When Brains Attack

Today, is the anniversary of a traumatic event and it hit me hard this year. I’d love for anyone who says PTSD is all “in your head” to step into my body when these events happen.

This is the face of anxiety, flashbacks, and insomnia.

I can never tell if it’s a migraine, asthma attack, heart attack, or PTSD unless it happens on/around a specific date. My entire body short circuits. Limbs go numb, I can’t speak clearly, I can’t breathe, sharp pain goes shooting from one side of my body to the other, there is alternating pain and pressure in my head, combined with tingly numbness creeping across my face. When it gets really bad, an extra surge of adrenaline comes through and I can feel it in my gut. It feels so much like my body is shutting down and suffocating even though my heart rate stays steady except for immediately following the adrenaline surge, and I’m controlling my breathing. 

Reading about what I experience sounds so much like a heart problem, but every time I make it to the doctor or end up in the ER all my tests come back normal. I’ve had EKG’s, bloodwork, chest X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and everything is within acceptable range/levels etc. The only thing physically wrong with me is my brain freaking out, getting stuck in panic mode and throwing all of my other bodily systems out of whack, and I’m already doing everything that I can do to correct that issue. 

This year, I think is worse than last for two reasons: I’m not pregnant focusing on keeping myself healthy to keep the babies healthy, and I’ve lost most of my usual coping mechanisms. I happen to be one of the lucky ones and can usually keep my symptoms under control with out meds, as long as I have access to my coping mechanisms (this, gym, diet, human interaction etc) and the support of my Hubs. At one point last night it got so bad I was considering calling 911, but before I did that I called Hubs to give him a quick run down of the situation. It was 1am, he has to be up and out the door for work at 8am but he answered. 

Once I started going through everything with him, explaining what was going on etc the majority of my symptoms went away. I rambled on for almost an hour about everything and nothing just to talk and hear his voice. After I felt okay enough to say goodnight I pulled up our song and put it on repeat until I fell asleep. 

I think I’ve taken my Hubs for granted, or simply never realized how instrumental he has actually been to my recovery process. I’m a very flashy, bells, whistles, vocal supporter of people. All of my emotions are generally turned up to 11 and I show it in big, obvious ways. Hubs is at the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s always been supportive, but quietly, in the background and the shadows where I don’t generally notice it until it’s missing all together. 

After being apart for so long, I’m realizing just how much he does/did for me. It’s rarely what I want in terms of support, but I’m now finding that it’s a big part of what I need. I’m so glad he’ll be here tomorrow, even if it’s just overnight. Which reminds me… I need to get started with the laundry and vacuuming lol.