Heart pounding. Can’t breathe. Can’t stop shaking. Can’t sleep. Can’t think. Can’t function.
That’s what I feel on the inside. On the outside, I put up a pretty good façade. I go to work. I go to church. I do my church work and volunteer work. I try to be mom to four kids who are sweet and smart and oh, so needy. They need food and clothing and shelter and attention and love and learning and fun and so many other things I can’t even list them all.
I love my job and my volunteer work. I adore my husband and children. But I just feel like I never get a break. I rush from work to home to church... always just a bit too far behind with everything and I can't seem to catch up. At the end of the day I collapse into bed and I’m out within minutes. Only to wake up a short time later, gasping for air.
When I fall asleep, my defenses go down and all the stress and worry about work, family, finances, and the rest of the day take over. In life, I feel like I’m drowning in responsibility. In my dreams, I’m just drowning. So I wake up, gasping for air. Heart pounding. Can’t breathe. Can’t stop shaking. Can’t sleep. Can’t think. Can’t function.
During the day, I don’t think I look panicked. I go through the day and no one knows I’m shaking inside. That I feel like I can never catch my breath. That I can't answer a ringing phone unless I know exactly who's calling and why. That it takes me four days to find the right words to answer an email... let alone write a blog post or even a Facebook status. That I don't want to go to work because I'll have to interact with people face to face. That going to church is like torture because I spend the entire time worrying that my kids are too loud... that my dress doesn't look right... that I haven't done something I should have done... that I did do something I shouldn't have done... that someone will talk to me and I won't know what to say... that no one will talk to me. That there’s a thin line between normal and panic.
No one sees the panic. Not if I can help it. But when no one is arround to see, there I am. Heart pounding. Can’t breathe. Can’t stop shaking. Can’t sleep. Can’t think. Can’t function.
I don't know what happened. Nothing changed in my life to suddenly turn me into a basket case. Work is stressful - but no more so than it was two weeks ago. Finances aren't great - but not worse than they were two weeks ago. The kids and house and church are a lot of work and responsibility - but again, nothing more than they were two weeks ago.
And yet somehow, everything is different than it was two weeks ago.
The doctor tells me it's just genetics. With a family history like mine, it was pretty inevitable that eventually I'd have some problems with anxiety and/or depression. That for some reason, a switch just flipped in my brain and suddenly life is not the same as it was two weeks ago. I thought by reaching the ripe old age of 37 without having issues, I had somehow won the genetic lottery. Guess I was wrong.
Instead, I'm hoping and praying that the meds from my doctor will somehow reset the switch to where it was two weeks ago.