Last night while I was laying in bed I could have written my own obituary- “Here lies Jill, she died in her sleep from choking on her own spit while her family watched TV in the other room.”
I don’t know where it came from, but I haven’t had this weird choking feeling in years. The technical term for it is globus hystericus. This is a real fancy way to say I felt hysterical because I had a glob of spit in the back of my throat and I was afraid I was going to choke to death…Literally.
I like to read in bed before I turn the lights out and last night was my weekly Sunday night treat- where I lay in bed and read the Sunday paper. I start with the funnies and usually don’t make it too far before I am lulled into sleep.
Last night it was hard to get comfortable and my mind was racing a little. First, my hubby and I had gone for a hike the day before and I ended up with 2 ticks on my. It freaked me out and I could not stop itching and checking for more ticks every few minutes. It was so disgusting.
Coupled with that was a little anxiety about work- thinking I’d better hurry and up and get to sleep or I will be toast at work tomorrow. And even worse the next day.. So hurry up and get tired…!
I am also pms’ing and this is a notoriously high anxiety time of the month for me.
So throw all these factors into the mix, couple that with the fact that I could not get comfortable- the pillows felt like mush behind my neck. I just knew tonight sleep would not come easily for me. – and I was so exhausted earlier too.. Damn it I was irritable!
Next thing I know I felt some saliva trickle down the back of my throat and it sent me into a coughing spell. After a few rounds of coughing I was hot and sweating, and I still felt the lump in my throat.
I could not get my throat to clear. It felt like I couldn’t cough effectively- but I felt like if I coughed too hard, my throat would close up completely.
And then it hit me- I am choking to death.
I am going to die and I can hear my family a few rooms away laughing at some tv program. I am going to die if I cough deeply enough because my throat is closing up.
Now my heart is racing and I am about 80% into a full blown panic attack. I can hear my pulse in my head and my ears are ringing and my chest is tight and what the crap is going on here????
Globus Hystericus Relief- What I Did to Calm Down
Somewhere in the midst of all the racing thoughts was a the little voice of reason. I heard it, but it took a few minutes before I could tune in. I was too preoccupied with my breathing and choking and gasping for air and impending death.
Voice of Reason: Jill, this is just anxiety.
Scared Jill: Well maybe but I really think I’m choking to death.
Voice of Reason: We’ve done this before. Trust me it’s anxiety.
Scared Jill: Yeah but I can’t cough effectively and my throat is closing up.
Voice of Reason: Face, Accept, Float, and Let Time Pass.
Scared Jill: But what if I die? Shouldn’t I run and get Bob?
Voice of Reason: You won’t die, just do it.
Scared Jill: I have been doing so good with my anxiety. This can’t be it. It must be something else. A virus or something.
Voice of Reason: Believe me I know what I’m talking about. Ignore the feeling.
Scared Jill: But I’m dying!!!!
Voice of Reason: Just try it for 10 seconds.
Scared Jill: What should I do?
Voice of Reason: Read the funnies.
Scared Jill: But they suck, they aren’t even funny.
Voice of Reason: Read them anyways.
Scared Jill: God I hate the Family Circus- that family is so *perfect*. Four happy kids, the guy loves his wife, they have no money problems, and the wife doesn’t even have to work outside the house. They went on like 3 vacations this summer. And why is their dog named “Barfy”? It reminds me of Barf. I just hate that cartoon. And it isn’t even funny. Why do I read it every week?
Voice of Reason: See you’re not dead.
Scared Jill: Oh my God, you’re right. But I still feel like crap. I still need to cough and I can’t.
Voice of Reason: Just keep reading the funnies. It will pass.
Scared Jill: Ok.
Scared Jill: Um, thank you.
Voice of Reason: No problem.
Globus Hystericus Relief- the Aftermath
So I’m happy to report that I didn’t die. After maybe 10 minutes of floating through all the scary feelings and thoughts that I was dying on the spot, I was able to calm down. As soon as the anxiety went away, so did the lump in my throat feeling.
This just confirms to me that it was just stupid anxiety giving me an adrenalin rush- again. In this instance it decided to settle in my throat and try to do me in for good.
But with the help of my Voice of Reason and a little in depth look at the Family Circus I was able to make it out alive.
I actually ended up having a fairly good night’s sleep after that. Onward and upwards…
I wish you peace,
ps.- do you suffer from globus hysericus? What brings you relief?