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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How I Got Here: Part One

The last few weeks have been such a blur of revelations, trials, and so much more that I realize I may not be being completely clear as to what is going on with me.
My biggest issue is that I am suffering from a panic disorder with agoraphobia.
What does that mean? Well, the panic disorder part is pretty clear. Agoraphobia means that my panic has, in a way, taken control of me and it now scares me to go places.
You may wonder HOW this happens. Well, it's pretty easy actually. About 4.5 years ago, I was single (not for long, but still technically. I'd start dating my husband shortly thereafter, but that's another story). I was working as a server at a restuarant and enjoying life. Well, one night my future husband took me to a Dallas Stars game. And I had a little too much to drink. Problem #1.
The next morning, I woke up, showered, and got ready for work. I ate a waffle and took my stacker (a highly caffienated diet pill) like I always did before work. Problem # 2. You see, these were diet pills but I used them to keep my energy up while I was waiting tables.
As I was driving to work, I had to stop by Jeremy's house to pick up something. I was feeling funny, and I chalked it up to needing more food with the diet pill on my stomach. Being the bachelor that he was, Jeremy didn't have any. Oh well, I thought, and proceeded to work. But my heart was racing by this point and I was beginning to get scared.
Finally, just less than a mile from work, I pulled over into a gas station. I had to get this pill out of my body. I thought it was killing me. I ran to the bathroom and did all I could think to do- start trying to make myself throw the pill up. Nothing came out of my stomach, so I rushed to buy some candy. I thought surely I was dying. I texted my best friend. "Pray for me" I said. I was going to die here in this gas station. My parents and brother would be a thousand miles away in Tennessee and I would die here. I took my Twix bar to the counter and started eating it right there. In fact, I may have opened it before I even got to the counter. I was desperate. I needed food to soak up the diet pill that was ravishing through my body and sending my heart rate through the roof.
Finally, I spoke to the clerk behind the desk. She was a young girl with her baby there at the gas station with her. "I think I need an ambulance," I said. I just knew she thought I was on drugs. I think I explained to her what was going on, but I'm sure she still thought I was drugged up. She told me there was no point in calling an ambulance, that the hospital was right around the corner.
Ok, I said. I'd go. I got back in my car, rushed to the hospital, and parked right in front of the ER (I would come back later to move my car :-P).
As I filled out the paperwork, it was a miracle my chicken scratch handwriting could be read at all. My hand was shaking so tremendously it was ridiculous.
But my heartrate did go significantly down just being in the waiting room. And it decreased even more when I got back to see the doctor. I remember him telling me that he usually took 4-6 of the pills I'd taken each day he worked. While it seemed like the stupidest thing in the world to me (he was quadrupling the dose I'd almost died off of?!?) it calmed me, too. It made me realize that these pills were not as harmful as my body had quickly become convinced they were.
They put me in a room and Jeremy came to be with me. He brushed the hair out of my eyes and took amazing care of me (why I didn't agree to date him right there, I don't know).
After an hour or two, they discharged me, diagnosing me with an elevated heart rate and explaining that my body had had the reaction it did because I was so dehydrated from drinking the night before.
I went home, completely exhausted.
And for the next few weeks, being in my car was a little scary. Sometimes, I'd get to work and wonder if something else could trigger that type of fear.
But within the next year, the fears had gone away. I had much bigger things to focus on. Jeremy and I had started dating, had fallen in love very quickly because of the great friendship we'd already built, and were having a baby together.

To be continued... ;)

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