My heart is pounding so fast and so loud I am sure everyone around me can hear it. I can't breathe, it feels as though an elephant is sitting on my chest. My body is convulsing uncontrollably and I feel freezing cold. Suddenly a flushing feeling sweeps over my body causing my hands and feet to go cold. This is it, I am going to die!
I run to my car, without any shoes on, grabbing nothing but my cell phone. Get to the hospital NOW is all I can think about. Get there as fast as I can so I don't die here all alone in my house. I drive through the neighborhood at top speed, honking obnoxiously at every car I approach. I scream at every red light to turn green as I gasp for air. My feet can barely hold off the tremors to push down on the accelerator. Just 5 miles, and then I will be saved. Sobs of fear overpower the radio I turned on in hopes of distracting me.I plead with God to get me there before this "heart attack" kills me. I arrive to the E.R alive but in absolute emotional shambles. The idea that if "something" were to happen I am surrounded by all the people and technology I would ever need to save me provides me comfort and a sense of safety. I sit there trembling, sobbing, and rocking back and forth terrified for hours.
This replays at any given moment day after day-night after night-month after month. I did this "routine" for a year and a half. Now, I still shake uncontrollably; my heart still races for no apparent reason, and I still feel disconnected from my body. Only now...I experience it while remaining on my couch or at my desk at work. A huge step my doctors say...being able to stay in one place and accept it. Accept it? What is that?!
Doctors, Therapists, Neurologist, Cardiologist have all ruled out major causes and have told me I am healthier than the majority of their clientele. If that is the case then what the hell is happening?! PTSD...Post traumatic stress disorder. I had never heard the term used for anyone other than a soldier returning from war. In a sense I guess that is what I was. A soldier returning from my own personal battle.
Apparently our bodies have a memory of their own, separate from what we consciously recognize on a daily basis. It is this memory that is triggered when something similar to the trauma occurs. This triggers all kinds of technical responses in our bodies to react in chaos. great, now that I have Dorland's Dictionary entry and acknowledged that I am NOT going to die, how do I get them to stop!
These PTSD attacks have completely taken over my life. I have dropped from 145lbs to a frail 103lbs. I have stopped going out in public in fear of having one in a public place and drawing attention to myself or worse, being trapped and not being able to get somewhere safe. I have created a bubble of safety in my neighborhood, fearing if I go outside of that 5 mile radius I would be too far to get to a hospital in time. I have cut out my friends and family because I am so tired of them saying "just do it, who cares if it makes you scared." I'm tired of having to explain over and over again...I can't just stop it. It is not that simple. I am too frightened to do anything other than hide.