Anxiety and panic. Friend or foe?

I will never EVER forget my first all out panic attack. You know the one where you suddenly and inexplicably are aware that you are about to just drop dead. The dry mouth, racing heart, shortness of breath, mental torture. I mean, I had always been anxious, but never had experienced an actual, bonafide panic attack. I was around the age of 16-17 years old. I would have these attacks from that day forward. And I eventually would learn to somewhat control them.

One thing these attacks and constant worry has done for me is make me realize (finally) that they are certainly much ado about nothing. I have used this solid and proven fact time and time again to get myself back on the wagon and sometimes even prevent anxiety and panic.

What about the days where I am swept out into an ocean of fear, worry, anxiety and panic? Days where I have to really reach and struggle to remain bearable to those around me while  inside I feel like I am unraveling faster than I can knit myself back together? Days where I can’t even choke down a bite of food because the anxiety and recurring panic attacks have such a tight grip on me that I can’t begin to wriggle free? These are days which feel like they never end. They leave me searching heart, mind and soul, they leave me searching the internet for reassurance, they leave me searching the Bible and seeking comfort from the Lord.

On these days I feel alone and sad. There is a bit of a need after these attacks, especially the ones that hang around all day. They leave me feeling lonely, rejected, depressed, bitter and spent. They magnify my husbands neglect. I cannot approach that man for a hug because he rejects me and acts as though I am inconveniencing him. I can’t talk to him because he does not care and wears it on his sleeve. There is no comfort to be found in this person who is “supposed to be” the one I can count on above all others. I always wish I had a friend to talk to but why burden people again, who don’t care all that much. How many times I have spent several hours talking a friend out of suicide, or just listening because they needed a friend, been there to loan money, give advice, love, acceptance etc….. ? How many times has any one of these people been all I have been to them when I needed that gift returned? Never. Not once. Ever.

I don’t do things for others because I want to in debt them to me.I sincerely want my friends to be okay, to be happy, to have their needs met, to live and enjoy life and know that no matter what they are not alone in the world. It would be wonderful if I could have someone do that for me, but they are not obligated. It hurts that I am so easily sought out in times of need yet so easily ignored when I am the one doing the seeking. I never confront anyone, I never hold it over their head. I never say, “I always help you so why can’t you help me?” I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to me. I don’t want anyone to feel guilty that I have extended myself to them while they have not done the same for me.But also I feel that in the past when I did have that rare person In whom I tried seeking solace I was shot down. That’s worse than never talking about it at all really. It is better not to try than to be rejected. Always.

So the after panic feelings are just as intense as the panic and there is no slack for days after actually. I walk around feeling spent from the panic and in need of warm hugs, a gentle voice, a kind word, and comfort. Seek and ye shall find they say. I don’t feel as though I can seek, and I fear if I do I shall surely not find. The feelings of desolation, isolation, abandonment, solitude, and hopelessness keep rolling along. I have depression outside and apart from my panic and anxiety also. But those times have a different feel since that cannot be directly attached to any specific event. Not that I have a way of venting about that either…. so I guess that part doesn’t mean much. I have this blog which no one reads….. so there is no danger of being judged here. I have that going for me at the very least…… sigh…..

Meanwhile I have an occasional exchange here on the internet with a person who provides exactly what I need to remember and practice. I love these people because they are out here dropping little tid-bits and  nudging a person toward a better place. Sometimes it’s the people we don’t really know who help us the most and vice versa. Something about the internet …. people are either very highly judgmental or very highly loving and caring in ways they are not toward people in their face-to-face lives. I find that to be true for me at times. I appreciate these kind, helpful, and comforting comments from internet friends. It’s very easy to post from a place where all of your friends are no one you know. You can drop off some small remark about how you feel that day and here come the people you don’t really know offering what they can to lift your up when you feel torn down. Interesting how that goes. How these small exchanges can mean so much and go such a very long way. The fact that people stop and take a moment to wish another well means something. While I may not be pouring my heart out in some short post about feeling panic and anxiety It’s out there anyway. It helps. I hope I can always be a help or nudge people toward feeling better also.



Arguing on the internet. Or An apology to my patience.

I often wonder yet I full well know, why do people become their most unbearable selves on the internet? Yes, it is because they may hide behind the veil of a screen and never have to directly take in the feelings and expressions and humanity of the person they are jabbing. But why? Why does the shield that is a screen bring so many to being so bad? If there are people who use this protective technological mask for evil are there any who use it for good? To compliment and lift others up as opposed to knocking them down?


Could I become that person? I try not to engage with the hostile and argumentative but I admit to moments of weakness. I have grown stronger in walking away and leaving the person to keep at it in my absence.  This is one of my biggest goals. To just not respond in the first place.

I may have no clue what drives any specific person, but I do know enough about people to know that anyone could be battling anything in life. What person is dealing with a recent medical diagnosis that has them reeling and shaking in their shoes? What person is mourning the loss of a loved one? Who just caught their spouse cheating or found out they were being used and that the trust they placed in someone special had been trampled?  Who grew up the same way I did and is just now learning how to be bearable in the first place? What secret struggles and personal conflicts go on is never known yet we can speculate. Or at least we should. Perhaps that seemingly arrogant and condescending person has something terrible going on underneath. But then again maybe they are just a jerk because it is who they truly are. Does that mean I should accommodate them in a scathing back and forth trying to best them in a game of school yard insults, put downs, and criticism? If I walk away they get satisfaction of having the last word but I also get the satisfaction of having conquered myself. If I stay and argue it only becomes a battle of egos and leaves the door open for others to join the fray.

Why is it so hard to just leave these people to their madness and get on with out allowing them to become a black cloud blocking my sunshine? I don’t care much about being right, or about getting the final word. I find I take issue with someone who seems to jump out at me and scold me when it certainly is not their place. As if the offending person thinks they are an authority over internet strangers and they must put others in check or their day is not complete. We can never change other people, and nothing we say matters once the sun goes down. Yet we argue. As if our words will matter. What ever we say slowly fades as other arguments, issues, and dramas arise. New opportunities for fresh attacks and internet arguments spring up like dandelions in the crack in your dive way. We all know you can’t get rid of dandelions. Not without some sort of poison to kill them with anyway. And even that won’t stop them from popping up elsewhere. You could pave your front yard and they will find their way up through cracks and crevices you didn’t even know were there.

I feel that in addition to apologizing to internet strangers I should apologize to myself. For allowing the madness and hostility to seep in and affect the way I interact with people in general.


Looking deeper.

I am trying to unravel the mysteries of me.

What makes me tick? How far have the roots of all my character flaws burrowed?

My intolerance of other people, my superficial view of others, my cynical nature, my need to get rid of people who seem to try and get close to me.

I could name at least 100 flaws.

Funny though, it seems people put things out there at just the right time. Almost as if God himself has instructed the universe to bring certain people and things to help me understand or to bring my attention to what needs work. I find myself seeing and hearing an awful lot which makes me pause and raise an eye brow.


How does a person change in the first place. Aside from the obvious “just do it”?  It’s not always easy to “just” change. If we don’t understand ourselves or how we affect others change will certainly not be meaningful or real. I don’t want to “just” change things I say or do, I want to change my mindset, my thoughts, my opinions and feelings. My view of others and situations so that when I speak or act it is true and not simply a superficial effort. I have made this effort a very conscious one lately.

For example, the grocery cashier was having this long conversation with the woman she was ringing up. Going on about the tradition of hiding a pickle decoration in the Christmas tree and who ever finds it gets a special present. This conversation was causing her to take much longer to just ring the person up and move on to the rest of us. Now normally I look at that and roll my eyes, heave a sigh and look around for another register. I wear my impatience like a feather in my hat. My feelings of annoyance like warts on a toad. This day I felt myself coming to that and I chose to look at this conversation and instead of judging and snarling I smiled. I smiled and thought, “That woman sure does look happy talking about this fun thing she just heard of. I hope she enjoys Christmas with her family.” My feelings softened, and my heart grew three sizes that day. I yanked that sled off of the mountainside and rushed back down to Whoville to give back all the presents.

In refraining from a reaction in favor of a response I was able to halt that moment of irritation. It is all these little things that we allow to get under the skin that edge us towards a chronic attitude problem. I am tired of having a chip on my shoulder. I don’t want to be irritated, annoyed or feel like everyone in the world must surely be on a mission to get under my skin or to keep me standing in line as long as possible. If I can take a single instance each day to exercise my best self then surely I will get stronger when it comes to fighting off a bad attitude. This is what I’m striving for at the very least. Surely other people out there are striving for the same?

Keeping at it. Whether I like it or not.

Today was a day of putting it to the test. This being more bearable thing that is. Last night my husband announced that he was going to the store. I asked him if he didn’t mind if he would bring back a loaf of bread and some breakfast sausage. I specifically requested a certain  variety of sausage. When he returned from the store he said, “I’m just going to put this sausage in the freezer.”

“Alright. Thanks!” I said as I continued washing the dishes. I never looked at what he brought back. I assumed he got the same exact sausage that he has ever seen me bring home.

This morning I opened the freezer to get the sausage and there it was. Totally not what I asked him to bring. Yeah. This is the tiniest mole hill in the history of molehills. NOT a big deal. But normally I would make sure to snap on this man the second he got within ear shot, “WHY can’t you bring back what I ask? Have you EVER seen me buy THIS? I don’t know why you can’t just LISTEN to me when I speak! I always listen to YOU!”  I thought about my usual reaction to these types of little things. I asked myself if I would appreciate this reaction to a simple error. Would God appreciate this from me? Would my husband appreciate this from me? No. No. NO. No one on this earth would appreciate this. Not me, not God and certainly not my husband. So I went about my business and it kind of kept simmering away in the back of my mind. I felt irritated. I WANTED to say something. I didn’t. I conquered that urge to exact my anger on my husband. No, he doesn’t KNOW that I held my tongue today. I didn’t say, “OH you know you are SO lucky that I wasn’t a total Bitch this morning! YOU”RE WELCOME!”

“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”  Proverbs 29:11

This was in one of my daily devotionals. The haste to give in to frustrations and anger with our words. I struggle with this daily. In fact I am struggling right now. As I type this my kids are hounding me left and right.
“HEY MOMMY! Look at this!”

“Mommy, listen to my song!” A very long song I may add……

“Mommy read this story!”

“Look what I drew!”

“Mommy, Daddy is watching the walking dead.”


I home school my kids so we are together a lot. I give them their handwriting practice in the morning and while they do that I go about other things. No one has a word to say to me until I am busy balancing the check book, reading, writing or just focusing in general. My frequent (though not consistent) response has been snappish. “WHAT do you WANT! Do you see that my attention is right HERE? ” Or “Will ANYONE give me just ONE MINUTE OF PEACE?!” Among other similar variations. But today, and the past several days….. I…have…. been…. SO….PATIENT. Trying to preserve the feelings of these dear people. I have simply pressed my lips together…. pressed my index finger to my lips and just didn’t say a word. I actually managed several times of a pleasant, “You know hun, I need just a minute okay?” No yelling or snapping or heaving heavy frustrated sighs. Just a calm and simple and pleasant response. It has been like moving a mountain every time I do it.

Do I expect people to really read my mind? I think I pay such close attention to my family I just assume they pay attention to me also. And I also expect them to “just know” when it’s not a good time. If I need someone’s attention when they look busy or focused I usually say, “Is this a good time?” Or, “Let me know when you have a minute, I need to ask you something.” I suppose it’s unreasonable to expect people who aren’t responsible for house and home to behave as if they are. In turning over this new and very difficult leaf I am trying to put a lot of sincere and contemplative thought into why I do the things I do instead of instantly defaulting to, “If people would stop driving me up the wall maybe my attitude would improve!”

It’s a work in progress. I am trying. REALLY. TRYING. I don’t know if anyone will notice, or care how I refine my disposition. I do want to know that the people who are around me every single day notice and appreciate my effort. But as is true with dishes, laundry, cooking meals, and scrubbing toilets and showers no one will likely notice or appreciate it at all. I have to recognize that early and be sure not to expect it and not to allow it to foil my efforts. I have to maintain my focus. I have to allow the Lord to lead me where I need to go.



Putting myself back together.

I can’t be the only one. Somewhere, somehow I allowed myself to fall apart.First it was the weight gain, then it was the clothes and  make-up, then it was the hair and the showers, the thoughts and feelings. All of these things fell out like tiles from a mosaic. They got kicked around in the business of life and lost in the clutter or swept into the trash. Then the house fell behind, general things that need to be done fell behind too. “You mean I didn’t pay a single bill the past two pay days?!” Everything around me is in a state of chaos and shameful disarray. The desk which was once so organized and the bills which always got paid like clockwork now resemble the ruins of a lost city of some ancient civilization. What’s going to be next? Will this pattern of destruction continue until I hit some nasty and unfathomable rock bottom? Have I already hit that bottom?

It all fell down so gradually I barely even noticed. I have to wonder why….. just why? Is it me? Is it some invisible force or feeling? Is this just the normal business of life? I find myself trying to put it all back together only to find myself crumpled in the shadows of defeat over and over …… and over…..again. Sigh….. “I’m going to stay on top of this mess! I am going to get this place clean and keep it clean!” Two days later I barely notice the usual failure to realize the dream. I don’t want to blame others but it would help to have someone backing me up. Asking repeatedly for the kids to help clean their messes, or for the husband to help motivate the kids…. it feels like another chore just trying to rally the troops. Take the TV away and they don’t care. Take away the iPad and they don’t care. I once I began the practice of putting every thing I had to pick up into a box and into the storage shed. No one cared. I am at a loss as to how to remedy this problem. I want a clean home and I don’t want to have to act like a screaming mad woman to get it. I also don’t want to chase the same mess in constant circles to get it. It’s a terrible feeling to spend 2-3 hours getting it all clean just to turn around 10 minutes later to see the living room so messy the sight of the floor is a faraway dream.

I think if I can feel put together maybe I will actually put it all back together. Currently if I get a shower more than once every week and a half I feel like I have accomplished something. How sad is it when your New Years resolution is to go no more than one day with out a shower? I look at myself and see unbrushed hair and sometimes unbrushed teeth. A face that needs a washing, eyebrows that look like something from bad artwork. Oh, and the weight. Sigh…..I was thinking today that maybe I could start by spending a required 10 minute minimum on my appearance. Aside from a daily shower of course. So today I did it. I spent a little over 10 minutes actually brushing my hair and even trying to do something other than slapping my bangs into a clip and my hair into a rather ghastly looking braid. A little lipstick and I even tried putting some eye brows on. I have lost 35 pounds so far in my weight loss efforts so that feels wonderful. Being obese was never something I expected to have to remedy. But here we are. While I am no longer obese I still have a little left to lose. Looking better has got to lead to feeling better.Feeling better has got to lead to functioning better. I hope.

I need to get closer to God. I feel that while I believe and have faith that I neglect establishing that relationship. Perhaps this was the first stepping stone on my road to disaster. I have made an effort to devote time morning and night to prayer and a daily devotional. For a person who has more Bibles than an old church on the hill, daily devotional books and publications out the wazoo both hard copy and in email you would think I spent more time with the Lord.  So I have kept this up for 5 days so far. I also make sure to put prayer time into the middle of my day. Just for expressing thanks. I am grateful and thankful beyond measure because I have done without in life and I know how that feels. I know that any day can bring any thing and you never know what will be gone in the blink of an eye. I don’t know if there is enough gratitude in the world for the abundant flow of blessings. Not just for food, but for the clean kitchen to prepare it in and a working stove and electricity and the money to pay that bill.  I could carry on here but you get my sentiment I’m sure. So time with God. I have been right on top of that. My conversations with our Heavenly Father have awarded me some serious reality checks. And sincere requests for forgiveness.

Looking inward to change myself should have always been my first step. I have allowed myself to become snappish, rude, bossy and generally unpleasant. I am not the kind of person I would want to live with. Like…. EVER. If anyone treated me the way I treat others I would have some serious words for that person. So on the road to improvement I have to start inside. My disposition is rivaled only by my horrid appearance. Perhaps all the nasty has leaked out and taken over the outside. I can make a dozen excuses for my persistent foul mood but in the end I cannot truly blame others for what I choose to do no matter the reason. How do I maintain a bearable personality in the face of what I feel drives me over the edge on a daily basis?  This will be my challenge. In my conversations with God I spill my guts on all of these things and ask for guidance. I have to keep other people’s feeling in the forefront while making it understood that I also deserve to be respected. This is where I struggle because this is where there seems to be a, “I can walk all over you and you have to smile and like it!” Type of attitude. I really have a hard time controlling my anger whet attitude is going around.

Every aspect of my life looks like someone picked it up and shook it.  I hope to somehow put all these little pieces back in and regain order and some sense of having my ducks in a row. I know things will never be perfect. I don’t expect them to be. But they certainly can be better.



Living with hyperacusis.

I don’t tend to think of my self as “suffering” with anything. But I do live with hyperacusis. In a nutshell, sound hurts me. Little sounds hurt me. Big sounds hurt me. Common sounds you would not normally give any thought to hurt me.

How did I end up with hyperacusis? It is a result of Bell’s palsy. Several years ago I noticed my tongue was numb. It felt as it would after having taken a drink of too hot coffee or eaten too hot food. I didn’t think anything of it the first day which was a Monday. Tuesday I was a little surprised the feeling lingered, by Wednesday I was raising an eyebrow. I had a physical already scheduled for the upcoming Monday so I decided to mention it to the Dr. if the numb feeling remained. I also noticed a pain in my right ear and in my jaw near my ear now and then. I was thinking a bad tooth or ear infection was trying to settle in. By Thursday I had a horrid pain in my neck. I dismissed this pain. I had previously had a rotated vertebrae in my neck and I assumed it was out of whack again. I put a bag of frozen peas on it and asked my husband for a neck massage. He then gave me a timed ….. ONE MINUTE…. “massage”. Sigh…. Thanks a lot. I guess it was better than nothing.

The next day was when it all settled in. I noticed my face was twitching like crazy. I had never seen or experienced such twitching which could only be compared to what one’s face may do just before some alien life burst forth from said face. I was convinced aliens were using my face to hatch their young. Thankfully this was not the case. Though maybe I would have preferred it. By that evening I had googled all of these symptoms and discovered Bell’s Palsy. I was relieved yet afraid. I could look in the mirror and see my face slowly fizzling out as I tried smiling, raising my eye brows and puckering. Only the left half was working. It was a very strange feeling to have only half of my face functioning. The next 6 months were going to try me. A LOT. The Dr. gave me an anti-viral and also prednisone. I was unable to take the prednisone for the course because it had a terrible effect on me. The neurologist said they only prescribe it because it’s “the thing to do” not because they have any real proof that it actually helps. I found that disturbing.

Over the next 6 months I was unable to close my right eye unless I did so manually. This had me wearing swim goggles in the shower, avoiding the wind, poking myself in the eye pretty much constantly, unable to put on lip stick, eye liner, blow my nose on the right side, or close my right eye to sleep. I slept with my face in the pillow to hold the eye lid shut. I had to constantly apply eye drops to keep my eye from drying up and withering away. My hearing in the right side was affected also. There was zero acoustic reflex on that side.

Once the palsy slowly healed I was left with some residual effects. The biggest one being my permanent hearing problem. Because the left side became sympathetic to the right I now have hyperacusis in both ears. No one understands what this hearing disorder does to the one who has it. Ear plugs hurt as they tend to press on the nerve on the right side in my ear canal, and I can’t wear them while eating so I avoid restaurants. The list of sounds that have become intolerable include:

doors closing

speaking voices

certain music at any volume

the sound of the keys on a key board

my own voice

toilets flushing

dogs barking

children talking

the sound of plastic bags

crunchy food when I eat

music in the grocery store

the beep as groceries are scanned at the check out

Just to name a few. Some of these sounds bring on odd and unpleasant sensations. Such as a “whoosh” like feeling in my ears, a sound/feeling of water rolling through my head, the feeling that my brain is vibrating or that a string is being pulled through my brain, a feeling that I can only describe as the fluttering of my ear drum, or just a plain old piercing feeling as if  knives were being stabbed into my ears. My face still looks a tad droopy on that side though people say they don’t notice.

I find myself feeling depressed at times. Depending on what caused the hyperacusis in the first place there are possible therapies that can help. But there is no cure or treatment for the type of hyperacusis I have.  I have days where it is much worse than others. I also find myself wondering how many other people out there have this disorder too. I am always surprised at doctors who have never heard of this.

I don’t complain as much as I did in the beginning. I feel like a whiner and a burden to others. I don’t feel comfortable always asking others to lower their voices, or to stop making “that” noise etc…. I just try to cope in anyway I can. I find myself seeking solitude more and more. It’s good to vent. This forum allows me to do that with out feeling so bad about going on about it. Maybe someone else who has hyperacusis will see this and feel better knowing someone else out there knows what they are living with.