Friday, June 10, 2011

Midnight Panic Attack

I woke in the middle of the night last night having a panic attack so bad that I was literally shaking. I crawled out of bed and downed a valium as quickly as I could, then crawled back into bed and lay there hoping the valium would kick in soon.

I don't know why my anxiety attacks are so much worse lately. My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, but it didn't seem to affect me that much. At least not consciously. I was more worried about providing emotional support for my husband than I was about my mother-in-law's illness. It sounds heartless to not be worried about someone with cancer. But I grew up knowing that both of my parents and my brother had terminal diseases. (Turns out my brother's wasn't terminal after all, he's still alive and kicking, but one of my cousins did die from the same thing.) I think my parents' long term illnesses and eventual deaths wore out all the circuits in my brain that are programmed to worry about parental illness. Or maybe somewhere deep deep inside I am worried, but it's just not making it to the surface of my thoughts. Who knows.

Or maybe the anxiety is simply about my husband. He is emotionally torn up about his mother's illness. He is also stressed about being emotionally torn up. I've tried to tell him that it's normal to be upset, but he keeps beating himself up about over-reacting. Personally, I think that he's handling it extremely well, but it's what he thinks that matters. I just try to be there for him. Which means I'm back to hiding how badly I feel so as not to put any more stress on him.

Someday I'd like to run around screaming at everybody, telling them in graphic detail exactly how miserable I am. I suppose this blog is my more subtle way of doing that. I may not be telling the people in my life, but I am telling someone. Even if they are complete strangers.

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