Thursday, October 13, 2016

What a difference a year makes

Today I'm getting personal on this little blog of mine.  Since my early 20's I've suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, but they were always managable, or at least I would tell myself that.

But last year, around the start of summer, something different started happening. I would wake up feeling normal, do my morning work out and then about an hour later I would start to feel "off" and "wierd" like I was in a constant haze.  This would last Mixed in with this "off" feeling, I would have these moments where I would feel everything closing in on me and think I was about to faint.  This would happen at any random time; getting lunch ready for the kids, shopping, driving (the scariest times ever).  I even had times where my face was tingling all over.

notes I kept during this time

At first this wasn't an everyday occurance, maye a couple of times a week. It was once we went on our annual family vacation last year and I had a moment where I felt like I was going blind and going to pass out, and had to miss my son partipicating in a pie eating contest, that I knew I had to get help.

I chalked all these feelings up to severe anxiety at first.  During this same time I was also stopping nursing Avery (my youngest) so I thought maybe that had something to do with it too, you know, hormones going crazy.

I made an appt with my regular dr to talk things out and try to get her thoughts.  The last thing I wanted was to be medicated but at this point I was willing to try anything.  I'm not going to lie, there were times that I thought I was dying during these episodes and all I could do is lay down and cry. When I didn't think I was dying, I just felt plain crazy.

My dr thought this was more than just anxiety and she sent me off to see a neurologist.  From there, I was ordered to get a MRI, EKG, Echocardiogram (yes, different from EKG) and a brain wave test done. To say I was nervous about all of this would be a complete understatement.  I started convincing myself I had a brain tumor because a side effect of that is huge, dialated pupils which I would get every time I would have an episode and be in a haze. (isn't it crazy where the mind lets you go??)

It took a little while to get all these tests done, and thankfully most of them showed no problems. The only thing my neurologist saw in my MRI is that I have a slight Chiari malformation. She said I was probably born with this and really the only way to fix is brain surgery (um no thank you) and that it probably isn't the main cause of my symptoms. 

My general dr. did recommened some anxiety medication but I did not want to have to take it.  I went from being a normal (well normal for me, he he) happy Mom to a Mom that felt incapable of taking care of her kids. That KILLED me. My sister in law was really a saving grace during this time. She too went through something very similar about a year after her youngest was born and she kept telling me I was OK and that this was probably some sort of post pardum, even though Avery was 1.  I started doing some reading on it and it really did make sense, although I don't think that was my only issue going on. I think I had a variety of things happening and all together they made me feel like I was going insane.

I'm not sure exactly what I did or when it exactly happened, but in October of last year I remember going a whole week with feeling "normal" and then from there, everything got better.  I still have anxiety and panic attacks from time to time but nothing like what I experienced those few months last year.

When I look back at my screen shot of my symptoms from over a year ago that I shared with my dr, I almost can't believe that was me. I feel like I wasn't even here during those months and I am so thankful that is in my past and I really hope I never go through that again. I also hope no one else ever experiences this.

On a much lighter note, I'll see you all tomorrow for my Friday Favorites!

*linking up with Home of Malones


  1. Oh my gosh, I can't imagine how scary that must have been! And yes, why do we always automatically think cancer and tumors!? Every time!! I'm so glad things have improved and you're feeling more like yourself these days. Babies/pregnancy/hormones can do weird things and our poor postpartum bodies have to endure so much!! On a side note, I get optical migraines on occasion. There is usually no headache involved, but my vision goes away and I see black in certain spots! Such a scary thing, especially the first time it happened and I was convinced I was losing my eye sight!

  2. I was diagnosed with GAD back in 2005 after I had all of the same tests you did. I had really terrible anxiety. I went on Lexapro for several months, but it made me feel like a zombie, so I asked to be weaned off of it. My anxiety has since improved (knock on wood) but I still have occasional panic attacks. Sometimes over the dumbest things. The new symptoms you developed last year must've been so scary and I'm so sorry you experienced this. My cousin's son has Chiari (although I don't know a whole lot about it). I'm so glad things have since improved for you. Fingers crossed that you continue to stay healthy!

  3. I am so glad you are feeling better now, that had to have been hard to go through.

  4. Oh Lizzie, this is so scary. I've never even heard of anything like this before. I can't imagine how terrified you must have been not knowing what the heck was going on. I had a crazy episode about a month ago, too, and I'm pretty sure it was a panic attack. I've always been a big worrier and I've always had mild anxiety, but I've never had a full on panic attack before. And it was just so random... I still have no idea what even triggered it. I'm praying it never happens again, though, because it was really scary.

  5. Wow, what a difficult thing to go through! I'm so happy that you made it through and that you're feeling better now!

  6. This blows my mind. My best friend's little boy has a version of this and just underwent surgery on Monday. He will be 2 in January and doesn't have the ability to sit up on his own, crawl or walk. They are hoping this surgery will fix what he was causing his brain to not pulse the way it should along with fix the issues he has with his spine and his arms, legs and core.

  7. Oh wow. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing about this Lizzie. I know that isn't always an easy thing to do. So often I find that what I once struggled with or went through encourages someone else and that is always so good. So glad you are on the other side of this now.

  8. Oh wow! I couldn't imagine how scary and weird this must have been for you. I am so glad that you are feeling better. I had some of these same 'weird' feelings after starting a thyroid medication once.