I just read this post "How to keep anxiety in check when you're at the office" and came away disappointed. That would be like a normal day for me. I feel like that most of the time. I wish I could find some way to pipe my brain over into someone else's because words don't seem to help. When I say, "I have severe panic disorder," I mean that. Emphasis on "severe."
I know. It's like saying I have stage 4 fibromyalgia. Many of you have stopped reading and wish I would quit whining about being anxious. But it's my blog and I'll whine if I want.
Because mental stuff is connected to your body, and decades of panicking ALL THE TIME have now started to really affect me. I'm old. My heart beats too fast almost all the time unless I take a ton of medications and sometimes even then, so over my lifetime it's worked way too hard. During my TWO ED visits in the last week I made while not working I started calculating how many extra beats on average it's made but then it got depressing and boring so I quit.
Thing is if you freak out all the time, you hose your adrenal system, and your body is in a constant "fight or flight" state. Your heart kicks it up in case you need to sprint away from a tiger. That puts stress on a heart. Mine has gone off the rails and said, "I thumb my nose at this silly medication!" It skips sinus tach and rockets right into SVT, and then blood doesn't get where it should, like my brain, and that's a problem. So now I'm entering the world of Expensive Cardiac Workups.
And that's a little jacked up because I feel like somehow I'm now justified. "I have a heart condition" is somehow more acceptable than "I panic about 23 hours a day." Shouldn't be that way, but there you go. I've ignored this cardiac connection for long enough that now I can't. So I'll finally be a responsible adult and go do all the stuff I would tell any patient to do.
Interestingly, I've found that I'm evidently a genius at NOT appearing to be anxious. "You're not scared of anything." "What are you talking about? Nothing ever ruffles you?" and the more likely "Are you shitting me? Panic? YOU?" are some comments I've gotten. That makes me feel good. Perhaps anxiety disorders are GOOD in the ER; if you've made yourself used to keeping calm in the midst of emergencies that never exist, then you can apparently be calm in actual ones. Bonus.
Panic aside, in case anyone is curious, SVT SUCKS BAD. I've triaged a lot of people who walk in and say, "Yeah, I'm in SVT," and look pretty unbothered. I'm bothered. I feel like my heart is that thing in "Alien" trying to claw its way out of my sternum, I can't breathe, and it frigging hurts. I think it's the alien claws causing the pain. Then I pass out, or not, and that is disorienting at any time, I find. The whole thing is surprisingly exhausting. I've been less wrung out after running a half-marathon. I keep joking that pitted against a kitten, the kitten would win, but it's not much of an exaggeration.
So this week I'm resting. Like actually chilling the fuck out. Actually trying to convey to my heart that THERE ARE NO TIGERS WE ARE GOING TO NEED TO RUN AWAY FROM, OKAY, SO JUST BEAT ALONG THERE AT A NICE SLOW RATE, OKAY? OKAY?