Recipe for a Panic Attack: Recognizing the Signs and Admitting My Role in Sinking Down (A Very Long Post)

I had a full-blown panic attack yesterday. I had been in a slow downward spiral for days and didn’t recognize the signs and symptoms. Some of them are typical; some of them are my own that I’ve identified in myself. There was a progression of “events,”, which culminated in purging my thoughts in yesterday’s post (thoughts which are honest and real and truly how I feel), then being slammed with an acute panic attack shortly thereafter. And I did not see it coming. But I should have.

Yes, there’s a lot of shit going on in my life right now. Some good. Some bad. Some great. Some awful. But it’s not all circumstantial. I am somewhat culpable in what happened with me yesterday.

I am writing about this today for three specific reasons:

  1. I need to hold myself accountable, but also remember to treat myself gently and kindly. And it feels really fucking good to be able to identify and recognize what’s wrong and how I got to this point.
  2. I hope that sharing this helps someone, or someone you know, to recognize the signs, to take the steps necessary to care for your physical and mental health, and to be kind to yourself.
  3. I want to thank you all for your support and love – because let’s face it, it’s a form of familial love when you gather around someone and (virtually) wrap your arms around that someone, and I fucking felt it. And I love you for it. I’ve been more positive lately, and I want to explain what (I think) happened to me yesterday.

Here goes.

Circumstantial “Triggers” (i.e. Personal Shit)

I’m gonna tackle this part bullet point style, because some of it you already know and the rest I’m not prepared to talk (in depth) about yet.

  • I am being bullied at work. My character, my work ethic, everything. Full on assault. My supervisor is aware of it. And he knows that the problem is Queen Bitch. He refuses to do anything about it and, in fact, is about to move me to another area instead of addressing the problem with her. This means I will be away from the other coworkers whom I’ve grown quite close to. And they will still have to deal with her, because the super doesn’t want to set her off by moving her for what would be the fourth or fifth time.
  • I have problems that I can’t afford to deal with right now. Arthritis, connective tissue disease (unspecified), fibromyalgia, periodontitis, chronic headaches and migraines. And that’s not to mention the mental health issues I have, which you already know about. I do not spend frivolously (aside from a book here or there or a smoothie, but it’s not egregious). I am responsible and (mostly) frugal. I’ve worn the same clothes for years, and my car is sixteen years old and in need of repairs. I am not complaining about this. I am thankful that I have clothes. I am thankful that I have personal transportation. I am thankful that I am able to be employed and am. However, I make just enough to keep my bills paid (let’s not talk about student loans) and have just enough cushion to buy a book or smoothie now and then. If I were to lose my job today, I could make it two months. I have enough to do that. That’s both wonderful and terrible at the same time. I am 35 years old. I am educated. I am smart. I am competent and capable. And I am fed up with doing the same job that the two men in my department do, and they both make over ten grand more than I do. (Whew. My bad. I did not intend for this bullet to turn into a rant. Ahem.)
  • I am planning a big move this year, on a shoestring budget. I realize some of you don’t agree with this choice. And I get it. But, as previously mentioned, I am 35 years old. And you know what? I’m sick of living someone else’s life. I’m sick of riding in the backseat. I’m sick of following everyone’s rules, rules, rules. There is no tomorrow. There is today. And I need to finally fucking seize the day. I’ve wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest all my life. I do not want to die before I’ve lived the life I want to live. But it’s a costly choice. (Anything worth having is worth fighting for, yeah?) I will have to keep my stuff in storage indefinitely. But with the help of a good blogger friend, I’ve discovered that you can find tiny little apartments outside of Seattle proper, for just a little more than what I’m currently paying as a mortgage. So now it’s getting there that is a bit tricky on my budget.
  • I am trying to prepare my house to sell and then sell it. It’s in need of repairs, but I’m close. Closer than I was, at least.
  • I’m dealing with a personal issue that has been festering for going on five years now. And it’s all coming to a head. Finally. Finally. But it’s intensely stressful.
  • I’ve begun my job hunt in Seattle, and that’s always stressful. Part of the stress here is that I know what the most responsible and safest bet is, but it’s not what I want. I want to finally do something with writing or copy-editing. If I’m not going out to save the world, at least I can do something I actually enjoy doing. We live at least half our lives at work. And that can ruin half of your life if you fucking hate your job.
  • Emotional Upheaval. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. For now.

That’s enough personal bullshit. Most of it you already know. But now I’m spilling it again for the purpose of putting my current mindset into perspective and how that, coupled with other factors, resulted in a major panic attack.

Musical Indications

Over the last few weeks, my choices in music have gotten progressively darker and angrier. Now. Here’s the thing. I have an “angry” playlist, but I typically only listen to it when I’m already angry. But sometimes…sometimes it’s a major sign that I’m heading down into deep depression. A steady stream of angry music is dangerous for me. It always has been. It almost always starts out as anger with me. I didn’t recognize it. I wasn’t alert to it. I’ve been feeling so good lately that I simply didn’t see it coming.

It started out fairly tame. I listen to a lot of 90s music, and man was 90s rock depressing. But I listen to a lot of it and am usually okay. I get into it. I jam out. I get “in my feels” (I hate that phrase.). And I’m cool. I’m good.

It started out with some Pearl Jam. “Black.” (My favorite for deeply personal reasons which would be fairly obvious if you pay attention to lyrics.) “Daughter.” (Which makes me absolutely livid, again for obvious reasons.) “Alive.” (Which makes me angrily happy that I’ve made it through what I’ve been through. Because Fuck You for stomping me into the ground and trying to keep me there.)

It then progressed to Evanescence and Linkin Park. The angry ones. I listened to them for days and days. Repeatedly. At work. At home.

That progressed to Eminem. Oh I listened to Eminem even longer than the others. I was getting angrier and angrier. More and more Fuck. You. Fuck. You.

Which then led to days of things like Rob Zombie and Godsmack. Especially Godsmack. A Whole Fucking Bunch of Godsmack. Particularly:

Yeah. I listened to those four in particular Over and Over and Over again. Then I listened to them some more. Over and Over and Over. At work. At home. And Over again. (Also watched the vids because Sully Erna.) This obviously had a negative impact on me. As I’ve said, I listen to angry music now and then. But not for lengthy periods of time. I have fully immersed myself in anger and rage over the last few weeks. Bad. Fucking. News. I was fucking asking for it. And I was also seething beneath the surface and didn’t realize it. And this shit. This shit was gasoline on an ember. How did I not see what was happening?

As you know from yesterday, this anger (as it usually does with me) suddenly shifted to darkness. Depression. Hopelessness. Alice in Chains.

And the final nail in the coffin? My own doing of my own undoing?

I Broke the Cardinal Rule of Psychiatric Medicine

Yep. I’m prepared for this confession to tick some people off. I was read the riot act over this confession yesterday and rightfully so.

I know the rules about not stopping your meds. Never ever ever stop your meds and especially not “cold turkey” as it were. I’ve been through this with arthritis meds. There were some that were doing more harm than good and some that I simply couldn’t afford. So I very slowly and carefully weaned myself off of them. Like a smart, conscientious girl would do.

I also know it’s dangerous to stop meds cold turkey. Long-term physical or psychiatric meds that your body comes to rely upon on a chemical level. I’m wise to the fact that doing so could cause any number of physical withdrawal symptoms, suicidal ideation, self-harm, you name it.

And do you know what I did? I semi-stopped one of my meds. Straight up. No weaning. No consulting my doctor. Just stopped.

It wasn’t why you think. It wasn’t one of those situations where the person starts to feel better and then thinks, “I don’t need to take this shit anymore. I feel better.” As though you’ve taken an antibiotic and your infection is gone for good now. That’s not why I did it.

Why I Did ItEvery. Single. Day. Since I started taking this cocktail of psychiatric meds, I’ve been fucking tired. I mean wiped out. No. You don’t understand. That’s not good enough to explain it. When I’m at work, I feel as though at any moment my head is going to slam onto my desk and I’m going to pass right the fuck out. I’ve nodded off in traffic, y’all. That does not happen to me. That could kill me AND you. I’ll be in mid-conversation with the geek squad and totally zone out. I can’t focus on my work. I can’t focus on you. I can’t read. My vision blurs. And all I want to do is sleep. Only I can’t. And even when I do, the feeling never goes away.

So a few days ago, I was picking up a scrip and the pharmacist wanted to ask some questions of me. Since I’d been on the meds for a while, he asked if he could do a little assessment. He asked me how I’d been feeling, whether I thought they were working. I was at the drive-thru so I could barely hear him (yes, a drive-thru pharmacy). At first, I said, “Fine! Everything’s fine.” But I heard myself and shook my head.

I have sleep disturbances. I wake up in the night.

“Okay. You’re taking the Lexapro at night, aren’t you? Stop it. Take it in the morning.”

Done. The disturbances have mostly stopped.

“Anything else?”

I can’t go to the bathroom.

“Hmm. Nothing should be causing that. Anything else?”

Yeah. No resolution on that TMI issue.

I’m tired all the time.

“How tired?”

It’s difficult for me to be awake talking to you right now. I perpetually feel like I haven’t slept in days and will pass out at any given moment.

“That’s not right. That has to be one of the meds.”

So I start asking him: Clonidine? No, not if you’re taking it at night. Klonopin? Not to the extent you’re describing. And not at the dose you’re on. Lamictal? Not if you’re taking it at night. At this point I’m getting frustrated. He should be telling me instead of me asking one at a time. Vistaril? How are you taking it? Two capsules, three times daily. (His eyes bug out of his head at this.) THAT is the problem. THAT is why you’re feeling this way. Sweet! So I’ll just stop taking it. I’ve never thought that one was helping anyway, because I’m still quite anxious. Do. Not. Stop. Taking it! However, it would be safe to go to one pill in the morning, one at lunch, and two at night. Then talk with your doctor. Okay! Thank you!

I didn’t mention the sexual issues I’m having. Mostly because too shy. But also because I’m not in a physical relationship with anyone but myself at the moment, so it’s not an urgent matter.

So what do I do? Fuck Vistaril. Fuck it. I started skipping both the morning and lunchtime doses altogether, then taking my two at night. I didn’t consider it as being like the others – Lexapro and Lamictal. This went on for days, and I thought nothing of it. I just changed my dosage and thought nothing else of it.

All of these factors combined and merged into one viscous, throbbing mass of creeping doom.

The Result (Payback is a Bitch)

  • I started feeling a general sadness.
  • I started feeling lazier.
  • Anger became a more dominant emotion than usual.
  • I became frustrated.
  • I became restless.
  • My legs started bouncing again.
  • My speech got faster.
  • I started doing more nervous twitching and hand wringing again.
  • I started dwelling on emotional pain: what a bitch my mother is for abandoning me, what a sick fuck my father is for abusing me, what unloving assholes my siblings are for shunning me because I cannot forgive my abusive father, what a self-righteous prick Queen Bitch is, how emotionally cruel my ex could be, how hurtful it was when The Aussie threw me away, how sad I am that I’m not where I want to be right now. I hadn’t dwelt in several weeks. And still. Still I wasn’t alarmed. Still I didn’t see it.
  • And then the Big Bad Scary: Suicidal Ideation reared its ugly head for the first time in quite a while since I began medication therapy. Now. NOW I was scared. But I blamed it on the meds. They’ve suddenly stopped working for some reason, I told myself. It’s NOT the meds helping you afterall, if you feel this way. God, I really wish I would die in my sleep. Yeah. Now I was scared. But I didn’t understand it.

Yesterday I woke up in a strange mood. I felt simultaneously hyper and subdued. Weird, right? That’s totally contradictory, but it’s the only way I know how to describe it. I felt emotionally subdued and as though I really didn’t want to be around anyone or talk to anyone or leave the house or bother with anything at all. But I felt physically hyper. My legs would not stop bouncing. My speech alternated between rapid and sluggish. My heart was racing. I couldn’t sit still. All the while…subdued. I had zero appetite, and my appetite has been low for days. But now, even the thought of food kind of made me strangely mad. And I was listening to Layne Staley sing some of the most depressing music there is, but I was in no state to handle it or appreciate it for its haunting beauty. My mind, my thoughts, turned into severe emotional turmoil. And I needed to get it out. I needed to purge.

Afterward? The Panic Attack that I didn’t realize was already brewing hit me. Hard. Forcefully. Punishingly. Terrifyingly.

The Panic Attack

It had already begun, and I didn’t even know it. I had no awareness of what was happening except that I felt like shit and wanted to go home. This is hard. This has all been hard to get out. But I’m going to keep going, no matter how ashamed I feel – because I know that I Should NOT feel ashamed. And maybe this will help someone to identify their own signs and symptoms, or those of someone they love. And it’s good for me. It reinforces these things for me. So. Here’s what my panic attack looked like.

  1. Heightened frustration.
  2. Serious stomach distress.
  3. Heart racing.
  4. Restless.
  5. Bouncing my legs.
  6. Rocking back and forth in my chair.
  7. Eyes darting to and fro, nervously, anxiously.
  8. Breathing rapidly, suffocatingly.
  9. Hot. Had to shed layers hot, despite it being cold in here.
  10. A strange out of body feeling, as though I was watching this happen but was helpless to stop it. As though I was detached and other from myself.
  11. Mind racing, racing, racing, making less and less sense, getting more and more frantic, growing more and more irrational.
  12. Feeling crazy, insane, like I was seriously going out of my fucking mind.
  13. Feeling like this was never going to end. Ever. And this state would now be permanent.
  14. Gritting my teeth, rocking, rocking, leaning forward and holding my head in my hands.
  15. Squeezing my head.
  16. Shaking. Violently shaking.
  17. Pulling my hair.
  18. Wanting to hit myself. But I was in the room with others. They couldn’t see me, but it’s the only reason I wasn’t screaming in rage.
  19. And finally I had to run to the bathroom to throw up.

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At some point in the midst of all of this, I thought about the Vistaril and had a brief question in my mind. Is that why this is happening?

And no, I don’t think that’s all that was wrong. I know it wasn’t. Because I’d already had that anger and rage building, building, building. But I do believe that I made a mistake in doing what I did with the medication. I do believe it was a factor in what happened to me yesterday. And I do regret not listening to the pharmacist.

When it was over, I felt exhausted and spent. I took my Vistaril (I had it with me). Talked with a WordPress friend about what was going on (actually during the panic attack, too) – and I’m more grateful than you know.

This morning I took my single Vistaril. And now I’m about to take my lunchtime one. And I’m tired. I’m tired as fuck. I could go to sleep on my desk. Right. Fucking. Now. But I’m going to take it. And when I meet Dr. Feelgood for my next appointment, I’m going to request we try something different for anxiety. Because this is not working for me.

Lessons Learned

  • Be more aware of your behaviors and reactions.
  • Pay attention to your patterns and routines. When you break them, reach out. If it’s fixable, fix it. If you haven’t changed anything, fucking reach out. For me, I could have told people here. People who may have recognized that I was spiraling out of emotional control.
  • Do. Not. DO NOT significantly alter your meds without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. And fucking LISTEN to what they tell you. HEED it.
  • Do not settle for meds that make you feel poorly. Be your own advocate and be ballsier. Ask for better meds. Do it. FUCKING DO IT. Your life may literally depend upon it.

In the aftermath, I still feel subdued. I’m still shaky and bouncy. My appetite is good. I just had a full lunch. I don’t think I ate at all yesterday, which isn’t normal for me. I’m tired as fuck. I’m still down.

But it is better than yesterday. By a long shot. Maybe I am sliding down into a depressive state. And if I am, that’s okay. It’s part of who I am. How I am. But I must take better care of myself and pay better attention to my mind, body and spirit.

And never ever forget to breathe.

And please, if you’re suffering, reach out. If you think you have no one to reach out to, reach out to me. We’re all in this thing called life together.

So I thank you. I thank you for being here for me. For encouraging me. For commiserating with me. For telling me to chin up. For telling me to stop fucking listening to that bullshit while I’m in the throes of a depressive cycle. For telling me you get it. For telling me you’ve been there. For simply being here. I thank you.

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110 thoughts on “Recipe for a Panic Attack: Recognizing the Signs and Admitting My Role in Sinking Down (A Very Long Post)

    1. Not patronizing at all. I know sometimes words can feel like empty platitudes. And some people really mean them that way.

      But we’ve talked enough that I know that’s not who you are. Thank you. Thank you. I’m fighting. And this bitch is not going to defeat me. I’m proud of myself for at least recognizing what’s happening with me. That makes it more manageable. Like okay. Check it out. I’m depressed right now, but it won’t last. Cool. What’s for lunch? Or something like that. 🙂

      And that’s PERFECT. Some Zombie with a positive message! THANK YOU!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It sounds like you have every right to be upset, depressed, frustrated, isolated…
    I’ve found over time my panic attacks have not changed, but my anxiety symptoms have. (If I can catch it, sometimes I can stop myself from reaching panic.) My new things are hot flashes and blasts of pain on my skull. If I’m in a place where I can strip down, lie down, and relax, I can sometimes breathe through it before it turns into scary ugly stuff you describe.
    There were so many times when I was so glad to vomit, because then I knew it was over. That is bad living, right there.
    Being a cliche about the pill-stopping is not something anyone can judge you for. The fact that it is a cliche should make that obvious.
    I wish I could give you a hug and offer you a smoothie, but all I’ve got is one suggestion — classical music. Brain waves, meditation, blah blah blah — it helps. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joey. Thank you.
      You’re right about the vomiting. I very very seldom get to that point. But once it was out, it was over. And I felt such relief.

      Thank you…and yes, classical music. Keith Jarrett! That’s what I need!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know sometimes when you feel like ass, you don’t want to eat… but if you do that, you’ll be even more tired. So please try to eat something… especially for breakfast! If I was nearby I would come cook you breakfast. 🙂 You know I don’t have any magic solutions (because, really, I would be fucking amazing if I did) but I think it is HUGE that you have been able to write this post… and identify all of this. I know it feels like it was “too late” but it’s not… now you know. No one remembers to check themselves all the time… and we unknowingly do or feel or ignore things we shouldn’t.

    Be good to yourself. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Glad you’re feelin’ a bit better today. Yes, you feel like shit. Yes, you’re stressed. Yes, you’re dealing with a shitty co-worker. But look at the positives here: you’re attempting to set sail on a new adventure, with possible love at the dock, new city, new life. Wade through these rough waters as best you can for now. There’s a new future on your horizon. Stay positive, stay rational, eat something…and for fucks sake, stop listening to Godsmack! 😃
    Plenty of ears and shoulders here. Use us. And by the way, you don’t have a damn thing to be ashamed of. I think it’s brave and admirable to post what you have the past two days. Eyes should be opened by the things you’ve discussed. And those that don’t want their pretty little eyes exposed to reality can look the fuck away!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You win! You’ve got me grinning and nodding my head. Grins are priceless. Thank you.

      Hehe..I stopped. I listened earlier to help get myself back in that mind-frame so I could better articulate how I felt. But I immediately shifted gears because I could feel it slithering back into my head.

      Thank you..it means more than you know.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very sad to hear this – however, I am glad you are at this level of self-awareness. Don’t give up, just let the bad days suck and try to move on in whatever tiny ways you can right now. Big hugs. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. While I’m not equating it to what you are going through, I had a trainwreck of a day with my own personal demons.
    If it was physical, it would have been plastered all over the news with teary eyed reporters talking about the carnage and devastation and where to send your relief effort money to. Seriously, it was pitifully tragic.

    So, I understand and I’m sorry you had to go through that Steph. I wish you all the best I can and all the luck you can get with finding the new job and the move and everything else. And I’m happy we know each other.

    Lots of Love. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, Eric. Please. Please don’t compare or hold your issues up to mine as though yours aren’t worthy of attention or comfort. Everyone suffers in our own unique ways. And I’m so sorry that you’re suffering today. The fact that you’ve reached out to comfort me in the midst of your own means more than you know.

      Thank you. And I’m sorry. I’m here if you need me. I’m happy to know you, too.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Panic attacks suck piles. I never see them coming, although I fear then almost daily. Thankfully, I haven’t had a massive one like you described in quite some time.

    I just want you to remember one thing… You are AMAZING. You rock my socks off, you flat my boat, you blow my fringe back, you blow my skirt up… You get the picture, right? You’re fuckin amazeballs 😘

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I hate medicine
    I’ve been on it all my life
    It’s a horrible rollercoaster ride
    It sucks when your body and mind is not in sync
    It’s a constant battle I fight every day
    The older I get the harder it is
    I’m 62 I’ve been on just about everything
    Look I don’t have an answer
    Probably aren’t looking for my words
    All I can do is too encourage and support you
    Please be careful
    Big Hugs
    Sheldon

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No. I’m not going to let you belittle your support.
      I am looking for your words. When you want to give them, I am always happy to receive.
      I say this so much, I must sound like the proverbial broken record, but:
      It means more to me than you know. That you’ve not only reached out but in the midst of your own pain.
      Your support means more to me than you know.
      And I’m so sorry that you’re suffering.
      Big Hugs…I’ll be careful. I promise.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I know it means a lot
        For you to hear me say…
        This is a hot button issue
        I’ve been fighting for years
        I am trying to come off my meds with the help of a Dr
        It’s always a battle because they are suppose to know more than you
        But let me just say this
        Did you ever ask yourself
        When was the last time they took a refresher course
        There is so much new stuff out there
        The side effects are constantly changing
        How is it possible for these farts to keep up
        Do you ever think about how they talk to you
        Bed side matter my ass
        Listen I’ve never been a Dr but I know enough to know that my body is shot
        And I have had enough
        There’s just been too much going on in the house of Sheldon
        The fire balls are coming from everywhere
        I’ve almost have used all of my get out of jail cards up
        You’ve been more the kind “Toasty”
        I like that
        That mite have to stick
        The Sheldon Perspective

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I worry that I’m being misled, misdiagnosed, mistreated. I’m now deeply mired in a major depressive episode. It has taken me by storm and surprise. And I’m angry that it’s happening. And disenchanted.

        I wish I could offer help. Some solace. Sheldon, please know that you matter. You matter to me.

        Heh what’s toasty???

        Like

  8. This is one of the best posts I’ve ever read. I could relate in so many ways. I’m so sorry. Please take good care of yourself (as best as you can). And I hope you can move soon.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you 🙂 But sometimes it’s nice to know we aren’t alone. The worst thing I found was going through these things, and feeling like it was just me (knowing logically it wasn’t, but not hearing stories from others). I really do wish you all the best. And I hope you can move soon, and that goes well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I missed yesterday’s post and will go back and read it in a second, but wanted to say “Hi, you. Hi brave, beautiful you.” I’m proud of you for knowing your own fault in this and even more proud of you for forgiving yourself. Now go call your doctor immediately (or a new one if you’re still hunting for the right person) and get those meds tinkered with by a professional. And keep repeating to yourself, “It DOES get better. Be patient.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m sorry I didn’t see yesterday’s post. I’m also sorry that you had to experience what you did. Also, maybe you should try talking to your boss. If he understands that the woman is being disrespectful, you shouldn’t be the one to get punished for it.

    I know how hard it can be to take your medication all the time. I don’t have any major side effects (I’m tired a lot but I think that’s because I don’t do a lot and because anxiety can sometimes just make you tired), but I know how difficult taking medicine every single day can be. It’s just a tiring process, but sometimes it’s what we need to do.

    I think it’s great that you’re raising awareness and trying to help others as well as yourself. Anxiety and the other issues you’re going through is not an easy thing to deal with and others need to know that they are not alone. I wish you all the best and if you need to talk, I’m here for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you … I hope you know how much your support and encouragement means to me.

      It’s “funny”…I fell into the trap of thinking the meds made me feel so good that they would prevent a major depressive episode. But I’m still in it. And it’s bad. But I’m hanging in there.

      Thank you…thank you

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Steph, this is the most brilliant self-analysis piece I’ve read in my life. In fact you triggered an understanding in my of some behaviors I e engaged in lately that could damned we’ll be contributing to the exhaustion I’ve fallen into. You continue to amaze me with your fight to get the life you want and deserve. If you read my post today, you’ll understand the next three words: I love ya. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read it…I don’t think I’ve commented because of where I’m at. It’s bad and it’s dark. But I know I will persevere. I just have to ride this out.

      Thank you so much, Rita. For your kindness and your sweet loving nature. It also means a lot if exposing what I’m going through makes even a fraction of a positive difference for you or someone else.

      Thank you, Rita. Truly. ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so sorry sweetie that the darkness is lingering but know that many, many of us hold you tight in our hearts. Cheering you on every painful step of the way to your freedom and the life you deserve.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Putting it in black and white is sometimes the first (only/hardest/best/insert-adjective-here) step to {re}gaining a new and honest perspective.

    Two things:

    (1) We’ve discussed the migraine issue before; if you need a sounding board or have tried things but need to tweak the treatment, please get in touch. I have fought the Chronic Pain Beast and he has been beaten into submission. I’ll lend you my mace and sword, girl. That’s a war you can win.

    (2) Student loans can be deferred, put into forbearance, and/or restructured so that repayment is conducive to your earnings situation. If you have federal loans, call that 800-number on your statement, ASAP. And if they are private, set up a meeting with a loan officer at your bank. You can get in touch with your local legal aid office beforehand to be advised of your rights and responsibilities (for FREE!) ahead of time. Don’t let huge payments weigh you down, especially now, when you need to lighten your load.

    (3) Harrassment is NOT acceptable, especially at work. Contact your state’s labor board to see what they will do about your work-bully situation. If your direct super and/or your HR refuse to intervene, there are people in authority who will, and who will protect your job in the process.

    I know you probably feel overwhelmed right now, but there are resources at your fingertips. Please use them. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was going to say: it almost sounds like your supervisor is bullies as well, but, unfortunately, they have a responsibility to address the harasser. If they aren’t, those actions are part of the problem. They’re also not really doing their job. I don’t know how high up the flagpole you are or if there’s someone higher to whom you can speak. My two cents.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Not what you want to hear, but I never tell people what they want to hear – because I’m a jerk.

    In 21 years as a police officer/detective, I have responded to dozens and dozens of suicides. They are never pretty – obviously – but what’s worse is the wreckage left for the ones who cared about the deceased. You may think you’re – physically – alone there, but you aren’t. Friends, coworkers, blog readers would all be devastated if something happened to you. I always hear the phrase, “I should have done more to help him/her.” People – whether in real life or here online – are ready to help you with whatever you need. If you know that, and you should, those dark thoughts should subside. At least a little.

    Just my $0.02.

    Like

    1. It is actually what I want to hear. And I thank you for your raw candor.

      I fall into this “no one would give one flying fuck.” And while that’s actually mostly true, I know that the few it would genuinely hurt don’t deserve that.

      I cling to that. I have to. And that vague hope that there’s something better for me out there.

      Somewhere. Somehow. Someway.

      Thank you. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. And um…..if you happen to have a friend. . . who happens to be a therapist…. I’m sure she will do waaaay better with grounding exercises and not so much with the exacerbating. And if she’s an incompetent therapist, she probably makes am awesome friend. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You were awesome, and I’m more appreciative than you know. Just your being there meant so very much. Sorry I’ve been absent..I’ve slept most of the weekend away. And now it’s time for bed for work in the morning. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I have liked the post as I want to acknowledge it but I do not like it’s content. All I can say is you are a very brave girl for dealing with all of this but if you ever want to talk, I say again I am always here. Just message me and I will do my very best to help.
    It does sound as though you have a handle on things (maybe not a tight grip on that handle but a grip non the less) so I hope I am correct in thinking things are improving. I wish I could do more to help you out Steph because you are an absolute star. Funny, clever and above all honest so why that old lizard tongued bitch is giving you a hard time is beyond me but know this, if she has been moved many times, it is her NOT you.
    Be well and embrace the love.

    Cameron

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I will be honest, my attacks are worse and more consistent than yours though the symptoms are similar. They started before taking any meds recently. Before I get to that I will address the fibromyalgia. I have chronic fatigue and under it’s umbrella comes a lovely list of a shitstorm including hypoglycemia, regardless of sugar intake, fibromyalgia, space in between my knees, a broken tibia in both knees, fractured ribs, shredded shoulders in many areas, super high heart rate and I mean it can easily go over 200 within a few minutes of either exercise or an attack, blurry as all hell vision and then I have been an insomniac since i was maybe 10. For you and the fibromyalgia. Train a little. Typically doctors throw fibro and arthritis around asap once you say you have pain. I had been wrongfully diagnosed with arthritis when it was non conditioning and doing too much too soon. So, I would consider a super fast workout or merely just getting circulation. if it is in your hands, passively stretch them at work, if your back cross a foot over your knee and lean forward for both glutes and low back, if knees merely extend forward and pull it back. You can do this at work for a few minutes. I have helped people get over breaks in bones with small and short workouts.

    Now the fun part. I had not taken any mind altering meds before 2003 right after my mother died at 50, 2 weeks before my wedding. I had already been taking tylenol pm by the bottle to aid in sleep and was put on seroquel, ativan and ambien. I became a zombie and could only work my coaching job as I was out of it until around 1pm. More recently I went on seroquel again after a failed attempt again of taking ambien, ativan and a dr that gave me a seizure medication that within a 2 week period I was hooked, so I know about withdrawal. Before this I had already started with attacks. I would go to bartend and as silly as it seems bartending scares the shit out of me. I do not do it often enough to remember all of the recipes and when you show up somewhere new you are behind as they may have alcohol you are not aware of. So I always have a written list I make out when I go to a party so I know what I am doing. I have always been a bit clumsy and flair bartenders can hold a lot of glasses and juggle, I am not in a circus, I am a pro and handle 100 drinks in an hour when I get going. However, I show up, scared shitless, hands very shaky, sweating bullets, flush red and I have to force ice down my shirt. Mind you I am normally the lead in most parties. I have to drink to relax at a party many times and I am always tired as hell. It happens pretty much every time I bartend. I got back on Lexapro in mid December at a low dosage and took it during the day. The second day, I passed out at a movie theater and wandered into a main road and was almost run down. I came off of it immediately. I take a lot of different crap but I can at most times stop as I am not taking any serious seizure meds and some things help with muscle cramps but I don’t withdraw from them. I am best served with or without them. A good thing you probably have not been thinking about are supplements. Take a super b vitamin as it helps with your central nervous system, take magnesium and potassium. Stopping meds and thinking you are going to have an attack will cause one. I expect it and therefore am pleasantly surprised when it does not happen.

    The non relationship stuff I am in as well. I also am not in a position where I really care. I know you have not really been checking out a lot of other people lately. if you had you would have seen I have been in a serious family fuck it all situation and pending bullcrap that has me wanting to seriously mess someone up and my writing, which can be pretty dark went from dark to cryptic and some people here noticed it and I had to explain it. If you need to talk feel free.

    Like

    1. Steph I’m not a person of many words, but I want you to know you are not alone. My relief sometimes comes by watching a sad movie like “Ghost” and then I can cry and I feel a lot better. Because I’m older and have such a different background I’m not in any position to give advice. Depression can happen to people with a stable childhood, a long and stable marriage and no instability. I wish there were something to help us, but there is no magic dust that I know about.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Steph. You don’t need me to add any advice since you know exactly what happened. Don’t berate yourself and go back to see the psychiatrist to see if they can tweak the meds to make you less tired. Any momentous change in life will affect both you and how you are reacting to medication. I have done exactly the same with a medication and it was worse than coming off heroin (I imagine?). Mine has currently been increased because of the current circumstances. Be kind to yourself, none of this is your fault and life is full of changes. I pray for good ones. K x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kerry. I know you’re going through a lot, too. So it means a lot to me that you’ve taken time to encourage me. Maybe it is the life changes causing me to break through the meds and melt down. Because I’ve truly melted down. It’s scary.

      I hope you’re okay. We can do this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes we can. This is a major life change that you are starting in the middle of taking heavy meds. As you know, it takes a while for them either to kick in, your body to adjust and then the tweaking starts. If it were me I would go back to the psychiatrist and tell her everything, including the current life changes. You may have to put up with some of the side effects such as tiredness until you have got through some of the life changes. Hugs x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I see her this week, I think. Maybe Saturday. I’m definitely gonna tell her about my meltdown.

        Also – it occurred to me that I just did my last increase of the Lamictal. Perhaps that played a role as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. When I see my psychiatrist I give him a list of what’s happened, brief and bulleted. When and how I take the medications including any blips (like stopping them) Panic attacks are so scary – I remember being terrified but don’t get them any more. Be kind to yourself and remember the psychiatrist has heard it all before. One of my clients used to wash down her anti-psychotics with hard cider…Jeez, give me strength 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  18. I know how you feel (at least to some degree) and knowing that your not the only one with this helped me a lot when I was in a rough place. I had (have) panic attack disorder, depression, anxiety all the fun ones so I know how terrible it can all be. The one thing, what really helped me, when I was having 4-5 severe panic attacks a day (the kind where you run to the bathroom, hyperventilating and thinking you’re going totally insane, the kind where it feels like the world is ending) was to accept them.

    It sounds weird and sorry if someone has already talked about this (I didn’t read all the comments) and sorry if it feels insensitive I just want to share what worked for me when things were bad. I know my situation is totally different than yours but when I just stopped fighting the panic and anxiety, when I just let them be but didn’t let them control my life, things got better. It took 15 weeks of therapy, daily meditation and a strong support network but slowly it got better and I learned not to fear it all.

    With depression it’s different because you have to fight that one. I still deal with that one from time to time and know how bad that can be. I just know that you will make it, you’re strong, you’re smart and you’re on the path to success even if it feels like you might be in a slight spiral. It will all workout in the end. Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay it’s not the end.

    Just know that you are appreciated that you have made a difference in someone’s life (mine) and that’s no small thing, that’s crazy. You’re changing lives, improving people’s lives, with your words on the internet. That’s amazing, and is something to feel proud about, something to feel good about. One day at a time, one step at a time, one minute at a time. Like when I was going through treatment for addiction (lots of fun stuff in my 26 years), I was told that I didn’t have to stay sober my whole life, just for this minute, and then the next minute just stay sober for that one. Soon enough the minutes add up, the hours add up and the days add up and I’ve been clean for three years, but it’s all from taking life one second at a time.

    Sorry for the ramble, just wanted to let you know that you are not alone, that you are appreciated by people all over the world, and that you’re a good person. Keep it up, keep pushing and know that it will get better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Craig, you’ve made me cry. And before you apologize, don’t.

      And no more sorries for rambles or for seeming insensitive. 1. I like rambles. I think it’s in rambles that we begin to see the person behind the facade. 2. Nothing you said was insensitive. To the contrary. I’m honored by your willingness to share your experiences with me. To relate to me and to encourage me, giving me helpful advice and propping me up.

      I especially like what you said about giving in. It does no good to fight the panic attack. In fact, for me, it makes it worse. I should have gotten up when it started and gone straight to the bathroom. And just ridden it out as calmly as possible. Just find a quiet place and let it happen. Because fighting it like I did just ramps up the intensity and fear.

      But yes, I do have to fight the depression. I didn’t do a good job of it this weekend. I slept most of it away. But…and this is hugely hopeful…I feel like maybe, just maybe I’m already beginning to crawl out of it. Which is huge if I am – because these bouts are never this brief.

      Again, please never apologize for rambles or seeming insensitive. Not here. Not with me. I welcome openness. Sincerity. Honesty. Raw YOU. Even if I disagree, it’s beautiful because it’s the give and take of honest discussion. And I appreciate that. I appreciate you.

      And the kind, beautiful things you said about me helping people (you)…I’m…yeah, I’m still crying.

      Thank you. You’ve…you’ve truly made my morning.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad that I helped even in a little way. Like I said you really helped me out a few weeks ago when I was feeling down. Keep on it and keep loving the grand adventure that is life 🙂 . I’m excited for you and for the future I see you building. Keep fighting the good fight.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. And I forgot to say: Congratulations on your sobriety. I’ve watched an immediate family member struggle with addictions his entire life. I used to go to the NA meetings with him. And seeing all of those people in there, struggling, emotionally raw, open and wounded, fighting for their very lives…changed me. And I commend you for your strength and your endurance.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. hope your doing better today….and yes I have been there, where you feel like your all alone, and you can’t breath…but hang in there….one day at a time….life’s roller coaster ride is bumpy for sure…..hang in there I know the universe has something special waiting for you…..and fuck that bitch at work…embrace the change…your so much better than her…go ask for a transfer, blow there minds….change is good…..its a job…yes you will be separated from your now co-workers…but they are still there….this bitch will get hers…sad that the supervisor is afraid of her….be a much bigger person…just keep smiling no matter what….I hate bullies…..write a letter to your bosses boss and explain what’s going on, with nice language…LOL….hugs to you…kat

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kat. You are always so kind, so sweet. And you’re right – I’m trying to see this move as a good thing. He hasn’t followed through on it yet. But since I don’t want to be here too much longer anyway, I need to hold my head high, smile through it and make damn sure I get a fine reference! HUGS!

      Like

      1. if you really want to blow the bitch’s mind….be really nice to her, make small talk…act like she is a complete stranger and your trying to get to know her…I always loved to fuck with bad peoples heads…and if your co workers think you’ve gone mad, just tell them your giving her a chance…who knows maybe your attempt at being a friend will make her a better person…who am I kidding….generally once a bitch always a bitch…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahaha yep! Once a bitch, always a bitch. One of my other coworkers in the room has tried what you said. She has poured the sugar on so thick, it’s like trudging through molasses in here. But the bitch is still a bitch. Cruel and cutting and conniving. Bleh.

        Like

      3. no sugar, just treat her like you would if you had never met her…like a stranger in the store…but you can’t use the sweet voice, the same voice you would talk to your mum with…she will wonder what your up to, but just stay true….

        Liked by 1 person

  20. You have a lot going on and I would have had a panic attack too. You’re overwhelmed and I’m sending you positive thoughts that some things change ASAP. Don’t worry about the move out of the department because you’re moving anyway and they can all suck it after you’re gone. If you were staying I would tell you to have your job class re-evaluated for an equity increase because you’re not being paid comparable in the department.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Tikeetha. That’s what I’m trying to tell myself – just let them move me, because this isn’t permanent anyway. I like the suggestion about having them re-evaluate my job class and pay. Because the two guys I mentioned are at the same level. Aggravating!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you could tell them that in conjunction with your compensation department and most companies will give you an equity adjustment when they realize that you’re not paid in line with the people that are doing the same job. However, many people don’t know to ask and companies won’t do it unless they have a really good compensation team and plan. Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I won’t get into the issues you brought up here, because hopefully you know my thoughts on those and how sorry I am that you are going through it. What I will say is that there are studies that your angry music actually has a calming effect on you.

    Liked by 1 person

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