I struggle with this. Big time. I just don’t cope with changes – even minor ones. I used to be able to go with the flow but then a bunch of stuff happened (and it still happening) in my life and now I have a huge need for a feeling of control. Now changes need to be considered, thought through and planned. Unexpected things completely freak me out. I just panic and it is so exhausting to go through a series of panic attacks before I can finally give in – usually into a crying fit – and begin to get a handle on myself.
The attacks aren’t always the same – it seems to depend on the situation. But there are elements that appear in every one. The obvious heart-racing, chest pounding, head thumping, blurry vision and the dreadful feeling of hopelessness caused by lack of control. Sometimes I just freeze physically. I cannot move at all until it passes. With others I dash about shaking and unable to stand or it still for more than a few seconds. Lately a lot of mine have sparked off flashbacks of a trauma I survived many years ago. And sometimes these, in turn, cause a flood of unpleasant memories to pour through my mind.
Regardless, my mind is constantly thinking and questioning every little thing at a very rapid rate. I curse myself. Negative self thoughts wizz past before I can stop them. You are a fool. You should know better by now. You are a stupid idiot. You’re not worthy of anyone for anything. Your pain is not justified because you don’t matter. Nothing you say or do matters. You are useless. A waste of space. And the questions! So many questions! About myself, my decisions, my thoughts, my actions, my existence. I also question others … what are their real motives, are they using me, are they intentionally trying to hurt me? Why did I let myself trust them, believe them, feel for them, let them in, confide in them, give them the benefit of the doubt, make excuses for them, etc, etc. This list of thoughts and questions could really go on and on and on!
Unless depression takes over, once the mental images and thoughts and questions begin to settle down, I am totally exhausted – both physically and mentally. My head stills pounds but from a dull ache that will take ages to subside. I feel cold and weakened. I want to curl up and hide away from everyone and everything. At these times, I think I’d happily be a turtle.
But I cannot withdraw to that extent. I have responsibilities. I have a daughter. I have to get to a place where I can function before she sees me. It upsets her too much to see me this way and I want to protect her from this nightmare as much as I can. I must do the best I can.
If you have read this far and feel like maybe you just had a ride on a roller-coaster, well you sort of have. Today I have gone through this cycle more times than I care to count. Tomorrow I may not experience it at all … here’s hoping!