November is a big month for writers. It’s time for NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo – National Blog Posting Month where bloggers set a goal to write a post a day in November. For me that’s a big challenge. I try to post once a month but sometimes the days get away from me and it just doesn’t happen. I’m eager to see how this project works out and what effect it will have on my time management going forward.
NaBloPoMo was inspired by NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month wherein writers are challenged to write a novel in the month of November. This annual contest has resulted in many published novels and inspired thousands of writers to complete their work in progress even if they didn’t finish by the end of the month. I wish all the novel writers and bloggers starting this challenge good luck and good writing.
Here I go.
The first time I had a panic attack I thought I was dying. I woke from a restless sleep with my heart racing and a heavy feeling in my chest. Then my fingers began to tingle and before long that sensation moved up my hand and into my arm. At first confused and then terrified by what was happening I woke my husband. Call 911, something is very wrong! As I waited for the ambulance to arrive my heart raced faster and faster and each time the speed increased I became more frightened. Cold sweat poured out of me. I’m having a heart attack!
This can’t be happening. I have too much to do. I can’t do this to my family. How could my husband cope with the loss and care for his father? I was not ready to leave my grown children or my grandchildren. I prayed for the ambulance to arrive in time while Mike paced.
“Your heart is fine, the EMT said after examining me thoroughly. What’s going on in your life that’s causing you so much stress?
Caregivers know the answer to that. Constant vigilance. Sleepless nights for days and weeks on end. Second guessing by family members who aren’t there every day like you are. Loved ones who not only resist but openly fight your efforts to care for them. It all piles up and you take it all in. Swallow it down and start another day. Eventually something has to give and your body sends out an urgent signal. I’m in trouble here. And you are. Left untreated the same stress that leads to panic attacks can result in a heart attack. The good news is there is treatment. The key is to understand what is happening and why.
After that terrible scare I read all I could about what had happened to me. I quickly learned to recognize the onset of a panic attack. When I sensed one coming on I’d go to a quiet room, lie down and take slow deep breaths to calm myself. Over time it became easier and the attacks lessened in intensity and duration. Now they occur rarely and dissipate in minutes. I’m lucky. I can control my panic attacks without medication. For some the attacks are so severe and frequent medical intervention is needed. If that’s the case with you, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor and get treatment. You will feel so much better if you do.
Is it a heart attack or a panic attack? (from HelpGuide.org)
Most of the symptoms of a panic attack are physical, and many times these symptoms are so severe that people think they’re having a heart attack. In fact, many people suffering from panic attacks make repeated trips to the doctor or the emergency room in an attempt to get treatment for what they believe is a life-threatening medical problem. While it’s important to rule out possible medical causes of symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, or difficulty breathing, it’s often panic that is overlooked as a potential cause—not the other way around.
A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. Your heart pounds and you can’t breathe. You may even feel like you’re dying or going crazy. untreated, can lead to panic disorder and other problems. They may even cause you to withdraw from normal activities. But panic attacks can be cured and the sooner you seek help, the better. With treatment, you can reduce or eliminate the of panic and regain control of your life.
For more information about panic attacks and how to treat them go to http://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/panic-attacks-and-panic-disorders.htm
To read more about Bobbi and her experience as a caregiver purchase a copy of her book, Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver. Blog followers receive a discount when ordering directly.
Published by Open Books Press – $15.95 Print $2.99 e-book