Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Faking "Normal" When you Feel Like You Are Falling Apart
Last week I had lunch with one of my hanai daughters and she shared something with me that I have really been pondering. She told me that she misses living in Germany where people are really open and honest about things. She said when you ask someone there how they are doing, they tell you the truth and don't try to pretend everything is okay when it is not. She said they really do listen and want to know how you are doing also. Moving back to America has been hard for her because everyone seems to be so busy and really not care how you are really doing and they cover up the truth about how they are also. There is a serious lack on "connection" here in our culture.
She and I got really deep with each other on what was going on in our lives and our struggles. It was good to be able to share with each other and to empathize and be supportive of one another. I came away from our lunch feeling like we really had made a difference in each others lives that day and felt understood and supported. She and I share some of the same struggles and I would have never known that if we had just done the "surface" kind of talk and not gone deep. Her sharing with me. along with another friend this weekend sharing his struggles, has encouraged me to finally admit that I need more help managing my anxiety and depression issues. I am extremely grateful to both of them for that.
I am going to bare my soul here so please be kind. I am struggling with major anxiety and panic attacks, along with depression, more and more lately. I do recognize what is triggering it most of the time. There is a lot of stress in our lives due to outside influences and as much as I try to avoid them, they rear up their ugly heads and down I go. I am really good in a crisis situation on being there for others and keeping them calm, but have a really hard time even thinking rationally when it comes to handling my own health issues. Routine health screenings send me into a panic which, given my childhood with a horrible worst case scenario doctor telling me I was going to die, not be able to have kids, etc., being dropped off at a very young age at the doctor's office to get painful monthly penicillin shots, being dropped off at the hospital for blood work and x-rays, and having to go through surgery as a young child and being left alone without a parent there to comfort me for 2 nights and just a few hours during the day has left deep scars on me. As an adult, I have gone through ultrasounds and painful breast and uterine biopsies (twice on that before I finally got a hysterectomy) that have left me shaken and scared to death every time I now have a mammogram because I am terrified of having to go through that pain and the debilitating anxiety it produces. It took me 6 months to recover from my last breast biopsy due to being allergic to the tape they used that I was allergic too and burned my skin so badly. The numbing medication also wore off during the biopsy and they had to keep giving me more mid procedure. That left me with tears streaming down my face and triggered a huge crash in my health. My husband was not allowed to be there with me in the room while they were doing it so even with anti anxiety meds, I was a wreck. The nurse that was holding onto my hand was wonderful and tried her best to keep me calm and my surgeon got all the calcifications out that he could see so that I would hopefully not have to go through this again. I had a mammogram this Monday and they would not allow my husband to be in the room behind the protective screen like they did last time to help keep me calm and am having severe anxiety now waiting for the results. even if it was just a routine screening. So was the one where I ended up having to have the biopsy. And yes, I had to take anti anxiety meds to even go to the appointment.
I have an appointment for routine blood work and a physical this coming Monday with my very much appreciated, gentle, caring and compassionate doctor. Jeff is going with me, as he always does, to help keep me semi calm, remember things that I cannot, find the words to say when I cannot find them or get them from my brain to my mouth. I know that I will fall apart emotionally again and we will have the difficult conversation about how I need more help dealing with my anxiety issues and the depression that comes with that. My doctor has been very good about supporting me in my decisions on how I want to try and cope with things and has given me great suggestions and the space and time to try and figure out what does and does not work for me. He is amazing and I am very very blessed to have him. I fully realize that many people do not have a doctor that understands that their patients with CFS and Fibromyalgia (along with many other illnesses) do not just have physical pain but emotional ones as well. I do have days where I feel happy and have it together, but the bad days, where I do not, are becoming more and more frequent. I need to be totally honest with myself and get some more help dealing with this and not pretend that I am okay when I am not. I owe that to my family, my friends and to myself.