My body decided to take me on a wild ride last night. It went all haywire! Big time! Panic attacks, incredible anxiety, tremendous pain, headache and trauma release shaking. I was very unhappy about what was happening to me. I was completely out of energy and just wanted to go sleep. But this body of mine had other ideas.
It started when I got up off the couch to check on the boys who were playing outside after dinner. I wanted to spend a little more time with them before bedtime because today was the first day of school. First, we went and petted my horse. I started crying. I miss riding so much! I miss the connection and freedom I felt with my horses. I just felt sad and angry because all that was taken from me with out my permission.
The boys asked to go on a short walk down to the pecan tree. I hadn’t been on any walks with them since May because of my pain and my back surgery. I agreed, reiterating this would be a SHORT walk. As I started walking, nausea gripped my upper abdomen. I looked down and saw my bloated belly sticking out farther than it had when I was 20 weeks pregnant. I began to rub my belly hoping to work some gas out.
I walked a little way more and a sudden headache and fatigue fell over my body. I bent over, holding on to the fence and took deep breaths. I mentally tried to calm the headache and quell the fatigue. I still had to walk back to the house. I couldn’t just slump to the ground here. It was almost dark.
My boys walked over to me. “What’s wrong, Mom?,” my oldest asked. He is so kind and has learned so much empathy because of my condition/s.
“Babies, we have to head back up to the house,” I told them as I looked up from my hunched over position. “I’m not feeling good. We need to go in and get baths.”
I expected the normal protests when I say we have to go inside. But, surprisingly, they both quietly agreed to go in.
I stood up and powered through the splitting headache that ran from my upper jaw and sinuses to the middle top of my head. The fatigue tried to overcome me, but I knew I had no other choice. My boys couldn’t carry me up to the house.
In the house, I turned the hot water on and had the boys climb in the shower with me. I lifted my throbbing face and head under the spraying water, hoping and begging it would wash the pain away, to no avail. The boys seemed to understand how weak and in pain I happened to be and washed quickly without fighting with each other. (That never happens.)
I dried off as swiftly as I could muster knowing a crash was on its way. I dragged myself across my bedroom and fell on my bed naked. The pain in my head enveloped me. I couldn’t get away from it. I rubbed my sinuses trying to work any fluid down toward my nose. I pressed my temples hoping to turn off the agony. I tried to breathe deeply as I mentally worked the pain out of my body. I could barely take a deep breath because I had no energy. The fatigue laid on me like a thick blanket, holding me down. I knew once again, I had to push through this. I had to finish putting my clean sheets back on my bed, put things out for school in the morning and put the kids in bed. I still had 30-45 minutes of work before I could fall in to my bed.
Finally, I laid my exhausted, throbbing body in to bed. I just wanted to fall right to sleep. I needed sleep. I needed a lot of it. As soon as I got all my pillows situated around me, my hands and arms started shaking.
I knew what this was. It had happened before. I hated when my body decided to do this. It was unpredictable, uncomfortable and uncontrollable. This was trauma coming out of my body. Anxiety shot instantly in to my tired body. I started to panic. The loop started in my mind: How long will this session last? Why can’t I just go to sleep right now? I need sleep right now. I don’t want to deal with this. I hate this. Why now? Body, why are you doing this to me?
On and on the loop played as my anxiety crept higher. I tried to calm my hands and arms, but the twitching just wanted to come out. It felt like ants crawling all over my arms. I wanted to get them off me as fast as I could. But shaking harder didn’t help the feeling. My face scrunched up as my arms flapped. Panic was beginning to over come me. I shot out of bed and headed straight for my panic attack medicine my doctor had prescribed. I cut the pill in half, hoping the smaller amount would be enough.
My body was performing Trauma Release. Trauma Release is the body’s natural way to get rid of emotional or physical trauma. The shaking is a Neurogenic Tremor or involuntary shaking of the muscles which helps release deep held stress and tension. It allows the nervous system to calm down so our bodies and minds can heal. Trauma Release can be started through certain exercises or can come on naturally like mine did. To be honest, I do not like Trauma Release. I know I need it because of all the surgeries and physical and emotional issues from childhood. But it is not fun.
“It’s not supposed to be fun,” my physical therapist told me when I related a really crazy trauma release incident last winter. “You have to let it all go because the trauma needs to come out of your body so you can heal and move on. You have power over it. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.”
I settled myself back in bed praying the medicine would work fast and my head would stop throbbing. The shaking started right back up. I grabbed my pillow and headed to the couch, hoping to send a message to my body that I wasn’t really going to sleep, just resting. I do this to trick my mind sometimes when I can’t sleep. The trick didn’t work. I tried again and again to quell the shaking. I didn’t want to deal with trauma release right then. I wanted to sleep!!
I tried to give in to the shaking. When I give in to the trauma release, it feels like demons are coming out of my body. I writhe on the floor, groan, grimace, shriek and hope it will all come out quickly. Emotions of fear, anger, concern and worry pour out of me. While this is happening, I want it to end quickly. Just get out of my body. I hate it. I hate losing control. I hate feeling like the fires of hell are coming out of me.
I feel drained when it’s all over, but this time it wouldn’t stop. My head was still splitting. I took the other half of my anxiety medicine. I listened to some of my favorite hymns both to calm me and to try to distract my mind from the shaking. I walked hurriedly around the living room in a circle trying to rid myself of the deep anxiety that sank over me like fog. Nothing helped.
I decided to get a glass of wine and watch a show hoping that would relax and distract me. I dozed off at the end of the show. I was so grateful. But as soon as I awoke the cycle started all over. It was 11:30 PM. This had been going on for two hours. I decided to pour another glass of wine and listen to my audio book as I lay on the couch. I hoped the book would distract my mind so the tremors wouldn’t start again as I tried to relax to fall asleep. It was 12:30 AM – three hours of trauma release.
I tried to use my mind to make the shaking stop like my PT had said, but I had no control over it. None. I tried all sorts of mind games to stop it.
I woke up two hours later with my book still playing in my earbuds. Finally, I had a bit of sleep. My headache was better. My cat, Sailor, was sleeping on top of me, thankful that I had finally stopped moving so he could snuggle in to sleep.
I repositioned and went back to sleep slowly. I was thankful it was over.
I awoke this morning feeling like the sun was in my belly burning through with anxiety. I was a ball of nerves. It was the first day of school for my first born. The one we had struggled for years to have. The one who almost died at birth. He was going to be gone 6 ½ hours today. I was so worried about him. So afraid someone would bully him, be mean to him or a teacher would say rude things to him. One worry after another flowed through my head as I got both of us ready to head to school.
I did my morning devotion hoping to get a grasp of my crazy anxiety. Nothing seemed to stop this overpowering feeling of loss. I felt like I was losing my son. This was the start. I wouldn’t have him with me all day or most of the day. I was handing him off to someone else. Someone who didn’t love him as much as I loved him. I was a wreck. I began to cry as I drove to the school.
“Why are you crying, Mama?,” he asked.
How could I explain this to him? That him going to school was killing me? “I just love you so much,” I said through tears. “You are so special and so important to me. I just love you.”
Of course, he didn’t understand. I walked him to the door, trying to hide my tear-streaked red face from the other moms at drop off. I got down on my knees and gave him a long, tight hug.
“I love you, Baby,” I told him. “You are going to have a great day. I’m so happy that you are starting school this year. We worked so hard to get you in to this school. You will have a wonderful time. I love you! I’ll pick you up later.”
He hugged me back which comforted my breaking heart. I opened the door and handed him off. He looked back at me with slight concern on his face. I smiled really big and nodded at him. He smiled back and walked to his classroom. I watched through the glass door until he was out of sight. Then, I pushed down heavy sobs until I got to the car. This was rough. Why hadn’t anyone told me how hard this stage was going to be?