Fear of the fear

January 9th, 2014 | Josie

“To fear is one thing.  To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.”  ~Katherine Paterson

I’ve admittedly had a lot of anxiety in my life… it’s hard to worry as much as I do, about everything, and not let it get into your head. But somehow I’ve always managed to deal with it, to keep things under control and not let the worries and the fears overwhelm me. 3 weeks ago, that changed, and I hit a wall with a terrible, horrifying panic attack on a Wednesday evening. Hours of pacing and walking, unable to calm down, let to a midnight ER visit that lasted until 5:30 am. Another day of pacing and panicking, with only a 1 hour stretch of sleep in over 48, landed us back in the ER. It’s been 3 weeks, and we’ve been to the ER twice more, and I’ve had 3 doctor’s appointments in 6 days. “Acute Panic Disorder,” likely brought on by the pregnancy. Blood tests show that I’m severely anemic (why this wasn’t caught sooner, I’m not sure) and possibly slightly hyperthyroid, which can “cause mental changes.” I have a new OB, a sleep doctor, a psychiatrist, and a therapist, all working to help me get better and keep Max safe, but I feel so betrayed by my body. I’m so scared of having another panic attack that I spend all my days on edge, and almost talk myself into them. Working hard to stay calm, eat and drink enough, and to take care of my body so that it can be a safe place for Max to be. I’m so scared that this horrible thing I can’t control, that’s all in my head but that I’m not making up or imagining, will hurt this baby we’ve tried so hard and so long to protect. I don’t understand how I can do all the right things and still always end up at the short end of the stick. I feel so bad for Charlie, for my mom, both of whom have borne the brunt of my panic attacks, walking with me endlessly for hours… as many times as they ask me not to apologize, I can’t help feeling guilty that I’m stressing them out or keeping them awake. I feel like I am a burden on the ones I love most.

I’ve done a lot of praying. Actually, I’ve really done a lot of begging lately, to please feel ok, to please keep me and my baby safe and healthy, and to please let me weather this storm intact. I spend so much time scared now, I just want to go back to feeling like me, to be excited and happy and not sad and terrified all the time.

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