Thursday, 29 December 2011

And So The Panic Continues...

Christmas was a success.  The food was delicious and healthy.  Everyone was satisfied and we all agreed that healthy is the way to go.  I had a tough time Christmas day with several waves of nausea.  I wasn't surprised as Christmas is such an exciting time, and any intense emotion - good or bad - can bring on stronger side effects.  It was Boxing Day I wasn't prepared for.

My husband and I went out that day to find some deals.  We walked out of the mall with some new jeans and shirts.  It felt good to get out with him and I was happy to make it through some difficult waves of nausea without completely losing it.  I was exhausted when we arrived at home.  We were invited to a friend's house for a late night dinner and drinks.  Drinks don't agree with me as I have 100% cut out alcohol...and dinner wouldn't agree much because I am so limited still as to what I can eat.  Plus, I was just too tired to go out and socialize.  So instead my husband and my daughter went out and I enjoyed a quiet evening at home by myself.  I decided to take down our Christmas tree.  It was time to rid of the clutter as I knew it would make me feel more relaxed.  I put on a movie for "company" and began to disassemble the tree.  It wasn't as enjoyable as I was anticipating.  The waves of nausea continued to come every half hour or so.  I felt a deep tired that made me feel as though I had to physically lift my legs in order to walk.  My eyes burned and I wondered if I should just go to bed.  But I knew I would awake when my husband and daughter came home, and nothing is worse (to me) than being woken up during the night from a comfortable, deep sleep.

My husband and daughter didn't arrive till 11:30pm.  I was a bit annoyed because I was under the impression they wouldn't be so late.  I knew I needed to sleep and I guess the selfish part of me thought, "Um, hello...remember me?...the one who is exhausted and needs sleep?".  After my daughter was put to bed, my husband and I sat in silence in our family room, watching the tail-end of a movie we had started the night before.  I wanted to talk to him about the anxiety that was looming inside of me, but I thought I'd just sound like a broken record.  Well, perhaps I should have gone with my gut and be more open.  Because instead the feelings festered inside of me.  I felt my heart rate begin to race, the cold chills came over my body, I felt scared and tired...and I just had to let it out.  But when the panic sets in, look out.  The panic attacks I experience since being in tolerance withdrawal, and especially since tapering from the Clonazepam and Diazepam, are something straight out of a movie.  I think I've mentioned before that they are as unnatural as can be.  The intensity far exceeds any attack I ever had pre-Benzos.

I just needed to get angry.  With my heart racing, the beating loud in my ears...the room spinning out of control...I grabbed the controller for our PS3 and attempt to throw it across the room.  I KNEW this was not a smart thing to do, so I never let go...but as I placed it back down on the sofa, I frantically searched for something - ANYTHING - I could throw and break.  The rage boiled inside of me and I made my hands into fists and began to punch my head repeatedly.  THOMP THOMP THOMP.  I knew I had done it too hard as the final blow made the room spin even more and it felt as though my brain actually came loose and jiggled back and forth.  I felt dizzy and also felt more on edge.  The anger was still there and I moved to the bathroom to get ready for bed.  Everything was done hard.  Slamming cupboards, throwing my toothbrush back into the holder...I was absolutely filled with rage.

Time passed after we went to bed.  We were both angry and frustrated at this point...not even sure what we were angry about...but I knew, for me, this was turning into pure panic...as well as frustration over feeling this horrible after been med-free for 5 months.  I thought month 4 was hard...is this what month 5 was going to be?  I knew things could get worse before they got better.  I've been warned of this by the pharmacist, and I've read it several times on the forum I visit.  But this bad?  I "rested" in bed for what felt like an eternity.  In reality it was 2 hours.  Not once falling asleep.  I prayed, I wished, I hoped...I cried, I whimpered and I spoke to myself.  Nothing helped.  My limbs continuously switched from hot to cold.  The sweats came and went.  The nausea waved over me and the twitching commenced.  Finally at 4am, I sat straight up in bed and quietly said, "Oh God".  This was it.  The panic had officially arrived.  I looked at the clock and began to cry.  I didn't want to wake him up, but there was no way of doing this alone.  I woke up my husband and to be honest, everything becomes a blur.  I remember laying in his arms and he rubbed my lower back trying to calm me.  I was shaking and my stomach was turning.  The fear - of who knows what - was so intense and it made me feel crazy.  I know at some point I ended up on the bathroom floor, sobbing away and wishing I could be put out of my misery.  The intrusive thoughts were horrible and I imagined things I would not wish on anyone to feel.  I rocked myself on the floor and then joined my husband again.  I remember jolting again out of bed in complete panic and running to the toilet as I thought I'd be throwing up any second.  I sat on the carpet by our fireplace and pulled my hair while screaming.  The pain and fear in my brain was pure torture.  The visions, the feeling of hopelessness and undeserving took over me.  I remember at one point the physical pain in my head became so strong that I finally remember hitting myself earlier that night.  I knew this pain was coming from the blows and I began to worry I had done permanent damage to myself.  The following day my husband opened up that he worried I could have possibly given myself a concussion and in the morning after I finally slept, he woke up to check that I was still breathing.  He had just read the story of a person who hit their head and ended up in a coma the following day.  He couldn't fully rest worrying that something bad may happen to me.

At 6:30am, I finally felt like I could sleep.  At this point I had told my husband to go back to bed and I had gone out to our family room.  I sat in there for awhile in the dark, waiting for that feeling of, "okay, deep breath and relax", that told me I could sleep now.  I propped my pillows into a sitting position because I knew all so well that if I was to fully lay down now, I would end up in a panic again.  From 7am to 10am, I was able to come in and out of sleep.  Finally we were up some time after 10am and I was hit with more panic.  After a somewhat frantic phone call to my mom, and complete exhaustion, I was able to rest.  I spent the majority of the day on the sofa in a bit of a haze.  My husband showered me with extra hugs and love...I can see in his eyes when it's bad as I felt it was.  It's a look of sympathy.  His eyes say, "Wow...that really sucked".  And it did.  It is the most terrifying feeling that I'm aware of.  For 6+ hours, I lost control of ME.  And nothing would take the physical or mental pain away.  It was just a matter of riding it out till it was ready to leave. 

Fast forward 48 hours.  And again I get hit.  It's now 4:05am.  I am calming down as I write this post.  I think I'll be able to sleep after saving it and publishing it.  All day long I have had pain in my abdomen and ribs.  I could handle it.  I even managed to visit good friends today for the entire afternoon without letting on I was in pain.  I knew the pain came from my Central Nervous System healing, so I accepted the pain and enjoyed my day as best as I could.  We drove home and arrived at our house around 8pm.  The pain was becoming stronger at this point, but I figured it would pass soon.  No such luck.  Another hour passed, and then another...each hour getting worse.  I felt as though my ribs were being cracked.  If I cried, a hundred little nerve endings shot out pain in my abdomen.  So I had to hold the tears in order to keep the pain somewhat at bay.  It felt as though an elastic band was wrapped around my Solar Plexus, making it hard to even take a deep breath.  My stomach tightened and I spent my evening trying to stretch out my muscles, only to find myself in discomfort the second I tried to relax.

5 hours later, and here I am on the bathroom floor cross-legged, with the space heater keeping me warm, and the laptop sitting on my lap.  My husband stayed up with me as long as he could.  I quietly left the room when he drifted off to dreamland...I grabbed the laptop and went for the room I knew I could cry in (and stay warm).  The pain is slowly subsiding.  I KNOW where it is coming from, but why does it have to hurt so badly?  I said to my husband tonight that I DO realize it's my body healing and that the Central Nervous System is complicated and it just takes more time for some heal...but this is ridiculous.  And some have it far worse than I do!  They are prisoners in their own home.  They live in a constant state of fear.  But they do get better.  We all do. 

A lot of people find they get hit with a massive wave that leads to a LOT of positive healing.  I thought last month was that wave, but the "Benzo Beast" had other plans in store for me.  He/She is going to make me work a bit harder.  I'm not okay with it, but I have no other choice.  As much as I'd love to stay in bed all day tomorrow and cry whenever I feel like it, my daughter instead has a friend coming for lunch and a play date, so I must be "on the ball".  I will get through it.  My husband is home and he is a terrific helper when I need it.  But I rarely end up having to rely on him much, for this experience is making me stronger than I ever thought possible.  I trudge through.  But I am tired.  Mentally and physically.  I can feel the tears come on throughout the day with anything to provoke them, and I can feel my body is weaker, making it hard to lift things that once gave me no problems.  My ribs hurt from the stress I've put on them these past 48 hours.  My hips and shoulders feel almost bruised from the jolting I experience during the attacks.  My eyelids are puffy and my mouth hangs open from exhaustion.  But I can still hide it.  And that's what gets me through it.  People think it's better to let out emotion and not keep it locked in.  If I was to do that right now, just about every stranger on the street would be getting an earful.  So instead I walk around with my "Smile in Disguise" and in the end I only help myself.  A smile can change one person's day, so why can't it change mine?  As long as I have my smile, I've got everything I need to get me through this.  And I'm now 2 more panic attacks away from being healed.  I suppose that is something to smile about...at least a lopsided smile.  


***  It's now 6:18am...no sleep yet.  I went back to bed, fairly confident I'd sleep, only to be constantly hit with jolts and internal tremors.  My stomach began to turn and to the toilet I went.  Now I'm back again.  The shaking, tremors and fear are through the roof.  I doubt I will sleep much if at all tonight.  I just can't believe this.  I knew I was possibly in for a long road, but I never thought that at 5 months out things could get this tough.  The only thing I can hold on to, is reminding myself attacks like these NEVER happened pre-Benzos...so it's just a matter of time before it diminishes and all of this will just be another chapter in my book of life.  

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