I live a lot of lives, but there are two in which I walk a very defined line.
Last October, I caught a virus that spiraled into a viral pneumonia, that spiraled into a “super bug,” that spiraled my anxiety out of control. I was in the hospital for roughly two weeks. There was one point where I came home, but still could barely breathe. I went back to the hospital a day later. One of my employees told me recently that he thought I might die. I never told any of them, but the thought crossed my mind too.
There are stories upon stories, layers upon layers of how complex this story is, and how complex it still is when I get sick—and there’s a time and place for those.
This one is about aftermath.
Most people know me as the easy-going, generally happy, funny lady who takes things head-on. That is me, most of the time.
There’s a switch in me that flips sometimes, though, and it feels like the world might end, despite all of my rationale.
It’s been a journey, like many chapters in this story.
I haven’t had a full-blown panic attack in nearly a year. I’ve worked through a lot, managed my anxiety to the point where I don’t need medication, and I can handle most things thrown at me.
But there’s a flip that switches, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Sometimes your world will get turned upside down, sometimes things will happen that are entirely out of control, and it doesn’t help to act like that won’t change you. It doesn’t help to act like anxiety and depression are words we’ve made up, when no one would choose these experiences.
So, some days I can’t breathe. Some days I wouldn’t get out of bed if it weren’t for the fact that people physically lift me out. Some nights my sweats aren’t because I keep my apartments’ thermostat at a billion degrees. I don’t know how much of it is genetics. I don’t know how much is experience. I don’t know how much of it is PTSD. Sometimes there’s a cloud over me that all of my strength can’t get rid of, and an anxious heart that can’t be settled.
But it never lasts forever, even if it feels that way.
The flip switches back. The sun comes out. The breathing gets a little easier. The air, a little sweeter.
It’s hard to see the end when you’re stuck in the middle, and it’s excruciating to deal with it alone. We are a resilient bunch, but we are much stronger by numbers.
It’s not easy, I just think it’s worth talking about. I don’t want to run from any tunnels anymore.
I don’t want to fear half of my dichotomy.