| | Living with panic attacks
In 2002 I was diagnosed with a pituatary brain tumor and cist. This was successfully removed in two major brain surgeries. I was informed that I suffered from a disease called Acromegaly. This disease was diagnosed after living with it for 8 years. I am glad to inform that I totally recovered from the operation. However, the disease caused severe damages to my spine. This contributed to lower back pains. in 2008 I was hospitalised with severe back pain. While in hospital I received Razon (an anti-inflammotary) intra-venously. Whether it was an allergic reaction to the medication, or whether I was admitted incorrect medication, I immedaitelly went into a reaction to the medication. My vital signs (blood pressure and heart beat) were dangerously high. After I was discharged from hospital I noticed that, everytime I need to take my chronical medication for hypertension, I get this very strange sensation in my body and I start to hyper ventilate. First I thought it to be as a result of what happened in hospital. One day at work I got this terrible pain in my chest, I could not breath and my mouth was so dry that I could not swallow. I was rushed to hospital and my GP diagnosed an anxiety/panic attack. Eversince the first attack, I developed a fobic around medication that I am not familiar with. I would only take those medications that I am used in taking for the last number of years before the first anxiety attack. Whenever I experienced some difficulty or a slight pain in the chest, I would rush to the nearest emergency centre to be attended to by a doctor. I am so greatfull for my GP of the last 20 years plus as she knows my medical history and she has the ability to immediatly calm me. I also developed a fobia for enclosed shopping centres, highways and being too far away from the nearest doctors or hospitals. I always have my blood pressure kit and medication with me wherever I go. I use to plan my trips to work, or wherever I went, in such a way that I always ensured that there are medical centres on route. This took over my life and confined myself as such that I had no life at all. I was under psychiatric treatment also. The psychiatrist taught me to build a "toolbox" in which I keep certain tools to assist me whenever I feel an anxiety attack is close. For example, when on a high way a tool would be that there are exits I can take to take me away from traffic congestion should I feel an anxiety attack is to take place. Having somebody with me in the car when on the highway makes me feel more relaxed as I know there is somebody with me that will talk me through an attack. I am glad to report that I can now make use of the free ways without anxiety, though it took some time. Another "tool" the psychiatrist helped me with is to always keep some of my medication with me. As I learn to understand this disorder and what could cause an anxiety/panick attack, i keep on adding to my "toolbox". I am still getting minor attacks and still worries about a pain in the chest, or in my legs or a slight head ache (things that never used to bother me before) but I have learned that I need to calm myself and not to keep my mind occupied with negative thoughts. These negative thoughts are the worst enemy for people suffering from anxiety/panic attacks.
I once heard somebody saying that the first thing one should do when you wake-up in the mornings is to open the curtains and to look up to the skies. That is where positive thinking will come from. Not to look down when you get out of bed. I try to do this whenever I can. I also try and talk about my problem, though it seems as if others who do not suffer from this disorder are interested in your problems. I always make sure that I confide in at least one person at work about my condition, should I get an attack at work.
I have also learned that I do not want people to feel sorry for me or to keep on talking asking me every second whether I am okay. All I want is for them to be there for me. I have learned how to control myself and what to do the first few seconds.
All I now do is to pray that someday I will wake up and this burden will be gone.
God bless to all.