A few days ago, first thing in the morning, I had my first ever anxiety attack. I was sitting on the couch, eating my breakfast and watching the local news when my heart began racing. The Fitbit I was wearing on my wrist clocked that my heartrate jumped from 57 bpm to 189 in a matter of seconds. I sat there for a couple minutes debating on if I should “wait and see” or call 911. Since I was still in my sexy lingerie I’d worn to bed the night before (sweatpants and sloppy t-shirt) I opted to monitor the symptoms from home. Exactly 7 minutes later, my heart had returned to my normal resting heart rate, my hands had stopped shaking and I was relieved that the EMT’s didn’t have to see me in that ratty 2012 marathon shirt I’d stolen from my husband’s drawer.
Amanda Waggener, M.I.D. (medical internet doctor) went to work. I began my degree work about the time we went from dialup to broadband. I was top of my class thanks to my proficiency with Mayo Clinic, WebMD and Google searches. I graduated with honors. Gold star stuff. Anyway, according to everything I read, what I had suffered from that morning was a full-blown anxiety attack. Anxiety is something I know. I’ve had it since I was a teenager, but an anxiety attack is new and not cool, at all.
I prescribed myself a month-long break from the stresses of my life in effort to keep it from happening again anytime soon. Step 1 was to identify the stressors. After a brief staring off into space session, I discovered that many of the stressors I can’t ditch or social services would be at my door. However, there was a short list of my stressors that I could eliminate, short-term at least.
So, I began making a list:
Things I Need a Break from Before I Completely Lose My Sh!t
3. Sunday Morning Church Services
4. Volunteer Roles
5. Counting Calories
And, then, I began making another list:
Things I Need to Focus on To Retrieve My Sh!t
4. Only communicate with people who infuse love into my life.
5. Schedule an appointment with my therapist.
I prescribed my treatment commence on August 1st. August would be the month long Zen party that my body was physically screaming at me to attend.
I accepted the invitation to my own party.
I’m only 2 weeks in on this break, and so far, I have learned that without Facebook reminding me of everyone’s birthdays, I forget them. I remember birthdays, but I forget when the day comes without that little nudge from the Facebook. I’ve not seen engagements, weddings, gender reveals or endlessly-perfect via overly-edited selfies on Instagram lately either. I have no idea what sex your baby is nor have I read the inspirational quotes below your selfies in a few days now. But, I did schedule my appointment with the counselor. Hoping, when I get there, he doesn’t tell me I’m crazier than last time we spoke. I’ve been reading and, obviously, writing. I’ve been checking things off my lists like it’s my job.
The biggest change I’ve noticed so far is the difference an emphasis on prayer makes. I’d highly recommend it to anyone.
Just sitting still. Being open. Listening. It’s like Zoloft to my heart.
Prayer not only has a calming effect on my soul, but also inspires epiphanies. Like the one I had yesterday about how a large majority of what I know about Jesus comes from men standing on a stage at a church. Here’s what I know about men (ok, I’ll concede, women too), they are flawed. The light bulb moment I had was that maybe the hang-ups I have, aren’t even the truth at all. Maybe those hangups all came from the ideas that grew in me from men who went to seminary (also mostly taught by men, all 100% flawed, again, like me). This is not a feminist epiphany. Although, being female, I am pro-female, because duh. I’m also pro-lots of things. Besides the point.
The epiphany was that I need to dig deeper to discover MY truth, from my own digging and researching; independent of other’s convictions or opinions. A truth based on the Biblical findings unearthed with my own God-given eyes by using my own God-given brain in my own time.
Week 2 Update: I’m digging. My break may need to extend beyond 4 weeks as it seems like I may need some time to investigate what people have discussed for hundreds of years. I’ll keep you posted.
Excited about week 3 and week 4.
And I’m sorry about the birthday thing. When I get back on Facebook I’ll catch up on that, but until I’m back, Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Sorry for your Loss, I can’t believe your kids are already so big, Get Well Soon and Congratulations!