Am I OK?
Have I Lost My Mind?
More and more often I hear people relate stories about their experiences with anxiety and depression. My first experience with these two unwanted visitors was when I hit my late twenties. As the mother of two young children, ages seven and two, I was always busy with one or the other, or both! I didn't have time to try to figure out why my mind was suddenly AWOL!! In those years anxiety and depression were probably as common as they are now, but who ever talked about it? I had never heard of an "anxiety attack" and I certainly didn't know what to do about it. Of course, now they are household words!
I had no idea what I was going through and I didn't know where to turn to for help. While my seven year old was at his day camp and my two year old was down for her nap, I made phone call after phone call to try to locate someone, anyone, who could explain why my thoughts were suddenly coming in bits and pieces. Why my heart was pounding. Why I felt like I needed to run when no one was chasing me.
I located a local psychiatrist who immediately told me I was experiencing an anxiety attack and made an appointment for me to visit his office. He did a good job of talking me down from my place in panic mode, and, once I was calm again, I was able to be myself again, or at least my "semi-self", enough for my children to have mommy back until I could see the doctor.
What followed was medication, periodic bloodwork and months and months of trying to control bouts of both anxiety and depression. My mental state would careen from near euphoria to what seemed like the depths of hell. I was determined not to allow this roller coaster ride to claim my life. I focused on my children, never allowing them to see the part of me that was spiraling out of control.
Angels on my Shoulder
When I remember my first experience with panic disorder, what stands out most in my mind are the faces of my two beautiful children and how their dependence upon me every day in so many ways was my saving grace. Knowing that they needed me was the driving force to my healing. They were the angels that sat on my shoulder whispering in my ear every time my mind began to falter, pulling me back to reality. They unknowingly gave me the strength to fight for my sanity.
Panic disorder is very common in todays society, as too many of us know. Over the years I have come to meet many people who have and are living with the unfortunate symptoms of this destructive force. I have given and received volumes of advice regarding its treatment. I do believe in the idea of a chemical imbalance being the cause of panic disorder in my own case and probably in so many others. That realization has helped me understand this disorder in a deeper way. I also believe that understanding the very thing we fear can be an important element of healing.
Often when someone experiences a panic attack or severe depression, the foremost thought on their mind is "am I going to be ok?". As someone who has "been there", I can tell you, yes, you are going to be ok. I have been there and back, and, I am ok!
Supporting an incarcerated loved one. Share feelings, opinions and stories. Find others walking the same path that you are. Share the tears and even the laughter.