Sometimes, I feel like I have Tourette’s Syndrome. I talked about my last dentist visit and how badly I was shaking after the visit. The same thing happened Monday after work when I went to the hospital. If you’ve read my blog lately, you know how stressed I’ve been and how bad my anxiety has hit me. I have to first explain what happened before I can get to the point of this post.
On Monday, I went back to work and ended up with an issue I hadn’t experienced in several years. I had been menstruating for 12 days. While at work, I bled through my tampon within 30 minutes. I changed into my workout clothes, and not long after that, I bled through those clothes too. By the time I got home, it got so bad, that I had to go to the hospital. In the end, two Aleve stopped my period and I was no longer bleeding uncontrollably. Who knew Aleve was a magical pill?
I wasn’t feeling all that sick anymore, and the major anxiety had passed. However, going to the hospital and dealing with needles generates a level of anxiety that I cannot circumvent. Going into triage, they were only taking vitals and asking questions. Still, my anxiety tics started up. I started to shake like I was cold, even though I wasn’t cold. My teeth chattered like I was cold… but I wasn’t. At first, it wasn’t constant at that point, more like a cold chill that runs up your back… except it wasn’t cold, it was just a tremor. I even stuttered a bit. The triage lady asked if I was cold and I said no.
When I was in the back room waiting for the nurse or doctor, my husband asked if I was cold, and I said I wasn’t. Even the nurse thought I was cold, and even though I said I wasn’t, she gave me a warm blanket anyway. When she took my blood, I tried to be as calm as I could be, but I can’t stop the anxiety inside me. My teeth chattered like I was standing in the snow. When she was done taking my blood, I would shake and jerk, almost like a convulsion. The shaking is pretty intense and it takes a while for the shaking to wear off. At the end of it, I’m pretty exhausted and often times sore the next morning.
Someone who doesn’t know what it’s like, might not think I handled it well. However, I think I handled it very well. My mind was sound. I was not in a panic. I knew that blood work had to be done and I didn’t fight it. I tried to be as still as possible, but the shaking was very much involuntary. I whimpered and teared in a release of anxiety, but my thoughts were not broken. Someone who has never experienced such a thing, probably won’t understand the difference. Anxiety is emotional, yes, but it’s not always synonymous with irrational thinking. My thoughts were rational, but the feelings and involuntary physical reactions were not so stable. I had to let it happen and ride it out. I needed to not fight it.
Once upon a time, I used to try to suppress the reaction and the feelings. This always made it a thousand times worse. I would feel so sick, that it was like having the worst sea sickness and not being able to get off the boat. The edges of my vision turn black, as if to pass out, but unconsciousness was never in reach. I would feel consumed by this feeling and I wanted it to stop so badly. When I learned to stop fighting it, that overwhelming nausea and dark vision subsided, making the rest of the affects much easier to deal with.
People always try to convince me that I’m okay, but that doesn’t help because I know I’m okay… or I know I’m not and then it’s just annoying. People want me to think about something else, but the more you try to not think about something, the more you think about it. All these things that people do or say to try to help, make it worse. My husband pulled my face away, forcing me to look away, and I scowled at him “Stop it. That doesn’t help.” I ended up telling him to stop saying those “helpful” things… “just talk Marvel to me”. It’s not his fault, he just wants to help, and with some guidance he did just fine.
What I want, is someone to hold my hand through the ordeal. In fact, I was more at ease when my husband and the nurse were talking to each other. It’s better if the spotlight isn’t glaring on me and I’m not stressing about “doing better”. Instead of trying to participate in a conversation that I can’t focus on and having people insist that I reply, I can just focus on their conversation and not have to say anything. When my husband and the nurse were chatting it up, I was able to focus on relaxing the arm she was trying to draw blood from. I wasn’t worrying about not tearing up, or not chattering my teeth. I didn’t worry about anything and let the feelings wash over me and then out. I let my body shake and convulse until it ran it’s course. When I got home, I was exhausted and I was sore. Shaking like that, hurts after a while.
Now just imagine someone with Tourette’s, who has to deal with that all the time. I can’t even…