Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Let's begin where it all started

Let's begin where it started.  About 10 years ago give or take, as a successful realtor, I was on my daily drive to the office. Suddenly I had for the first time in my life a horrible dizzy spell that made me feel as if I was floating out of the car. I had lost so I thought complete control of everything, it only lasted about 10 seconds, was able to keep control of the car and keep going no accident.
But the damage to me mentally was very severe, little did I know how bad it would get in the months and years to come.

I was sweating terribly, white as a ghost when I arrived at the office, could barely make it to my desk and sit down. Shaking was gone for now, pulse rate coming down, but the thought of getting back in that car sent shivers down my spine. What happened and why were they creeping into my thoughts. 

I only lasted a hour or so in the office until I had my fiance Jeanne drive me home, just getting in that car again was very very frightening. But we made it home without a problem, but now the brain was working over and over, what could of caused this, and of course I had little faith or just plain ignorance in going to a doctor right away, and didn't have insurance at the time.

So, I'll just sit at home for a bit, well that didn't help. My real estate business immediately suffered, and my fears of that car which I had to rely on for selling sat in the driveway and me basically in a cave, worrying.

In a short time, matter of weeks, I was refusing to drive at all, Jeanne had to drive me, but that only took the stress of having an accident off my mind, just being in that car was causing severe panic problems, and they just kept getting worse, several times I almost jumped out of the car while it was moving I was getting so petrified.

One of the last times I went out in the car was 9/11, when the trade towers went down, sat and watched in horror of that all day long. I soon was barely able to even sit in the car without going anywhere. Started drinking alcohol pretty heavily, and wow that didn't help. Got me through the nights, but alcohol sends anxiety into overdrive the next day, something that I wish I learned from this occasion that would haunt me again years later.

Well, after major suffering for about 5 months, now i'm talking laying in bed just shaking and crying uncontrollably I was so scared, and now scared of everything it seemed, and couldn't be left alone,  31 years old and I basically needed a babysitter for fear I was going to die if left alone for more than 5 minutes. This "disease" was eating me alive, so we finally went to a psychiatrist, horrifying car ride there and back of course. 

But, the Doctor gave me some pills, a tranquilizer lorazepam, low dose I guess, didn't do a lot, but did help a bit, and of course you can't drink any alcohol with, which was a good thing for me. And he prescribed PAXIL. Oh my lord, that stuff was horrible, the thoughts I had and the dreams, the dreams the dreams, they were out of a Horror film, had to change that fast. We tried 2 or 3 other types nothing helped.

But the lorazepam did help me calm SOME, but get in a car? Forget it. Drinking was done with, not with medication. So I quit drinking for well over 5 years, didn't miss it at all, and I'm sure my liver was throwing a different kind of a happy party also and anxiety and panic did it improve a little, for a while.

Unfortunately, things didn't get better after the doctor visit, I was too frightened to get back in the death-mobile again, and I was getting pushed further and further into not going outside at all, the world was closing in on me fast, I'd walk down to the mailbox a whole 60 yards from the house and have to run back and get inside, heart pounding, sweating, shaking all over, can't breathe, wonderful life.

A few more weeks passed, not a lot changed, except now I was afraid I was going to choke on anything I ate or drank, so eating and drinking now was a fight, yeah, anxiety and panic had gripped me this bad in about 8 months time, and over the next 6 months due to the appetite issues, I dropped from an overweight 210 pounds to about 130 pounds. Not a healthy diet to be on. And further and further I slipped into my cave that was turning into a prison.

Once I hit 130 pounds, I guess family and friends decided maybe it was time I get help. So they called an ambulance to take me to the emergency room. Jeanne rode in front, I was as white as a sheet, shaking on the ambulance bed in back, with the kindest EMT I've ever met, a wonderful woman of about 50 was so sweet and professional to me.

She seemed to know the hell I was going through, she held my hand, and quietly said, "you need to relax, and lower your heart rate, your blood pressure and heart rate are way too high", well, geez, at first that didn't help, figured I was done for. But as I do most things, I took it as a challenge, more so a game, that in this case I won with room to spare, within 5 minutes she said, "whatever you did, worked, it's too low now, stop". Wish I knew how I calmed my blood pressure and heart rate so quickly and easily but can't control an out of control panic attack.