No vacation from anxiety

I am currently on vacation, and unfortunately my anxiety hasn’t taken a break.  My husband and I attended an outdoor concert for the jam band Phish on both Saturday and Sunday nights at an outdoor venue.  We had awesome seats on Sunday night.  We were in the orchestra pit, so we were literally fifteen feet from the musicians.  In the middle of this wonderful music, I ended up taking an Ativan.  We had been sitting.  As soon as the band arrived on stage, everyone surged forward and crowded my space.  One of my key triggers for anxiety is not being to get out of a situation or place when I am really uncomfortable.  I tweeted my grumpiness about having to take my anti-anxiety medication.  I only take this on an as needed basis.  In order for me to truly enjoy the concert and dance, I needed to use this tool in my toolbox as one of my lovely #ppdchat friends @Hopin2bHappy reminded me. 

The following day I suffered an actual panic attack for the first time in months.  I was triggered by my niece’s crying.  She was just being fussy and having lots of separation anxiety.  Every time my sister would leave the room, she would start to cry.  I was instantly transported back to my struggles with postpartum anxiety.  My body went into overdrive.  All I could hear from the baby’s cries was “danger, danger”.  Someone needs to settle her down.  Why was she crying?  Was she hurt?  Was she hungry? Was she tired?  Why did she keep crying?  I felt like I was screaming inside my head for some release from the unrelenting noise.  I was feeling tingling in my hands and feet.  My heart began racing.  I started feeling dizzy and nauseous. I finally realized what was happening, and I took an Ativan.  Unfortunately it took a bit to kick in because the attack had left me physically and emotionally drained.  I did reach out for help and talked to both my husband, my mom and my #ppdchat team.  The lovely Alexandra at http://gooddayregularpeople.com expressed it perfectly: PPD is just like fireworks to a PTSD afflicted veteran. 

As I reflected on how I was smacked in the face by this anxiety, I had several realizations.  I was not sleeping well at all at my parents’ house.  I was outside in the heat a lot which physically drains me.  I had no time to just be by myself.  My parents live in a three bedroom two-story house, and there were ten of us in the house – four little girls under the age of five.  I was working frantically to meet all my deadlines at work prior to leaving on vacation for a week.  I had stayed up late Friday night to complete more work.  I was reminded of a painful loss that happened around this time of year.  All of these were contributing factors that led to my panic attacks.

So I am taking the rest of my vacation to regroup and take time for myself.  I have very few plans.  I plan on mostly relaxing and enjoying the time with my husband and my girls.  I am sleeping as much as I can, and I am drinking lots of water.  Have any of you who have struggled with postpartum mood disorders struggled with this – being transported back to that feeling of utter helplessness?

About tranquilamama

Juggling parenthood, housework and working outside the home in the corporate world with my wonderful husband. Mom to 2 beautiful girls. PPD and PPA survivor. The title of my blog is after a phrase that was repeated to me in Spain during my semester abroad in college. It roughly translates to relax and calm down. Trying to tame my inner perfectionist and just be a good enough mom.
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12 Responses to No vacation from anxiety

  1. I know that triggered feeling, and have experienced a ptsd-like transport back to when things were really bad due to an external trigger that I wasnt prepared to have affect me. Came out of nowhere and blindsided me just like it did for you. Im so glad you reached out at the concert and again the next day… and that you learned some more about yourself and triggers, and that youre getting some good rest in these next few days of vacation. Im glad you are making self care a priority. *HUG*

    • Frelle, thank you. I had no idea how intense some of these reactions would still be months after I have suffered from the panic attacks. I am doing some journaling and reading along with resting. I did not tell my sister about the panic attack because I didn’t want her to feel guilty about her daughter crying. I struggle with finding the balance between saying too much and not saying enough. Hugs.

  2. quinn0808 says:

    I’m so glad u are taking u time! Like someone told me always ask for help and except it. And u taking the med is the same thing. There is nothing wrong with you. I had some triggers this holiday myself. I cant post on them but having my nephew for a week and just his whinniness and just everything made me lose control and I felt right back to the way I did when we brought lil one home. So I get it. Please make sure u REALLY do rest this week

    • Thank you so much. It took me half of the week, but I finally got rest. I feel good about returning to work well rested. I came to terms with taking my medication. It’s just another tool in my toolbox to disarm my anxiety.

  3. I am so sorry Jenn. I’m glad that you were able to remember the tips that the wonderful ladies from PPDChat told you. Sometimes when you have so much anxiety it’s hard to focus.
    I’m happy that you know what you need to do from here on out. Relaxing sounds glorious. It may not be what you initially planned on doing but it can still be wonderful.
    You’re doing a great job kiddo.

    • Kim thank you for your sweet words. It was disheartening to realize how much anxiety can still sucker punch me and leave me struggling to function. I hold onto to every word of encouragement like a pearl. xoxo

  4. jamesandjax says:

    I’m so proud of you for identifying your triggers and making a plan (including no plans! haha!) to do what you need to do to feel better! Much love to you.

    • Jaime thank you. I am getting lots of rest and cutting back on my caffeine. I have been following some of your tips to minimize the anxiety. It has finally lessened.

  5. katery says:

    all the time. i hope the rest of your vacation is relaxing.

    • Yes the rest of my vacation has been pretty relaxing. I finally feel rested for the first time in months. It is hard to resist the temptation to do not a bunch of activities during vacation.

  6. Yes, particularly when confronted with what was my biggest trigger: crying babies. So glad that you’re taking some time for you with the rest of your vacation. Hope you’re relaxing right now and enjoying yourself! (hugs)

    • Hugs right back at you Kristin. Crying babies stopped being a trigger for me several months ago until last weekend. I have had lots of downtime the rest of my vacation. I actually feel well rested.

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