I wrote the this immediately following my most recent anxiety attack. I let myself spill my thoughts, and swore I would not edit the words. These are my raw emotions, and reading them back is strange. This is an open and honest account of what it feels like during and after an anxiety attack, written immediately following one of my postpartum panic attacks.
Although no stranger to anxiety, motherhood has intensified my disorders, and brought them to light. Even more so after the birth of my rainbow baby. I have written a lot about my anxieties, but they stay hidden in my drafts folder. I’m just waiting on that courage to hit publish. But I wanted to share this, because anxiety attacks are terrifying and alienating. I needed to share this with you as a step in my recovery.
I feel it starting tonight as I nurse and rock my baby to sleep.
I know it’s starting because I feel the tingles. The pricks. Then the nausea.
My stomach starts to churn as my thoughts start racing. They zip from in and out, indiscernible from one to the next.
I start to shake, my hands first, then my feet. They twitch, they feel restless, they need to move, they need to get up they need to go somewhere.
I feel heavy, and outside of myself. I start to sweat – first my hands, then my armpits, behind my knees, between my breasts, anywhere that’s warm.
My eyes blink, but I can’t figure out if they’re moving at supersonic speeds or at a snails pace. My vision feels off. I can’t put a finger on it.
My head starts to pound.
I have to get up. I have to get up. I have to get him off me. It feels like I might die right there on the spot.
I feel crazy.
I put him down, and as soon as the door clicks, I hear him start to scream. My heart, that wants to go pick him up and ease his mind, is turned off. It’s just my head and my body now, discombobulated and out of sync.
I walk into the other room, sit down and face the wall, and close my eyes. I cry, silenty. I let the tears stream down as my body revolts. The waves of nausea continue, the shaking persists. I just need to get something. Or stare at this wall. I just need to be left alone. I just want someone to hold my hand. I just want everyone to be quiet. I just need someone to tell me what to do.
The sound around me goes dull. Everything is buzzing. My thoughts fly out of my head like arrows and surround the area I occupy. I can almost see the broken sentences fill the space, disjointed and unintelligible.
My husband enters the doorway to our bedroom, my back faces him. He begins to tell me the baby is still crying. But I can’t hear him, I can’t hear anything. I just feel. And I feel it all. It’s like trying to hold up the whole world on arthritic shoulders. Heavy.
I say something, I think I yell. He tells me he’s going to rock the baby, which makes me so angry. I can do it, I say, I can do it, I’m fine. Let me do it, I need to do it, I need to know I can do it. He backs out of the room, saying something. It’s offensive, I’m sure of it. I can feel his eyes roll back and his heavy sigh. My already on high-alert emotions go haywire.
I feel crazy.
The shaking returns. The heat returns. Breathe, two, three. Snap out of it, two, three. Inhale, two, three. Exhale, two, three. I am scared. I’m not sure of what, but I am.
My chest hurts. I rest my damp palm on the spot where it eminates. My throat closes. I move my slippery hands up, trying to pull down the invisible noose.
My head spins as I rise, I feel the sweat dripping down my chest. I need to do this, I can do this, I have to do this. Get it together. I blink and I’m in his room – how long did it take me to get here?
I lean over, realizing for the first time since I left his room that he’s audibly screaming. His head hits my chest and he calms.
My body does not.
I feel crazy.
Windows covered, lavender dropped in the diffuser, fan going. Back and forth, back and forth. The rocking of the glider and baby’s breathing in unison.
My inhale, exhale slows. The shaking lessens. The buzzing softens. All of a sudden the head-shattering pain, once overshadowed by my attack is now front and centered. My head pounds, my breathing slows. My head pounds, my thoughts slow. My head pounds, my pulse slows.
Exhausted, as if I just ran a marathon. Still shaky, feeling weak. There is no strength left in my body. I am drained. The spot in my chest, sore. My shoulders feel as though they may sink me into the ground.
This must be me coming out of it. My legs weak, my eyes drowsy. The after effects of the adrenaline surge.