Growing Pains

I am making tons of progress in my personal growth.  I can feel it because I am having some serious growing pains.

I have begun to tackle my anxiety issues.  Anxiety and panic issues have colored my life for the last few years.  I have come a long way, as they went from damn near running my life–  even a stroll around the corner so the kids could ride their bikes at the elementary school was some days too much for me,  to now just popping up at the most inconvenient times.

Through the myriad of experiences I have had in my life, I’ve developed a panic reaction to riding in a car with others.  It’s very hard for me to go anywhere and let another have control of the vehicle.  Although, I can cite many experiences that have led to this unease, there is one in particular that keeps leaping forward in my mind.

I was married at the time.  It was our anniversary, and things hadn’t been going all that well.  My ex-husband had become an angry and depressed person who would do nothing to try to improve his state of mind.  Everything seemed to piss him off.

He did a great job on my anniversary gift that year though, and managed to sneak my engagement ring out of the house to have it repaired (it was missing a small stone) while I wasn’t looking.

I can’t say I was as thoughtful that year.  My baby boy had been born a few months before, and I was grappling with some medical issues.  Not only does pregnancy beat the daylights out of my body, but apparently it makes my body in to the perfect storm for growing kidney stones.

I had grown an enormous kidney stone during my pregnancy with my son, and had to have a lithotripsy procedure to try to break it up making it small enough to pass.  After the procedure it was supposedly small enough to pass, but Docs were sure it was gonna hurt like hell and sent me home with a Vicodin prescription.

On that particular evening we found someone to care for our two children, and headed out to see a movie with friends.  I didn’t even make it half way through the movie when I started to get uncomfortable and headed to the restroom several times.  I finally realized I was passing the stone.  We had to leave.  I’d left my pain pills at home.

My ex was not happy to be inconvenienced in such a way, but got in the truck anyway.  My pain and nausea was growing in intensity and as we left the parking lot my ex-husband asked me if he should turn right to go to the hospital or left to go home.

“Hospital” I replied, but nope… he turned left.  We lived some 30 minutes outside of town and I spent the entire trip making him stop repeatedly so I could attempt to vomit along the side of the road.  I was in a lot of pain and by the time I got home my pain level was so high, the Vicodin did nothing to relieve it.

At home I was also trying to keep it together since my children were there and wanted attention.  They were scared and wanted me to comfort them.

We tried a lot of things, but nothing was relieving the pain.  I stood in a hot shower, which seemed to take the edge off.  I thought I’d never get out of that shower, but eventually I did.  I had to make the 30 minute trip back in to town to the hospital.  My ex was quite irritated by this, which seriously pisses me off when I think about it.  I was the one in so much pain I could barely move.  Fuck him for being so put out for having to help me.

What I should have done was have a giant fit when he didn’t turn to go to the hospital.  That’s where I went wrong.  I just let him make that decision for me, and I shouldn’t have.  I should have trusted my instincts and made him turn around.

Through that experience, and several others… in failing to protect myself, it’s as though my body took over and decided it would panic whenever it realized I was not in control of the vehicle.  The anxiety in turn pulls all my attention.  I can think of nothing but avoiding the panic, and so I lose out on enjoying the situation as well.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I get worried, which puts my focus on the anxiety and upsets my stomach, which makes the panic worse… and on and on we go.

Seems bizarre to me that I can’t simply jump in the car with someone, even someone I greatly trust, and zip off for a day in the city.  Hell, there were times I couldn’t even zip over to the grocery store without making The Ambassador turn the truck around.  It’s a real bitch.  In that moment with my heart racing, sweating bullets, my stomach churning, I can think of nothing but getting home.  I just want to stop the panic, no matter what I might be missing out on…. and I realize I am missing out on A LOT.

I’m missing out on great times with friends over it, because I can’t be spontaneous and I don’t want to make the drive to the city.  Missing out on incredible food, because when I do manage to go to the city, I don’t eat for fear my stomach will get upset.    I even remember a time I was sitting on the top of a hill with Captain Amazing, looking out over the city lights and I couldn’t enjoy it.  He wanted to give me that great experience, and I just sat there rigid as a plank of wood, waiting for the minute he turned the car around to take me home.

During the last 5 years I have traveled to Texas for work multiple times, and also to Denver for work in my last job.  Fantastic experiences, but I have to admit I spent almost the entire time in my hotel.  Riding in a cab is a special circle of hell for me with this anxiety.  I did venture out and see Fort Worth once but it was a very very reserved outing.

Even inside the hotel, in these world-class business conventions, I wasn’t able to fully enjoy it.  Crowds also make my anxiety fly in to the red, so when I had a chance to experience a casino night that was like walking in to a 007 movie, complete with cage dancers and all, I stayed for only a short time then I was back in my room.  Not only do I get completely distracted by the anxiety, but having your heart race like that drains the energy right out of you.  The trek getting there…  to the airport, through security, in a cab to the hotel… was all excruciating.

At one point I thought the anxiety was a physical issue.  I still believe I have a magnesium deficiency that causes many of the symptoms, but that’s not all of it.  I take a magnesium supplement (and a couple of others to calm the nervous system) every day, but the occasional panic remains.

I can’t tell you what it’s like to be riding in the truck with a gorgeous man and keeping it to myself that I’m in my own version of hell.  It’s not fun.  I’ve started just telling people, which has been good and I have learned that people are most often quite caring and concerned.  I’ve also learned that A LOT of people struggle with anxiety in one form or another.  They understand. Even The Ambassador has his own debilitating anxiety times.

Lately though, I know that I have been letting my anxiety rule the roost.  In “Calling in The One” the author says of fear, that the fears never go away.  The only thing to be done is to face them head on, name them and dethrone them… So that’s what I’m on a mission to do.

I’m done with it.  I’m finished with this anxiety, and have put it in Gods hands to remove it.  God can certainly work miracles, but I don’t expect him to just yank this overnight.  I am listening for ways to work through it and get it out of my head and out of my life.

With anxiety many say the only way to get over it is to just do the action anyway…  So, I’ve been going anyway.  Getting in the car, and driving, despite the panic–  but this is no solution either.  It simply reinforces that when I get in the car with someone else, I’m going to have panic and severe discomfort.  I need to heal it from the inside out.  It’s like I’m walking around this world just afraid of everything.

So, I am talking to myself about it everyday.  I am working through what has put me in this position and promising myself that I will speak up if I need to.  I will protect myself and not let my boundaries be violated.  I’m also reminding myself to let go and let God. Surrender and trust God everything will be ok.

My anxiety has been relieved much from this, and when the panic does creep in, I confront and comfort it like I would a frightened child.  The conversation goes a little something like this…

Cadence:  What is it that you are so afraid of?

Anxiety:  I’m afraid my stomach will get upset and he won’t stop the truck or I won’t be able to find a bathroom right away.  Then I’ll be in pain and full of panic, with no way to make it stop.

Cadence:  I understand that you’re scared.  If you’re stomach gets upset, I’ll make sure he stops the truck.  We’ll find a bathroom or even stop along the side of the road if we have to.   panicking about it will only make it worse, so let’s let go of that.  There will be a way to make the pain stop.  It’s only temporary.  How often does that happen anyway?  That your stomach gets so upset that it’s painful?  rarely these days.  It’ll be ok.

In confronting these fears, I’m also finding that most of them are irrational.  Just like a frightened child, I can not let them run the show.  That does nobody any good.

Unplanned the other day, I scooped my kids up and took them to the city, and I did so with virtually no anxiety.  There were a couple of times when it tried to creep in but I managed to talk it down.  I was able to enjoy SO much.  The drive up there.  The meal.  The relaxation of just wandering around the stores with out furiously rushing through the activities so I could back home and back to my safe place.

I’m getting my life back.  This anxiety is on its way OUT.  I’m going to live my best life, right here, right now.  Forgive me for being so churchy these days, but…

Psalms 34:4 I sought the Lord and he heard me and delivered me from all my fears.

Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 9:00 am  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. NO joke, I was just working on a post about my realization that sometimes it’s anxiety that gets me. My kids call them my mommy meltdowns, but I get super nervous when I am going someplace where there will be lots of people I don’t know, and my hubby is good at roping me into that kind of situation. It usually ends well, but the moments leading up to getting out the door are always AWFUL!

    • Yep, no fun at all… But there are some techniques that really work. The soothing your inner child thing as good and alos.. One I have recently been taught… When you are alone (so people don’t think you are psychotic) and you catch yourself having those racing thoughts and anxiety building… SHOUT at the top of your lungs STOP, THIS IS NOT HELPING ME!!! Might sound crazy but it shocks my system right back to normal. It totally helps.

  2. Absolutely love this post as we can all relate to moments of panic, anxiety, and fears rendering us frozen. I love your line about doing it anyways, as this will help me pitch forward into interviews for jobs, even with all my fears.

    Your advice reminds of psychology that talks about to get over our fear of tarantulas, we first use a stick to touch its leg; then our finger to touch it; and then eventually, it’s in the palm of our hand, our fears perhaps still there, but faced. 😀


    • Doing it anyway is important for me, otherwise the anxiety runs my life… But for me I have to use the tools to calm myself, otherwise I can’t enjoy it & I risk being re-traumatized by the panic. It’s tricky… I tell ya, I have had the occasional moment when I thought “maybe I should just live inside my own little safety bubble… This is SO uncomfortable!” but I know I can’t. That’s no way to live.

      • Your bravery is soo inspiring. You speak to a lot of what happens to many of us overtime. You’re simply amazing. Hope you know that. 😀

  3. I rally believe those kinds of conversations can work. Since I stared doing this and some ‘rebirthing’ breathing excercises, it’s helped a lot. mt friend is a holistic therapist and teaches this rebirthing oxygen therapy. That might also really help you with this problem. I breath for anxiety and/or anger and it’s amazing.

    • Thanks Cakes… All the techniques I am using are working. I just wish I could find the root of the problem and rip that bitch out so I don’t have to hassle with this anxiety bs all the time!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: