Sunday, February 3, 2013

Why are you still here?

So it's 2013...where did 2012 go? I wonder myself.

How do we deal with anxiety attacks? I've been having this nightmarish experience for almost 7 years now. I've always thought I was strong, calm, and can handle everything. I guess, I was wrong.

It all started on that ordinary morning back in 2007. I was fast asleep....away from it all. When suddenly came the thudding. I ignored it. My heart kept pressing on my chest. It was hard to ignore. I opened my eyes. The room started to swing. Everything was moving in circles. I told myself to stay calm while I prayed. It went on and on, and finally, I decided to wake up Ef. I told him what was going on, and I said that I thought I was having a heart attack. He tried to keep me in calm state. But I started getting scared. The vertigo won't go away. My heart was racing. I could feel the blood run through my veins. Every sound and every movement in the room was magnified a hundred times. That was around 3 AM. A few minutes later, the doctors came with an ambulance. I was rushed to the ER. I had never been so scared in my life.

I was released that very same day. The doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me. They attributed it all to what they decided as symptoms of panic attack. I didn't know whether I should be pleased or more scared. I decided to be pleased. I was healthy, and it was probably a panic attack. No big deal. Next time, I know how to handle it. Or so I thought.

The second attack came a year later. It was just before midnight. I was watching the late night news. Then my heart started to pound again. I felt cold... extremely cold. I started to shake. After going through what felt like a non-stop convulsion for 10 minutes, I decided to call my friend C. She asked me if I could walk. I said, I could. She came 5 minutes later and drove me to the hospital. I was all cold, pale, couldn't breath, heart beating almost thrice as fast. I thought I was going to die that night.

I have outlived the attack. They sent me home, but thought that it was wise to send me to a neurologist. The neurologist didn't find anything. They decided it was possibly a panic attack.

The third one came last year. Two weeks after Ef was buried, I went through the same ordeal again. Only this time, it was a combination of the first and second attacks. And because I didn't and couldn't recognize the symptoms, I called again some friends and had asked them to take me to the hospital. At the hospital, they found nothing. I was sent home. My friends decided to keep me that evening at their place. The next day, I was ok-ish again.

This January I had again another severe attack. I was fast asleep. I woke up with a very fast heart beat. It caught me offguard. I didn't think for a moment that it was another anxiety attack because my heart was beating close to 200 hundred per minute. I tried calling my friends. Nobody was picking up. I called my brother and sister, they didn't pick up. Finally, I decided to call 112 (911). A few minutes later, a doctor and his assistant was at my house.

He took my pulse and blood pressure. He instantly administered an oral medication for the heart. He called an ambulance. He tried to calm me down and sat beside me inside the ambulance. He was asking questions about the Philippines. I could barely talk but I tried giving him answers.

When I was finally at the hospital, they checked everything again. Lungs were normal. ECG and EKG stabilized and back to normal. BP is back to normal. Pulse also back to normal. The cardiologist said there was nothing wrong with the heart and I could go home.

So I went home again. But eversince that attack last January, I noticed that I have panic attacks almost everyday already. And sometimes, even during the day. Because I'm alone and am too freaked out to sleep, I try to stay awake.

So I became and still am a regular visitor at my family doctor's clinic. I have pride of course. I feel like that child who cried wolf. I don't know how to deal with the attacks. I have medicines and breathing exercises. But now, the doctors are treating three things. My anxiety attacks, lack of sleep, and mild depression.

Whenever I go and see my family physician, he would smile emphatically and has only these words to say to me. "Why are you still here? Don't you want to go home to your country?"

You're probably wondering the same thing. I'll tell you what I always tell him. "My story here is not yet finished. My home is nowhere. Help me find it again."

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