I’m going to premise this by saying that I had something else planned for the third healing post, but yesterday taught me a lot. I decided when I started this blog that I would roll with the punches. If something comes up in my life and it speaks to me, I will tell you guys about it. With that being said, I want to tell you that it’s okay to admit that you are not okay.
If you know me personally, you know that I have struggled with anxiety for a decade now. Over the years I have learned that people’s perception of anxiety is sometimes skewed. For example, if you are speaking with a doctor about a medical problem you have and they see that you have anxiety, they sometimes tend to lean into that diagnosis. All of a sudden your symptoms are explained by your anxiety and it can be hard for them to look past that. This is, unfortunately, something that I have experienced many times. So when something happens like yesterday’s events, I often keep it to myself because I feel like nobody will take me seriously. If you can relate to that, you know that people like us often don’t seek medical treatment until the symptoms can no longer be ignored.
Yesterday morning I had chest pains and jaw pain for about an hour while I was at work. I told myself it was probably nothing and continued working through it even though the pain made it slightly difficult to breathe. My heart rate elevated to 120-145 for hours (tachycardia) and I had heart palpitations off and on all morning. I started having more symptoms and finally decided to ask a coworker to check my blood pressure. The level was in normal limits, but high for me. She asked if I have anxiety and if that could be the root of the cause. Believe it or not, living with something like anxiety for ten plus years has made me very aware of how it makes me feel, but this was different. I had never felt this way before. And in an instant, with her well-meaning comment, I was scared to talk about it. I figured that anyone who I told that something was wrong would just contribute it to my anxiety and wouldn’t believe something else was wrong. I kept feeling worse and starting feeling not only dizzy, but also disoriented. My head felt fuzzy and I started feeling very weak. Luckily, one of the doctors demanded I be sent to the emergency room. I was so embarrassed and figured everyone would think it’s “just Liz and her anxiety. She’s fine.”
When I got to the ER I continued to be more disoriented. I felt like I was going to lose consciousness and I was afraid. The world around me was moving, but it seemed so slow to me. I was walking slowly, talking slowly, and hardly able to comprehend what people were saying. I remember the staff hooking me up for an EKG and I could barely move my arms. My husband arrived and I could barely talk to him. It took everything in me to be able to say a word or two. I couldn’t find words to say and it felt like my brain turned off. When I was able to walk again, my vision was still blurry. Eventually I felt a little better, but very very tired. I fought the intense fatigue for the next hour. Long story (semi) short, we think I may have had another partial seizure. It’s been about three years since my last seizure. This all means that I will have to go back to my neurologist and see a cardiologist again.
And I almost didn’t go to the ER because I was scared nobody would believe me. I was scared to admit that I was not okay and that I needed to leave work to seek treatment. If it wasn’t for someone forcing me to be seen, I probably would have been at work when this occurred.
Why am I telling you all of this? Simply because I never want any of you to not get help because you are scared that if you tell someone you aren’t okay, they won’t believe you. Just because you have anxiety or any other issue doesn’t mean that something else can’t happen to you. Don’t brush off symptoms. Think of it this way… If your loved one told you that they were feeling the way you are feeling and your instinct would be to tell them they need to seek medical advice, then you should do so yourself. You need to take care of yourself the way that you would want your loved ones taken care of. Because you matter too. Because bad things can happen to you too. Don’t wait until someone mandates you to help yourself. You know your body better than anyone else in this world. You need to advocate for yourself. Please take care of yourself and don’t worry about what others might think in the process. You only have one opportunity at this life. Make it the best and longest life.