February 27th, 2011 was a Sunday…
- 4 months since THE panic attack
- 3.5 months on Xanax
- 2 months since I had stopped working
- 1 and 1/2 months since I started Pexeva at the right dose.
Tomorrow I go back to work and not much has changed with my condition. Xanax lasts 8 hours now, because it is the extended release one. I take it before bed and wake up in a panic as soon as it wears off. I get up, my legs feel weak and my hands are trembling. I take the morning Xanax and Pexeva and lie back down. In about 20 minutes, I am able to get back up and breathe regularly. My hands are not trembling as much and my heart is not beating as fast. I do a full body scan in my mind and reassure myself that the Xanax has kicked in and I can do life today.
My husband is off today and tomorrow, so I don’t have to worry about the kids too much. He will take my son to school and I’ll stay home with the baby until he gets back. When he gets back, I will get ready for work. I can’t seem to get ready for work, while I take care of the baby. I need to focus on one thing at a time and the baby wins!
It feels strange getting dressed for work. I am afraid of how it will be today. Will I be able to tolerate being there? Will everyone look at me like I’m crazy? Will they think I am weak for going on disability? I can hear it now, “seriously? disability because of a little stress?” or “who doesn’t have anxiety” and my favorite, “I wish I could take a month off to relax!” What they don’t know, is that I would rather work a thousand years without an anxiety disorder, than stay home one minute, with it.
I make it to work, park and start the walk of shame. That is what it felt like. From the parking lot to my office is like a million miles. I have to walk down a very long hallway to get to the elevator, take 3 floors up and then walk back down another long hallway. In my mind, everyone knows that I had a panic attack and everyone knows I was on disability. I am sure that is the only thing everyone has been talking about for the last two months. Well, I was wrong. As it turns out, the world does not revolve around me.
While I was obsessing about my situation, the rest of the world was going on about their own lives! What I envisioned my first day back to be, was a complete fallacy. People said good morning, like they did every day I was there. A couple of people asked if I was on vacation because they hadn’t seen me in a while. I smiled and said “I was out for a few days”. By the time I made it to my office, I had spoken to several people who were completely oblivious to any of the events in my life. It’s amazing how insignificant we are. It’s amazing how life just goes on, no matter what you personally are dealing with.
It was a different story with my team members. They knew what happened. They saw me on the floor, while paramedics examined me. They felt my absence, if for no other reason, because they didn’t have my support at work. Slowly, one by one, they came to welcome me back. Some people I hugged, some people I just joked around with, but mostly it was just another day at work. In no time at all, that same day, everyone was asking me work-related questions, requesting information and setting up meetings. For everyone, it was just another day. For everyone, everything was the same. That was not the case for me.
For me, it was a day on the verge of another panic attack. It was a day where I questioned and analyzed everything I did, to make sure I did not have a panic attack at work. I avoided meetings that were no big deal in the past and answered questions over email to avoid actual conversations with anyone. At lunch, I hid in my car.
To everyone, it was as if I never missed a day and was the same person I was when they last saw me. I wasn’t. On the outside it was the same “me”, but on the inside, I was broken.
Continue with my story here: