Panic Attacks and Finger Painting

field of crazy

The other night I woke up at 3AM having a panic attack for no apparent reason. All day I had been feeling stressed and upset, though I can’t really say why, but I knew it was coming. My particular brand of panic attack includes pain shooting down my left arm, which if I can’t manage to relax results in twitching to severe muscle spasms. It’s painful, but more so it’s embarrassing for me, because there’s no hiding a twitching arm. Once it starts even after I’m completely calm I can’t get it to stop. Because of how much it sucks, once I have the slightest symptom I can stress out so bad about it possibly happening I can cause it to happen. However, it’s been years since I’ve had a full blown attack. Though I have had mild freak outs, that I’ve managed to either distracting myself in some way or by the absolute sweet and understanding nature of my husband managing to talk me down.

Last night though he was asleep and knowing he has to get up insanely early to do a rather physically demanding job, I hated the notion of waking him up, and my arm is twitching and I’m crying and freaking out. I did manage to calm down enough to think I should do something that I enjoy. I went to my art room, and usually when feeling like this I turn to the palette knife, I don’t know why but it just feels right during then, though the paintings are never that great in the end. However, right then even the knife wouldn’t do, I just splashed paint everywhere and dived in with a childlike enthusiasm of getting messy and feeling the squishy paint between my fingers. I call it Field of Crazy, and it was a lot of fun. Yet afterwards I broke down crying. The panic attack was gone, but the truth is I realized I couldn’t manage on my own. Sure I might go years between full blown attacks, but in between isn’t that great, and the constant fear I could freak out at any moment for really no reason at all is no way to live.

It’s ridiculous how much at times we can balk at the idea of needing to take medication for mental health issues. Always seems like we should be able to manage it on our own, especially when you do have a great life that you should be perfectly happy in. But that’s stupid, because any other health problem we take the meds without a second thought. I take fish oil every night for my cholesterol, and Nexium every morning for heart burn. And if I can’t manage to eat well enough to possibly lower my cholesterol or get rid of heart burn, which there’s a likely chance I could actually manage on my own, then how can I expect myself to somehow manage the chemicals in my brain that cause these issues? The fact is I can’t, I don’t believe anyone can, and so I shouldn’t feel ashamed of taking medication. It’s not a failing on my part, it’s a medical condition that I just got stuck with, and I should be happy that there are meds that make it better.

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