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Monday, March 27, 2017

Splashes of Crimson



I have recently been writing posts describing how I feel in the different cycles of my mental illness. The funny thing is, it isn't the same for everyone; but most with the same diagnosis will recognize what I am writing about.

I never intended for this to become a series of posts in the same vernacular, I was just scribbling down what was happening in my head, as I skipped through the hoops Bipolar. Yet I also have Panic/ Anxiety disorder. Sometimes I feel this assault upon my body affects my life more than either side of the bipolar equation. This is the one that controls my life no matter what is happening with my depressive or manic moments.

You see I live in fear. Fear of the world outside my room, my door, my home. You know what the worst part is? It is that I remember when I partook of life and reveled in it. It seems ages ago. Well I guess it has been; seeing how the last time I lived without fear I was roughly around the age of five. At that age, I had a major fright that has caused in me a major phobia. I found out when I was older, that there was an incident that happened even earlier. This incident played a part in the latter one.

The event that took place at the age of five was that I was sitting on a small porch off the side of my childhood home. We had a dog at the time, who was rather protective of those in my family. He was chasing after my Dad as he mowed the lawn. Unbeknownst to me a black snake had coiled up behind me on the warm concrete, I suppose to sun itself. In a blur the dog started barking and growling at me. I was frozen in place as the fear instilled when I was involved in a dog attack at the age of two, took over my body. Now that I think about it, that may have saved my life. Because the snake had coiled up, and was prepared to strike. (I found out later that it was a Water Moccasin.) The dog charged towards me, and grabbed the snake and killed it.

You can imagine what must have been going through my Dad's mind viewing this tableau happening before him. He didn't know exactly what was happening until after the snake was dead. He thought the dog attacked me for doing something to it. All I had been doing was playing with my doll on the porch. From that day forward, I live in fear of snakes. This fear is so strong, that I cannot look at a picture of a snake or watch a movie with snakes in it. Just seeing them gets my heart pounding, my palms sweaty, and my need to escape ramped to one hundred percent. I have cleared a retail counter to get away from little green ribbon snakes. Yes, it is that bad.

You may wonder why I told you this story. Good question. For most people, they are cool with the reptile, and don't understand my fear. Well having panic and anxiety disorder is much the same way. The funny thing is it can be the most innocent thing that can trigger panic or anxiety. For someone who doesn't live with this. Those feelings are a rare occurrence. Not for me, and I am sure, not for my fellow sufferers. Those people lucky enough to go through a day without a panic/anxiety attack don't understand what it is like for us.

That moment when you are triggered. When your heart pounds so hard you feel as though it will rip through your chest. When you feel like all the oxygen has been pulled out of the room, even if you are standing outside.  Your vision tunnels to one place, when in fact your eyes are darting in every direction trying to find a way out. You feel the roiling of your stomach, it feels like something is inside trying to rip its way out. In these moments, my vision goes red. A wash of crimson creeps in from the corner of my sight until the world is coated in it. My nails have dug into my palms from gripping my hands in such a tight fist.

The worst part is you brain is racing with so many thoughts, but none are coherent. You know you should take a deep breath, to try to calm yourself, but the ability is temporarily malfunctioning. There just seems like there is nothing to be done. Usually for me I must get away from the trigger if possible. When it isn't, I hope someone I know is near to talk me through it. Just another day for most but someone with this disorder, you live in constant state of readiness. Prepared for something to set you off. The days you get through without an attack, feel like you have dodged a bullet. You take a deep breath, enjoying the fact that you can.

This disorder costs people their families, their friends, and even their livelihood. I have had to walk away from jobs; some I even liked because one day on the way to work an attack triggers. The closer I get to work the more intense the symptoms become. Until you must stop, turn around, and go in the opposite direction. Simply because the thought of going to work is impossible. You start to feel better, think it was caused by something else. You turn around, and as soon as you head back to work the feelings return. Well, there goes another job. It isn't that we want to stop working, no it is just beyond our limits.

I knew when this happened to me the last time, there would not be any more jobs. My fear had become so intense that just the thought of working caused me anxiety. The thought of failing to do my job sends me into panic mode. The splashes of crimson streak across my vision. There is nowhere to hide.

I have shown in this post, the final color of my emotions based on my mental diagnosis. If you have similar feelings, please feel free to reach out. Leave me a comment below. Share this with your friends and family, letting them know how much this is perhaps close to what you feel. I hope by letting people have a glimpse into my world, that it helps someone. As always if you feel lost there are helpful places to find understanding and empathy. One such place is The Mighty.com

Until next week I hope the color of your emotions stay in the yellow. Who can’t be happy when playing in the sun?


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