The first few days on my meds were a hazy soup of various side effects, namely the insomnia, dry mouth, inability to concentrate, and the dizziness. On day 5 I remember finding it hard to tell whether the anxiety I was feeling every morning on my drive to work was typical, or if it was the medication making me feel the strange mix of shaky paranoia. Either way, the day progressed considerably well until noon when I felt my mood and energy take a sudden dive. I felt my eyes glaze over and my thoughts slow down. I tried to pull through and concentrate on work. Every small task took an incredibly long time to complete, because I kept forgetting what I was doing. It was all murky and cloudy exhaustion. I fought off the strong desire to take a nap at my desk, and kept urging myself to open just one more email.
As my mind started to drift I wondered if I was finally about to snap. Am I crazy? Is this all in my head? When will my husband give up on me? What would I do if I was brave enough to die? What happens when I stop being brave enough to live? I should leave him before he decides to leave me. Does everyone see the crazy inside? Why am I drowning like this when everyone around me seems so okay? Am I going to make it? Why am I so trapped? How did I get here and will it ever get better?
That night I crawled into bed, but as usual my eyes snapped open at 2am with me feeling nauseous and wide awake. I don’t know when I fell back to sleep. When I got to work I felt anxious and overwhelmed at the thought of having to engage in conversation with clients. Meetings felt clumsy and awkward, and one particular meeting had me feeling so overwhelmed that by the time it was over I found myself in the midst of yet another panic attack. I remember thinking to myself that they were coming on more often. I made the decision to try and ignore it, and walk through a very public space to get some lunch. My chest was so tight it was hard to breathe, and the small breaths I was able to take were shaky and choppy. Alongside the adrenaline and light-headedness, anger was heating my face. I wanted to throw and kick something – anything! Why does this keep happening? Is it getting worse? Is it all in my head? How come I’m not improving? What’s wrong with me? I’m not whole, I’m broken. I’m losing my mind. Am I going to lose everyone I love? I’m crazy, I’m failing. I’m weak. Should I tell someone I’m feeling like this right now? Who would want to hear me whining about another panic attack? I hate myself. Why can’t I just be normal again already? Give me back my body and mind.
This was minutes before it all came crashing down.