Currently I’m in the middle of writing a blog titled, “First I’m going to make you strong”. I pressed pause on that piece because I don’t feel strong right now. My reality in this moment is utter rot. I’m processing my life right now and it’s messy. I feel extremely fatigued. It’s hard for me to complete a day without sleeping the rest of it away. This isn’t life. I question myself constantly if I’m ill or if it’s post-stroke fatigue at its max. I find myself reaching for the thermometer checking my temperature and the results are normal. I sigh with relief, because I don’t want a fever. I don’t need to be sick at this moment. My body can’t handle it.
Lately, or should I say this week, I have been experiencing panic and impending doom drape over me. My first night in the hospital keeps popping into my thoughts. This happens from time to time and I have nightmares, but they subsided drastically. Now the thoughts have come back with chaos. It’s not in the night when I sleep, but perpetual during the day. My heart starts to race, and I feel a panic attack coming on. I feel like it’s out of control and the tears won’t stop. I faced this during the initial recovery phase, and I have written extensively about grief never leaving but learning tools to assist when one creeps up. I feel like I lost my toolbox. I’m grasping, and I’m grasping hard to compose myself the best way that I can. My reality is that I’m losing control of my emotions and thoughts. I have crawled into a dark hole and I’m looking for the light to guide me out. There are moments where we must stop and recognize when we don’t have it together and need help. I’m at that point right now. I have been steadfast with strength, that I conclude that I’ve been sweeping a lot of emotions under the rug. Yet, I question that because I feel that I have been as truthful as I can be with myself and to others. This is very confusing to me.
I desperately want to have a good week. Just one good week. Not feeling tired or have PTSD creep up. I’m done with crying or fearing that the worse hasn’t even happened yet. Does anyone else feel this way? Am I alone with these dark thoughts that creep up and monopolize the day? I don’t know if my panic is compounded with the world on fire. It’s a weird timing in life. It wasn’t part of my blueprint that I would have medical trauma and witness the world around me crumble with civil unrest, pandemic, and the list goes on and on. I feel consumed and burned out. I try to draw strength with self-talk, write my feelings out, take inventory on the good things going on. It’s not working this week. I mourn the summer that didn’t happen, which all of us can agree on. I mourn the ability to freely do things that we once took for granted. I mourn the days I got up and did my job and had no worries at the end of the day. I mourn being active. I mourn my life I had before all this happened. I mourn not knowing my body anymore. Intuitiveness saved my life. I think I’ve lost that instinct because I have a shunt, and so many things that are normal, could be a malfunction. I feel scared to call the doctor and ask. I don’t know why I feel that way, but I do.
What drove me to write this piece? My day in detail. I woke up around 6:30 am. I got a total of 4 hours of sleep. I immediately started working. Things seemed great at first. Within three hours of working I felt doom. My heart was racing, my mind started to replay my first night at the hospital. I shook my head and said no. I continued working. It’s a great distraction to be honest, however today I grew more fatigued as time passed. Thankfully I was done at an earlier time than normal. Once I shut my computer down, I wobbled over to the bathroom and took a shower because I had plans to run errands. Usually a warm shower is cure for me. I stood in the shower for a long time. I was shaking. I got out and began to put on my makeup. My hand was shaking so bad that I had to stop. I said screw it and changed into my clothes. I leashed one my fur babies to take her outside to potty before my errands. It was too much. I walked back up and put my pajamas back on and curled up in the fetal position shaking. My heart raced. I was pushing back the tears. Then the thought of death creeped up. Not in the sense that I want death, but I fear death. It grew louder and louder in my mind. I can’t escape it. I’m thinking to myself, what is going on with you? Get it together! I told myself you have been through hell and back, so why is this day consuming you? I just cried. I cried like there won’t be a tomorrow. It’s gut wrenching.
I have come to terms that I need to seek professional help to assist me to with my emotions over everything that has transpired. Keep in mind not only did I suffer a stroke, brain aneurysm rupture, and hydrocephalus, but a year prior I was diagnosed with an autonomic disorder and heart problem. This condition was added to another heart condition I’ve had for decades. So, there are a lot of medical things swirling about. I had gained control over it after a year and then the stroke trauma happened. Now it’s like everything is flooding back. I’m in the weeds. So, getting help is needed. I thought perhaps this is a sign of weakness, but it’s not. It’s being smart enough that this battle needs more soldiers and there is nothing shameful about asking for backup. You don’t win a war alone.
I understand there will be good days and bad days. We all have that in common. Some of us struggle more than others because it’s situational. I don’t clinically think if have generalized anxiety disorder or depression, but I do believe I have situational anxiety and depression. I stay positive and outwardly you wouldn’t be able to tell. On the inside it’s a cluster. Like a little girl lost crying and trying to find her way back.
We all have a choice to either let the medical condition or our fight define us. I choose to be defined with my fight, because it’s something I can pave a path for others to read, understand, empathize, sympathize, learn, and maybe assist others to come out better. I will continue to write my new blog “First I’m going to make you strong”, however now I have a little more clarity with this piece.
To end, sometimes you must put salt into a wound so you can react. When you do, it’s admitting your pain. Never be ashamed if you have come far and then take a couple steps back. Nothing says you can’t keep moving; however, you can’t do it until you realize the root cause of the issue and when to admit you need help.