agree that the decision to take them should not be taken lightly. On the other hand sometimes a chemical reset of the brain helps a grear deal and a relatively short term course of these meds can do that. Sometimes the anxiety blows up the fears of the side effects as well. The most common are probably weight gain and some sexual stuff, but they don’t make you “act weird”. I agree the long term solution is confronting the problem, and I would find someone to talk to about it. If these things carry on for awhile with regular occurrences they generally don’t just go away on their own.
    Good luck to you

  3. Oh, my dear, you really said it well. Funny, funny lady, but anxiety attacks are really not very funny, I know. I can tell you this, it will get better. Keep hanging in there and keep writing. And if you decided on medications, they don’t have to last forever either.

  4. I’ve had only one anxiety attack, and that was enough for me! In my case, I rushed outdoors and took big gulps of fresh air, and that helped immensely. But I understand that’s not a good solution for the middle of the night, especially in the middle of winter!
    Best of luck in conquering this problem and the issues causing it… and keep your sense of humor.

  5. Great funny writing, Leah. Chill out, stay away from the drugs and exercise and meditate instead. Boys are so good at giving the wrong words, when you need some reassurance. – but he’s probably right!

  6. I had a serious incident back in 08 and have been on meds since then to keep me from getting too down and don’t know what would happen if I got off them but would really like to. Enjoyed your post and will be keeping track of your writings. Have a great weekend. Odie in NC

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