I wake up with a weird, buzzing, anxious feeling in my chest.
Everything is wrong, but nothing is wrong.
Everything is scary, but nothing is scary.
Everything is death around the corner, but death is not there.
That’s what the ladies in an online support group I’m in call this feeling. I call it sheer terror.
This buzzing,crazy, I’m-going- to -crawl- out of -my -skin -feeling.
I don’t know what to call the internal buzz other than a feeling of doom and darkness, the feeling something bad is about to happen but I’ve forgotten what so I sit for a while each morning trying to remember what in my life is bad and terrifying. I can’t think of anything I should be anxious about so my brain conjures up something for me.
That twinge in my hand.
Is that numbness?
That pain in my back.
Could it be my heart?
My cheek feels funny.
Is that numbness?
It’s probably a stroke.
It’s a stroke.
I’m having a heart attack, a stroke and a brain aneurysm all at once.
Before I can decide which ailment I’m dying from there is a kid in my room asking if he can go outside and ride his bike and a toddler hanging off my neck like I’m playground equipment, asking if she can have candy for breakfast. Now my heart is pounding and both my hands are numb and my right ear has filled up and I can’t seem to move my legs right. I’m not old enough to be old but here I am at 40 with all these terrifying symptoms and general feelings of oldness.
The anxiety is nothing new to me, it’s been there off and on for years. The intensity of the thoughts and the inability to slow them down, that’s slightly new, a bit of a sign that something is making this curse progressively worse the older I get.
Despite the horrors my brain keeps screaming at me, I’m certain what I’m dealing with is hormone induced and that learning to cope is what I’ll have to do, especially since the worst time for these thoughts and feelings are right before the cliche “Aunt Flow” stops by for a visit (like a nagging old lady). I’ve told myself I’m not alone in having these feelings and I know I’m not because I’ve read their stories.
So many women with so many of the same thoughts and all of us terrified and being told it’s all in our head and we just need this pill or that surgery and we will be fine. And don’t forget the traditional lines that always begin with “Well…you’re a woman, so…”
We have become our own doctors, doing research, reading books and blogs and asking questions that many times don’t get answers. We have left behind doctors and “experts” because none of them have helped us and we have had to become our own expert.
And we are cutting out certain food and adding certain food and dropping supplements and adding supplements and living our lives by trial and error to see what makes us feel less like we are hanging by a thread that is about to snap at any moment.
We share our self-care with each other over coffee and via technology and together we find assurance that we aren’t “just women” and, more importantly, we aren’t alone.