Instagram, Facebook, Email, Smart Phones, Texting, Check-Ins, Apps...
It isn't any wonder I nearly had a heart attack.
At the age of 27.
Plenty of times I've said to my kids "you nearly gave mommy a heart attack", but this was not like those times. This was no joke.
My day started like most days start. Three toddlers bouncing on, in and around the bed while I drift in and out of dreams and they continually wake me from them. A slap to the face, crying for "treat snacks", claims of a poopy butt; these are all things that get me out of bed.
My doting husband, though he works late hours, often wakes before me to start coffee. Hmm... is it kindness or motivation from necessity? I don't know.
Some days a simple breakfast and/or cartoon is enough to change the mood of the house from frantic just-awake state to calm and manageable. This was not one of those days.
I felt like the world was out of control.
In hindsight I suppose it was.
I could not get a grip on the kids crying.
Although it wasn't true, I felt like to only person concerned with the kids' issues.
My husband threw his back out.
I tried to return a phone call to my mom and was unsuccessful due to crying tots.
Nothing sounded good to eat.
I didn't feel like cooking.
And so on and so on until I snapped.
Sitting on the bed, alone and disheartened I began to cry.
Nothing was going my way.
All of a sudden I noticed something that had been building inside of me. I had felt it for many days before but thought nothing of its severity... until now.
There was a pain, in my chest, stronger and scarier than anything I'd ever felt before.
I was convinced I was having a heart attack, and what's worse, I felt no one could hear my "cry".
Tears rolling down my cheek I reached for my smart phone and googled the symptoms:
chest pain or discomfort - check.
upper body discomfort - check.
shortness of breath - check.
No insurance, I didn't want to call 9-1-1. Convinced I could help myself I googled that, too:
remove tight clothing - check
chew an aspirin - made me gag but still check.
sit with knees to chest - consider it done.
Bob was busy with the kids. I called the best nurse I know... my mom. Sobbing uncontrollably now thinking of my children "what will they do without me?" and my recently lost friend "is this my broken heart aching to be reunited with her?" ... a few rings and my mom playfully answered the phone "Jet's Pizza, can I take your order?" something I would, on any other day, find funny. "I think I'm having a heart attack" I said. She was over in 15 minutes.
She checked my blood pressure - normal.
She checked my heart rate - just fine.
Then we got to talking... panic or anxiety attacks.
I fit the symptoms completely.
Without seeing a specialist I am convinced that what I experienced was a panic attack. Here are the symptoms, for reference:
- Racing" heart
Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers
Sense of terror, or impending doom or death
Feeling sweaty or having chills
I was experiencing six out of a possible seven of those. From years of therapy past, as well as my bachelor's degree in Social Work, I can remember quite a bit about managing one's anxiety.
For now I will get adequate rest, try not to keep up so diligently with technology, take time for myself, make my voice heard if I'm starting to feel anxious, eat healthy, get exercise, and most of all love myself.
I love my family, of that there is no doubt.
This wake-up call was a reminder to love myself.
I can do that, for me and for them.
Bless you friends, stay sane and love yourself, too.