My First Real Panic Attack at Age 61

panic stress (2)

I needed to read Jana Greene’s post about grace and weakness.

I don’t like to feel weak. I’ve spent all these years trying to be strong and building my skills. So, why, at age 61, with all my training and experience, did i have my first real live panic attack?

I’ve heard plenty of people talk about panic attacks and how bad they can be. I’ve secretly wondered, Do people really need to go to the emergency room? Does it really feel like a heart attack? Are you really being attacked? Can’t we call it something else, something less invasive? Can’t you just take some deep breaths and calm down?

Now I know. Now, I’m humbled.

If it hadn’t been for my years of meditation and breathing practice and my supportive, former EMT husband watching me closely, I might have gone to the emergency room. My chest hurt worse than ever before, and it was hard to breathe. Years ago, I’d gone to the urgent care place with chest pain shortly after my first husband left. It turned out to be stress and acid reflux, but I don’t remember that being as intense as the pain I felt during my first real panic attack couple months ago.

Chest pain is nothing to guess about. When in doubt, get medical attention.

The first good news is, that I know what triggered it. I felt challenged, then I felt cornered and I was hungry.  Since I’m hypoglycemic, I can get shaky and irritable when I’m hungry. It’s best not to challenge me when I’m hungry. Fortunately, I can take steps to minimize exposure to these triggers. I can maintain my boundaries and use the “broken record technique” by simply repeating, “this is not a good time to talk about this.” If I’m able, I’ll offer an alternative time, but simply repeating my boundary is enough.

I’ve been trying not to feel embarrassed about feeling weak, and leaning more toward feeling humbled and gifted – the other good news – explained in Jana’s post . I’m reminded that I’m never going to have it all together, because I’m human. Some weakness will always pop up to humble me and lead me to God’s grace.

 

Things to Quit/Things to Start for a Happier Life

Quit these five things right now

Using the “power of positivity,” we can re-state each of these positively:

  1. Please yourself sometimes, please others sometimes, but don’t try to please everybody. When you’re not sure ask yourself, what will please God? or just take a shower and read a book.
  2. Change is inevitable.  We’ve all made it through changes big and small. Accept change. Look forward to change. Embrace change for the possibilities it offers.
  3. Learn from the past, plan for the future, and live in today.
  4. Talk nice to yourself like a loving parent or supportive friend. Use words of encouragement.
  5. It’s okay to think about things if you’re thoughts are moving in a helpful direction.  But I can spend too much time in the land of scary “what ifs.” When I catch myself doing that, I imagine happier what if’s. Then I focus on the facts in front of me and return to the gifts of the present.

Don’t Forget Your Brain

“Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.”

You can get in a lot of trouble following your heart around without your brain. I lost my brain for a year during the rebound from hell. Thank God, I found it before it was too late. Now, when I lose my brain, it’s only for a few minutes at a time. My heart reminds me to go find it.

One-Liner Wednesday is the brain-child of Linda G. Hill at

https://lindaghill.com/2017/03/08/one-liner-wednesday-lemons/

1linerwedsbadgewes

Rules/Guidelines for One-Liner Wednesday are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!

This is Why I Take Notes

blurred-w-mirror

 

“My memory’s not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory’s not as sharp as it used to be.

1linerwedsbadgewes

(Okay, that’s two lines. But I forgot the first one. Either that, or I’m a rule breaker and not as much of a people pleaser as used to be, so I must be making progress! )

One-Liner Wednesday is the brain-child of Linda Hill. You can read more about it at:

https://lindaghill.com/2017/03/01/one-liner-wednesday-psych/

Here are the rules which I don’t always follow:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!

Help Me Not Watch That Video, God.

“Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; give me life in your ways.” 

 Psalm 119 : 37

You know the videos I’m talking about. The ones about he who I don’t feel like naming today. They throw the bait out with sensational phrases, and 99% of the time, it’s not worth watching. They irritate me like a hungry blood sucking mosquito. Uh oh. I’m going into a SOC rant just thinking about those videos. I’ve got better things to do with my time.

But first, we need a feel good video. If you watch this til the end, another feel good video is likely to follow.

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by Linda G. Hill. For more one-liner’s visit:

https://lindaghill.com/2017/02/22/one-liner-wednesday-rock-is-dead-yippie/

1linerwedsbadgewes

Here are the rules, which I don’t always follow:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!

Letting Go and Trusting Time

go-with-the-flow

It’s been just over a month since I “retired.” That word doesn’t feel accurate – especially since I’m just as busy as I ever was. Graduated might be a better fit. I’ve transitioned to a more creative lifestyle with more freedom and flexibility. But old habits die hard.

My stress level is still higher than I want it to be, higher than my intended lifestyle would require. The technical aspects of self-publishing are challenging, but I’m working through that process one step at a time. My stress level might have more to do with the self-imposed deadline to have my book available by Valentine’s Day. I’ve said that I’m taking my own advice and trusting the timing on the release date, but I still feel like I should be able to at least have it available to pre-order by then. There’s that retched word: should. I should be able to figure out the self-publishing systems and  meet that deadline.

Never mind that my father died less than three weeks ago while I was out of town visiting my grandchildren, and that I am/was his closest family member, that he was the strongest and bravest man I’ve ever known, that his death carries more weight than I might want to feel, and that yesterday I started the long process of going through some of the stuff in his house located an hour away, and it was exhausting.

I should still be able to meet my deadline! says the relentless hero child in my head.

Why do I do that to myself? I should know better. I taught stress management and relaxation skills for at least 20 years. It was my favorite part of my old job. Maybe it kept me somewhat sane in an insane system. But I haven’t practiced those skills lately. Maybe I should. Maybe I will. Gently

For 30 many years, I pushed myself to comply with expectations that were often unreasonable. It’s a habit I want to release now. It no longer serves me. So what if I don’t get the book out by February 14? It would be nice, but what’s the point of graduating to a more creative life of freedom and flexibility if I’m going to stress myself out with my own expectations?

Deep breath.

It’s okay that there is still work to do on me – that I’m still learning to relax and let go. Old habits die hard, and it’s only been a month or so since I graduated.

I will be kind and gentle with myself.

I will allow myself to enjoy this new adventure.

I will allow myself time to grieve.

I will trust the natural flow of my life.

I will trust the timing.