but not at the disco

but not at the disco

Someone tell me they got the joke????

Lovely readers, we’ll be talking about the always fun panic attacks!

It is hard to explain what a panic attack feels like to someone who hasn’t experience one. I will try my best and hope things make sense. If not, at least I tried. I welcome comments or questions if things are confusing or you’d like to know more.

So here we go…

I have two panic attack types: spontaneous and self-induced.

Generally, all panic attacks are spontaneous, and those that have a panic disorder don’t really know when they maybe be coming about. The other side of my attacks are self-induced. Meaning, I literally work myself up into a frenzy and cause my own panic attack. Those tend to be more mild because I realize what I’m doing and can either stop it or shorten it.

My spontaneous attacks are terrifying. It feels like I’ve been side swiped by a Mack truck at 100mph. It is this wave of unreasonable terror dropped on you at once. My heart speeds up but it feels like it’s not beating at all.

I tend to hyperventilate too. I feel like I’m being slowly suffocated as the walls (or objects around me) close in around me. My vision has whited out on occasion or my ears will pop and it’s like I’ve gone deaf. The outside world becomes my biggest nightmare and I’m trapped. During those times I am reduced to sobs and screams.

The longest attack I’ve had was almost an hour. I was alone in my dorm room during college and I was wrecked. It came out of nowhere and there was no trigger or anything. Just blind panic. It rolled in like a storm and destroyed me. It was the middle of the day and I didn’t care what was going on, I went straight to sleep.

Recovering after an attack is different depending on where I’m at. When I worked at Subway, I would usually be led to the back stock room. When I worked at the call-center I tried hard to never have an attack at the office which often left me with severe physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and dry-heaving as the anxiety increased.

Trying to cover up or suppress an attack is like pulling teeth with no pain meds; possible and extremely painful. By suppressing that panic I face physical consequences that are often times worse than just having the damn attack. Vomiting or dry-heaving, dizziness, stomach cramps, headaches, tremors, blurred vision, and a few more. The physical symptoms are sometimes unbearable yet I struggle through it all.

I do make sure I hydrate and eat some type of snack after each episode. I usually keep chocolate around for such instances. Chocolate does help with anxiety and depression, and I’ve also found it good for the after effects of a panic attack. I’ve also have success with fruit, crackers or pretzels, and/or ice cream. The sudden coldness of the ice cream slams you back into reality and kind of evens you out.

An integral part of my coping involves talking to one of my anchors. Anchors are people that I have found completely understand my mind set, thought processes, quirks of my mental illness, and have either seen one of my panic attacks or seen me at my lowest of low points. These people have been carefully chosen and understand their role in my well being. They are my most trusted confidants and incredibly important in my life. They help keep me here on this earth. Talking out an attack or when I’m in a downward spiral help me focus on what’s important.

I want to point out that a panic or anxiety attack doesn’t always have to be the characteristic symptoms: increased heart rate, hyperventilating, intense fear, sweating, or chills or hot flushes. These attacks can also be: unexplained rage or irritability; talking too fast or not at all; sitting rigid or not being able to sit still; and/or staring off in to space, “zoning out”.

Every one experiences panic or anxiety attacks in their own way. Each experience is just as terrifying and horrible, but if we were to speak out about these maybe we can help each other find ways to beat them and cope.

This past week I’ve been grasping at straws for an idea. The topics I have on my list and snippets of posts written all seem, blah. But then the other day at work I was struck with an idea after some comments by a coworker.

I work as a detailer in a repair shop. I clean cars for a living. And I love the fucking hell out of it! I get to be on my feet, moving around, free from a desk, and sweating balls in a hot ass shop. I’m dog tired at the end of the day and don’t have to talk to assholes on the phone. It’s amazing!

Naturally, I’m surrounded by men. Which doesn’t bother me at all. In fact the guys at the shop have been very welcoming and I’ve had some really good conversations with them all. There is another woman, but she works at the front desk. She’s very nice and loves to chat.

Now, I’m no stranger to hard work and labor. My dad is a tile man and I’ve frequently joined him on jobs since I was 6 years old. As I’ve gotten older my jobs while working with him have intensified. I can obviously lift more weight, do more tedious tasks, and can work independently. He even lets me use the assortment of power tools without fear that I’ll run off and start anarchy in the streets, though I have those thoughts daily with out without the power tools.

You’re probably thinking, “Jess, where are you going with this?” Well, kids…I’m getting there.

So…at the shop there is a unisex bathroom. As I was making my way from the back to the front to use the restroom, the one guy makes a comment that almost had his ass on the floor.

He turned to me and said, “You know there’s a bathroom in the office. It’s a little more private for you ladies.” I stopped in my tracks and just stared at him as if he grew two heads.

Folks, I’m no stranger to comments suggesting I shouldn’t be doing the work of men. Working with my dad as much as I have, I hear it a lot from the people he works with. “Do you need help carrying that”, “Do you know what you’re doing”, or my personal favorite “Do you even know how to use that”.

Yes, I do know how to use and operate every tool my dad has because he taught me. He made sure I knew what every saw and drill was for; even down to the types of screws, bolts, and when to use them. He taught me well and I’m proud to be a tile man’s daughter. And yes I have thrown my knowledge in those idiots faces when they make their remarks. My dad is extremely proud of me and how I stand up for myself in those situations. He calls me the ox since I’m so strong.

However, I’ve never had a comment about my bathroom usage. Apparently now I can’t use a unisex bathroom because it doesn’t have privacy! No matter how you try to phrase it, it sounds absolutely horrible. Just because I’m a woman working in a typically male dominated field doesn’t mean I should be treated differently. I do NOT want special treatment. I understand where he was going, but dude, come on! He made it ever worse by going on about how even those there is a stall in there, what would happen if I came out and one of the guys were in there.

In my head, I’m laughing my ass off and making all kinds of nasty remarks like “well I’d get a free show” or “it would be the start to a bad porno”. Instead, I said nothing and walked into the bathroom. I did walk out and said, “It’s a fucking bathroom. I don’t care who uses it. I work here too.” Of course, he had no further comments.

My point is simple, I am not afraid to do what men do. Shit, I am considered “one of the guys” by a lot of my friends. My friends tell me when I’m having one of my “dude moments” and enjoy them as well. I am genderfluid and see myself as both male and female. Comments like the ones mentioned really piss me off as, in my mind at least, I am a guy, even though biologically I don’t look like it.

listen to your body

listen to your body

Welcome to the first post of this not-so-new and improved blog of mine. I took everything down and am starting from scratch. The things I was writing were great, and I did enjoy the research I was doing for them. However, looking at them now I realize how unorganized my mind and writing had become as I spiraled.

I find myself in quite the depressive mindset and though the spiraling has stopped, I am still finding it hard to piece words together but I’m trying. I am searching for motivation in every nook and cranny I pass. Luckily I found some just sitting in bed as I rest my anxiety weary body.

Recently, I was laid off from my job at a call-center. I’m not bitter or angry, I understand why I was let go, but it still sucks. It’s been two weeks since that day and during that time I have been recuperating. Why? Long story short…I am not cut out for being behind a desk for 40 hours a week. I need to be active and working with my hands. I found myself spiraling down the rabbit hole these last few months and it was taking it’s toll physically.

Being in a depressive state and exhausted from the anxiety, leaves you physically disabled at times. I get weak and lethargic. Anytime I move it feels as if I am moving in slow motion or as if I’m walking in wet sand. Even going to the bathroom is like climbing a mountain and leaves me breathless. I will wake up some days and wonder if getting up is worth the struggle; if it’s worth the pain and exhaustion.

Often times it is worth it, and then there are the days where it’s not. The days that my body tells me, “Hell no girl! Get back in bed and rest” are the toughest days. I dislike calling in to work sick or taking a day from school because of my anxiety or depression. I make sure I work twice as hard to not be seen as a liability or weak by superiors or others. I do know some workplaces view mental illness as a disability and it’s labeled as such in handbooks and whatnot, however, I take pride in being able to somewhat control the little monsters.

Knowing when your body needs to rest and actually taking that day or two is the best decision you can make. On several occasions I took days off from work and school in order to rest. To be able to lie in bed and not do was a blessing. It gets extremely difficult to keep pushing yourself when there is no fight leftover. Taking that day or two of rest can recharge your batteries and keep you going for a while longer.

There will be people who won’t understand why you need this. They will question whether you are actually sick or just ditching so you can go shopping or visit the beach. People may joke about it or give you a hard time about needing to just stay in your pjs and marathon Disney movies. Whatever makes you happy and feel at ease for the day, please do it.

I encourage you to listen to your body, especially if you are physically impaired by your mental illness. Our bodies will tell us exactly what is wrong and what it needs. Maybe that’s a 6 hour marathon of your fav TV show or listening to that new band while laying on your front room floor or even taking an extra long shower so you can muffle your sobs as you cry it all out.

I want you to take care of yourself however you need. Your health is vital. Your sanity is critical. You are important.