So apparently I’m now a fainter.
I guess it goes hand in hand with being an anxious, control freak, neat nazi, panic merchant, overdramatic, hyperactive, worrier, stress head… doesn’t it?? Yes, this is me. This is who I am, the person I have become mainly since I became a mother. These are some words I use to describe myself (and I know those close to me use them too!!). These are my personality traits (well some of them, I also have good ones too I promise!). They are what make me, me. But are they?? Perhaps many of these anxiety related tendancies can be fixed? Perhaps I can learn how to not faint during a scary situation?
This particular story of mine began six months ago when I suddenly developed the taste of metal in my mouth. It has never gone away. Since May/June this year, I have been on a harrowing, rollercoaster (and fricking expensive) ride trying to figure out what this taste is (see previous metal mouth blog). The mystery has both consumed and worried me every day since.
Of course my natural and neurotic tendencies (and constant googling) make me assume I am dying, I have a tumour and any minute now I’m going to start slurring my words and speaking gibberish or go blind. And because of this constant worry (despite doctors, dentists, specialists, chiropractors, osteopaths, naturopaths, surgeons, telling me it’s nothing serious), I have sent my nervous system into overdrive.
I am constantly in fight or flight mode (or as I annoyingly and incorrectly kept saying to my friend the other day “flight or fright”) – a condition in which when a person is under stress the sympathetic nervous system’s (SNS) general action is to mobilize the body’s resources putting them in an overstimulated state.
Symptoms of an over active, over stimulated or dominant sympathetic nervous system are: anxiety, panic attacks, nervousness, insomnia, breathlessness, palpitations, inability to relax, cannot sit still, jumpy or jittery, poor digestion, fear, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, to name a few.
So, in my opinion, this constant worrying and stressing over what the heck is wrong with me, has caused my body to tense, stiffen up and even panic at the drop of the hat, which in turn creates a long list of things for me to whinge about (and write about, thank you blog). I swear every time I open my mouth my husband’s ears close up because he knows I am going to be telling him about some new symptom I’ve woken up with.
In the past six months I have experienced a number of changes to my body. Some of which could be related to the metallic taste and some which most likely are not (some could also be because I am turning 34 this year too but that’s still too young to be acting like an old woman surely!). I have put my back out four times, woken up with a crick in my neck at least 20 times, suffered from indigestion more than ever before, had heavy periods, light periods, long periods, short periods, ovulation pain, clotting, heart palpitations, tingling in my arms and legs, circulation pain, sore teeth, jaw pain and that’s just some of my issues. But of course, I am still here and I am still ok.
Which is what brings me to think a lot of my problems are psychosomatic (which I don’t believe makes a symptom any less serious, painful or concerning to the recipient, mind you).
Thus, it is why I am writing this blog. To get it off my chest and perhaps cure myself once and for all (if I don’t have a tumour causing it of course…).
Anyway, a few days ago, my over-active mind, sent my body into overdrive again and… I fainted.
It was during a procedure at an ear, nose and throat doctor. I sat on a desk chair. He showed me a looooonnnggg cord with a little light and a camera on the end. And then he told me it was going to go up my nose and into the back of my throat. Righteo. Cue increased heart rate. Cue wise brain chat “this is easy, this is nothing, you’re going to be fine, it’s not that invasive, it won’t hurt, just breathe. JUST BREATHE”. So I did breathe through it and I thought it wasn’t too bad. Even when the little camera was inserted into my nostril and was dangling down the back of my throat, I felt in control and A.O.K.
Then it got pulled back out. Then the sweat came. And the sweat gushed out of every single pore of my body. And then I felt an unbelievable heaviness. And then I lost consciousness (ok, it was only for like two seconds but still, it was bloody scary!!).
I couldn’t speak properly, I couldn’t open my eyes, I couldn’t move. And the two doctors and two receptionist struggled too to lift me up off the desk chair. It’s lucky it was a desk chair with wheels because they somehow managed to wheel me out of the doctors office and into another room which had a hospital bed. I don’t really remember them lifting me up onto the stretcher bed, maybe I did that myself. Anyway, my clothes were drenched in sweat and I was drenched with embarrassment.
Of course, this type of reaction the doctor said happens to only one in 100 people. Yep, of course it was me.
So, once I had laid down for a while I was absolutely fine. My body and my mind are obviously resilient in terms of immediate trauma recovery (I just need to talk and laugh about the event for months on end afterward to help me cope).
Idiot me though, asked the doctor to write down what it was that just happened to me. “Vasovagal Syncope”, he wrote. Wow, I thought, that sounded pretty cool. I googled it. “Fainting”. Hmm not so cool anymore.
I’ve read many people suffer from an Over Stimulated Nervous System in varying degrees ranging from low grade barely noticeable symptoms to those with severe obvious symptoms where the worry effects their ability to function in every day life. Did you know the underlying cause of anxiety is thinking or believing that you are not enough to handle a situation and thus it creates anxiety? Feelings of self loathing, worthlessness, inadequacy, not being good enough, etc, etc all fuel this belief and thus fuel the anxiety.
Pretty sure I’m in a very low grade category so I can’t imagine how hard it must be those who suffer more than I do. For a lot of anxiety sufferers the overstimulated state has become such a familiar trait of theirs that it is “normal” for them to feel this way, all the time. For me, I feel like my anxiety has intensified because I have not been able to control my thoughts and my worries. But I feel I can overcome this, I CAN fight it, I CAN find a solution and go back to the way I was before I had children. I can beat this fear that something will happen to me and they will be without their mother (I think this is a large part of my fear).
Which is what I am on a mission to do now. Conquer and calm down my nervous system to see if all the other ailments follow suit. I am on a plight of not only seeking medical help, I am also taking advice from others and visiting different health and wellbeing experts (the bank balance isn’t enjoying it but I’m willing to sacrifice other things in favour of my health and wellbeing now seeing as I am old) and trying my best to relax and think positive thoughts. Among other things, such as already eating healthy and exercising, I am determined to try a bit of meditation, herbal medicines and other methods, to try to change my mindset and perhaps not take life so seriously.
Can I, through these methods, cure my anxiety, thus change the state of my nervous system, this reducing the stress on my body?? Can I calm down my fight or flight mode to the point where I am less startled when something goes wrong in my perfect little world??
Can I cure myself?? Will this mystery metallic taste, quite possibly the route of all my other physical problems, go away?? That I don’t know, but I am willing to give it a good bash, so that when I shit myself again, I’m not left on a hospital bed in the doctors clinic in a pool of sweat simply because I had a camera shoved up my nose. Paaaahhhhleeeassee! How overdramatic!!
Crap, is that my arm tingling again??