“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.” – Charles Dickens
If he hadn’t died over a hundred years ago I would have sworn Charles was following me around for the last month and a half to be inspired to write that paragraph from “Tale”.
I write it this way: I have been a yoyo.
My blood pressure is finally levelling off now but over the course of the last month it shot up to just under 200 (but never back to 240/125) and then after a few minutes or hours, dropped to 145. Finally, just in this last week, it’s settling around 135/85 and though that’s borderline high my doctor is happy with it. I’m just happy that it’s becoming consistent. Well, mostly consistent.
My daily now includes medication for the high blood pressure, an aspirin, supplements for magnesium, omega 3 and multi-vitamin. I was hoping for Flintstone multi-vitamins but apparently, according to the pharmacist anyway, I need a vitamin for ‘big people’. I tried a med for the anxiety. For 3 days. Everything got worse for those 3 days plus a couple new problems. Stopped those meds. The pharmacist, when she gave me the Zoloft for the anxiety, assured me that she gives it to, and I quote, “a lot of little old ladies, so you shouldn’t have any problem with it.” Apparently I can’t even handle the ‘little old lady’ dose.
My doctor, to help me deal with my anxiety, reminded me that as Christians we don’t have to fear death. I told him I didn’t fear dying as much as I feared living with anxiety.
The truth is though, I do fear dying.
I don’t fear heaven. I don’t fear the afterlife or have any worries about where I’m headed after I’m finished with this body. Like C.S. Lewis say, and I’m paraphrasing, I’m not a body with a soul, I’m a soul that’s got the temporary use of a body.
But I fear dying the same way I fear not finishing a book I’m reading or a movie I’m watching or a great adventure I’ve started. Who wants to get halfway through the line to the giant rollercoaster only to be told the park is closed? I’ve been around enough tragedy to know that there are no guarantees for anyone but when anxiety makes me feel like I’m dying, think I’m dying, my pages are dog-eared but I’m nowhere near the end of the book.
And don’t even get me started about a body in a box.
My panic attacks and anxiety are improving. I rarely get an ‘attack’ now. My anxiety comes and goes but doesn’t stay for the day anymore. When it starts to approach I can feel it and I can mentally beat it and the symptoms back so that I can carry on but it really wears me out to do that.
When it comes my pulse starts to go faster, my thoughts crank up into hyperdrive, I get really worked up inside over things that 2 months ago were just ‘no big deal’. If it gets the better of me, and sometimes it still does, I get chest pains, sweats, I can’t get a breath or I get so conscious of my breathing that I “over breath” from making myself breath and ultimately hyper-ventilate. I start to hurt all over, I have no energy or have way too much energy as adrenaline suddenly comes coursing through me and my natural “fight or flight” kicks into high gear with nothing to run from and no one to fight. Stomach acid goes crazy, shoulders and neck go uber-tense and when it goes totally out of control my heart feels like it will beat right out of my chest.
But today is better than 3 weeks ago and so we take one day at a time. I’m still waiting for my doctor to get me in for my stress test to verify there’s no heart blockage, which runs in the family. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
If there aren’t any updates for a few months you’ll have to finish the story for me.
(insert smiley face here.)