I woke up last night three times gasping for air. Of course, I thought I was dying each time and then a minute after I would remind myself that I'm safe and I'm healthy... I think? I would take 3 deep breaths and then lose myself to a rapid passing of thoughts, "I am living in the epicenter of Covid and I DID just read the story of the 30 something year old teacher who died from Covid, so what's to say I'm not next? I've gotten my negative results just a day ago, but why do I still feel this heaviness in my chest along with a numbness in my right foot and hand for moments at a time? Why does my heart feel fast and then super slow? Am I dying of some underlying cause? I gotta ask my doctor for an EKG. Then we will find out the date of my final destruction."
After hearing my voice over the phone, the doctor asked, "Is there anything else going on in your life? A breakup? A loss of some kind?"
"No" I replied.
"Okay well I'm going to squeeze you in now for an EKG, but I think this sounds like a panic attack".
I took one deep breath as I was hooked up to the EKG and then it immediately spit out a piece of paper, which read as a healthy young lady. I thought one deep breath wasn't good enough for an accurate reading, while the doctor smiled and said I should try to meditate.
For some reason, that positive reading still wasn't enough, because I thought about how I simply don't feel like myself. 12pm hits and I'm utterly exhausted, so I've been crawling into my couch, where I'd find multiple movies to watch until bedtime rolls around, at the very late hour of 8pm, where I would then take some ZZZ Quil and say goodbye to the day. This is not like me. I allow myself to have days like this, but it's only one day and then I'm back up the next day getting shit done. This has been different, in ways I can't explain, except to say that my body doesn't necessarily feel like my own and I hate it.
"So, I'll get another rapid test", I told myself "just to be doubly sure". Of course, it came back negative only 15 minutes later, which is very useful for a semi-hypochondriac. Extra super useful for someone who lives alone, who assumes she may pass out alone at home only to be found after her body sends a massive stink floating upstairs.
So what now? Is this what really bad bouts of depression is like? If it is, I've never experienced it before, except for maybe once and I'd like it to quickly find its way out. Is it anxiety? I guess the chest stuff and woozy feeling can sometimes accompany high anxiety, but anxiety is an old friend of mine, you see and we get a long just fine, as long as I'm productive. So what the fuck? When I can't be productive I guess this old friend comes at me hard. It's an unstoppable monster that convinces me there's no end in sight and maybe this is just how I'll feel for the rest of my life.
Except we all know, no feeling is final. I just have to tell myself this is just another day and it's okay if I still feel like shit, even if there's no explanation as to why. It's the "not knowing what's wrong" which makes it seem like the most dangerous, insurmountable thing I've ever experienced. I now understand what people mean when they say depression has knocked down their door and has made them attach themselves to their bed like a moth to a flame. That has never been something I have ever understood, because I always just get up and get to work, whether I like it or not, but for the past 3 days I now FULLY understand. I have been searching for answers to give me an explanation as to what is happening to me physically, but it may seem that it's something unexplainable. Or maybe it is that little old friend called, anxiety.
I may just have to settle in knowing that it's just another day I feel out of control. I'm alive, I'm breathing and I'm safe. I must rest easy knowing that it's just another day and tomorrow will be better.
If you've ever experienced anxiety, with these side effects, feel free to share, so we are all reminded, we are all in this together. I love you idiot army. Spread hugs, love and laughter as always.