The monster returns. Last night I did an extra half shift in the Emergency Department to pick up some extra hours, and I had anxiety at work like a nuclear bomb. It was horrible. The shift started at 7pm and went till 1am.
The day at home was uneventful. Boring. I took the dog to the park, did a few errands, watched some TV. Started getting antsy, but no real trigger feelings going on. I was well rested, not hungry, not pms, not sick…
When I got to work I went to my locker to change, and started talking to one of my work friends. She went on and on about what she did the weekend before. I felt a zing of anxiety and heat up my back. I started walking down the hall to the ER, hoping she would go away. She kept walking right along side me. She kept going on and on and on and on.
With anxiety rising, I opened the door to the nursing unit and walked in. Chatter box never missed a step. she kept going on and on and on and on and on… Everyone at the nursing station looks up at us.
Then it happened. Full on, gut wrenching, 10 out of 10 full on emergency PANIC attack…and then another one, and then another one. It felt never ending.
Holy shit, holy shit. I have to leave. I cannot work. I have to leave now.
Friend: talk talk talk talking talking chatter chatter….
I’m going to die. I am having a f#cking heart attack right here. I’m going to cardiac arrest if I don’t get out of here. I cannot stay here. Oh F#CK!!
Friend: “Ok Jill, see you later!” (leaves)
Panic Attack Aftermath…
I’m standing there feeling 100% vulnerable and sensitized. I am out of my mind with panic and anxiety and now I have to work and think?
I feel like my mind is going to break.
I had cold sweat going down my back. My face felt flushed. I didn’t know what to do. To make matters worse there were hardly any patients there. Which means everyone was just sitting around doing small talk at the nurses station.
I cant breathe, I can’t swallow, I can’t think. I’m going to fall over, I cant walk. I want to die. I hate this…
If someone asks me a question I will die. I won’t be able to answer. I will not be able to form words or speak. Please please don’t anyone talk to me…
Someone is showing pictures of her daughter’s fender bender on her iPhone. I pretend to look and I hear myself say, “Oh my gosh, that’s so scary” but I am a million miles away.
Voice of Reason: You poor thing! You need to stay, it really will go away. Give yourself a chance.
Jill: I cannot stay here even one second longer. I have never ever felt this bad in my life. Never. I am going to the loony bin for sure. This is the worst I have ever felt in my life. It hasn’t ever been this bad.
Voice of Reason: Well it certainly feels that way. You really haven’t had a doozy like this one in quite awhile.
Jill: What does that say about me? I’m supposed to be GETTING BETTER! This sucks so bad. Why the fuck did this happen? God I hate this!! I really really really thought I was getting better!!!!!!!
Voice of Reason: You are getting better. This is just a setback. I promise, you will be ok.
I’m happy to say that I finished my shift, but man was I spent. The first 50 minutes were almost unbearable, and it stayed weird for the first 2 hours. I had to pull out every tool in my toolbox not to lose it on the spot. I had to reign in my thinking after it exploded all over the place and bring myself back down to earth.
I felt like I was noticeably shaking when I took care of the first few patients. No one said anything, but man, it really was awful. There is no way to sugarcoat this experience. I really haven’t felt this bad in a long ass time.
Once I started feeling better I really wanted to cry. What a cruel thing anxiety is. It really wreaks havoc.
This morning I still feel strange that I had such a massive panic attack. But I know I will be ok. I’m not in a great mood, but this is no time to get on the pity pot.
I was almost not going to even share this with you. I felt sort of embarrassed because I have been on such a positive roll lately. But I had to share it. I can’t lie about this.
I re-read this post to remind me what I need to do going forward: Braving Anxiety at Work.
And I re-read this post to give me the motivation I need: Self Motivation for Anxiety Recovery.
I am going to take the bull by the horns and be fully mentally prepared the next time I have to work.
Ok that’s it for today. God bless everyone who has to deal with anxiety at work. I am feeling so compassionate for myself, and for how I’ve had to suffer with this in the past. No wonder I was jacked up on meds. I would traded places with my numb old self last night during those 2 hours in a heartbeat. (well not really, but…)
But thank God it passed. Thank God I am recovering. Still in the trenches with you and praying for yours and my well being.
I wish you peace,