Finding yourself back is such an interesting journey.
Or is it, finding yourself again?
It's like, seeing someone you vastly love, that you thought you'd never see again.
It's butterflies in your belly.
It's renewed joy.
Makes you want to skip in circles.
But, what is it that helps you find yourself back?
What saves you again and again?
I told myself, I wasn't going to talk about this ever again.
I was going to put it on the back burner and move forward.
Because it was too dark and too scary to relive.
(yes I sobbed whilst typing this)
Plus, too hard to explain if you haven't experienced it yourself.
Panic, pain, anxiety, sleepless night, shivers, tremors, fear.
But then I thought about how scared and lonely and lost I felt.
And, my brain and heart felt over-filled with thoughts about others feeling the same way, for all sorts of different reasons.
As you know, I was very ill in December and January, and a little into February.
I tried to skirt around it, as to not let myself drown in the fear.
It was weird, because I don't get sick often, so I think that increased my sick fear.
It turned out I had two separate things going on.
One was a pretty horrifying reaction to a vitamin supplement called Biotin.
This really opened my eyes to how unregulated and dangerous supplements can be.
Especially the dosage of Biotin that is being administered in an everyday hair, skin and nails vitamin you can purchase at any store today.
Turns out, it might not even really help your hair, skin or nails.
I didn't need it, but my mom took it and liked it.
So she gave me some (my poor mom), and I thought, hey I am getting older, maybe I should take a vitamin?
The recommended daily dosage is 150 mcg, or no more than 300 mcg.
A hair and nail vitamin has 2,500 - 5,000 mcg's of Bioton.
(I had been taking it for 3 weeks)
Mind blowingly scary right?
I had no idea.
Know about anything you take.
They say Biotin is water soluble, whatever your body doesn't need, it will purge.
Ya well, it didn't happen that way for me.
When has a supplement for pretty skin, nails and hair ever killed someone?
I never take pills, and am pretty sensitive to anything, but this seemed harmless.
The other issue was abdominal, which I have a new doctor for that.
But I am much better now, and working on totally healing in that area.
The thing is...
When you find yourself in these situations, it isn't just your body that suffers.
But your mind.
And it isn't just from having a scary illness, or two.
I think you can find yourself in a very lost and unknown place when anything heavy happens in your world.
There was a sort of cycle I journeyed through these last 2+ months.
It was a tough journey because it took a while for my body to clear out that supplement I reacted to.
But, you should know, whatever you are going through, big or small, you don't have to do it alone.
It's okay to talk to people, this is what helped me find out what it was that was making me so ill.
Talking, listening, bouncing things back and forth.
I even asked my post office guy questions.
I talk too much, and this time it helped.
You see, my torture began on December 11th.
I had had abdominal pain for about a week or more, and not been able to eat much.
But I was feeling better.
We were having a family dinner, when a strange wave came over me.
Something I had never felt in my life.
I felt like something dark sat on my chest.
And I couldn't breathe.
I could hear my heart in my ears, pounding.
I tried to hide it, so I went outside.
I took a deep breath.
Tried to compose myself.
I didn't want to freak out my poor parents.
I came back shaking.
My family was concerned, they had never ever seen me like this.
Normally I am so happy I am bouncing off the walls.
I started to cry.
I told them I was confused, and felt weird.
Like an anxiety building up in me.
Only I couldn't pin point the cause.
So, we all talked, and everyone thought maybe I just had too much on my plate.
We bounced around ideas of what it could be.
It was a tough year.
Lovee had some serisouly scary health brushes himself that had left me terrified.
I wasn't supposed to tell anyone.
It was so scary, and shot my nerves big time.
I had been jolted into a tough reality.
I kept waking up totally freaked out.
Imaging my life without him.
It was too much.
Thank goodness, he got better.
Times had been so intense in our world, and by December I was pretty overwhelmed.
But, still, holding it together okay.
So, we chucked my anxiety off to that, and we went on with my birthday evening.
The next day, I woke up trembling, shaking.
Filled with a fear I can't describe, unless you have felt it, it's hard to explain.
My stomach was in knots.
And my mind was racing so fast, I couldn't get a hold of it.
I felt crazy.
I felt out of control.
I felt confused.
The feeling was very unnatural, and it felt like I was having some sort of attack.
Anxiety, then panic.
I felt so scared I started to not be able to breathe.
I was filled with anxiety, and then my whole body was tingly.
And I felt more than faint.
I sat and rocked and trembled, with my mind racing.
I couldn't eat or sleep.
This went on for days and days.
I went for walks in fear.
I woke up at 3 a.m. and ran around my yard, several nights.
I paced up and down the driveway.
I felt like I was losing my life.
I was drowning, and hanging on by a thread.
Everything felt over.
I couldn't take it anymore.
I was in a washing machine of darkness.
Head spinning in thoughts so fast I couldn't control it.
I felt like I was holding on to life, but, couldn't for much longer.
I felt like that was it.
I wrote down all my info, passwords, logins.
I wondered what would happen to my blog?
But really, I didn't care.
I felt too bad to care.
I put my will out so Lovee could find it.
I wrote notes to everyone I love.
I was sure I was going to die.
I felt like I was dying.
Everyday it got worse.
I was prepared to go to sleep and never wake up again, because I thought my body was giving up on me.
I prayed myself to sleep.
Sometimes I was so scared, I couldn't even cry, because I was paralyzed by fear.
I had heard about people feeling like this.
Anxiety and panic attacks?
And honestly, I come from such strong people and have been so strong myself, I thought psychological things could easily be overcome.
I thought anxiety and panic were all hogwash.
Like my dad said, you can't understand it, if you haven't experienced it.
I thought it was all me, that I had fallen off the edge.
In my mind, I was ready to be sedated and locked in a room forever.
I thought if I went to the hospital, they would lock me away for sure.
This went on for about a week.
I sat huddled in front of an electronic heater blowing hot air onto me.
It's the only thing that made me feel better, even though I couldn't get warm.
I was shivering, shaking all the time.
Night was so daunting, I didn't know how I would survive it.
I was in my own scary nightmare movie.
Days had past, and this one evening I was shaking terribly.
I couldn't control the shaking, and I was freezing.
I was totally exhausted from days of this, and I was done.
Just exhausted and done.
I had to make a huge decision for myself.
A scary one for me.
I got dressed the next morning.
And I said to Mister Lovee, I need help.
I am drowning.
I am going to die.
I need help.
He said, yes yes, let's go.
The thing is, as an adult, I rarely go to doctors.
I used to go once in a blue moon, and had a yearly last visit, about 4 years ago.
Except for the fluke hives and anaphylactic shock last summer, I never had a reason to see a doctor.
I always feel good - mind, body and soul.
Ya, I get headaches and allergies, and vertigo here and there from an inner ear trauma at 17.
But, I just see those as passing blips in life.
Normally however, it's easy sailing for me in the health arena.
In fact, I hadn't even had a cold for 5 years when I got the flu in spring 2012.
So, for me to say "I need medical help" means, it's serious.
Luckily we have an urgent care and a hospital down the road.
So, off we went.
I rocked outside waiting for my name to be called.
Still panicked and mind racing.
I was afraid they were going to see me and say, she needs to be taken away.
Locked up for life.
I felt like I had this big secret, about how I had fallen over the edge.
And that I had to be careful not to fully let the doctors in on it.
Lucky for me, I got the kindest doctor and nurse ever.
They were older, and very caring and knowledgeable.
I had taken the Biotin pills with me to show him, as they were the only thing out of the ordinary that I was taking.
They took my temperature.
I had a full blown fever, so they thought maybe I had an infection of some sort?
No wonder I was trembling all night.
The doc checked me out.
I had some hives and splotches on my neck and chest.
He talked to me.
I cried, and shook.
He asked me lots of questions.
Like, had I ever felt these feelings before?
I said no.
Of course, you have stress in life and you cope.
But this felt totally out of control, and debilitating.
I felt like something externally was attacking me internally.
I had all sorts of tests, blood tests etc.
And we waited for a long time.
We were there all day long.
I prayed my little heart out in that cold room.
Mister Lovee sat by me, reading the paper.
Me tossing and turning, moving around.
Prepared to hear I was dying.
The doc came back, and he said, I have your blood tests.
And they are very good, in fact excellent.
Then he went on to tell me he was certain I was having a very bad reaction to the Biotin.
(as I shared in a previous post)
That my body was treating it as poison.
And rejecting it.
An allergic reaction.
I had stopped taking it the day before.
So, the doc said, never ever take it again.
He said it could take about a week to clear out of my system, and for me to feel better again.
But that I might even feel a bit of withdrawal.
(it took over a month to stop feeling totally rotten)
He felt very certain I was having the anxiety and panic attacks from the Biotin.
He gave me allergy and anxiety medicine.
He also confirmed that, when you are having a panic attack, you often feel like you are dying.
Biotin is a B vitamin, so I started to do tons of research on it.
Come to find out that, lots of people taking it are having anxiety and panic attacks.
I have learned to never ever ever take anything without researching it.
The only way to find out if you need a supplement is to have a blood test.
Not needing something, and taking it, can make you sick.
Vitamins are not regulated, be aware.
It took me about 2 months to start feeling like myself again.
To not feel jittery or filled with fear and panic.
To start feeling like I could try to unearth myself again, and go back to living.
I have learned not to fear doctors.
My fear was vast.
Not so much of the doctor, but of the prognosis.
That fear only makes things worse though.
They are there to help you, not hurt you.
It's better to deal with something, and heal yourself, than to totally ignore it.
The ignoring is such a heavy burden.
On New Year's the abdominal pain came back, and I had to go back to see a doctor.
That led me to a new doctor who is working with me now to get me totally well.
I was so glad that, although it's a fortune because I am self employed, I have kept my health insurance going for years and years.
It's scary to realize that, as a self employed artist, if you get sick, everything stops.
Being brave is sometimes all you can do.
Thanks to endless talks with Lovee and my parents (calling my dad like a mad woman) and friends, I tumbled through it all.
Here is the thing though.
As I started to feel better, I realized, it was going to be a journey back.
That I had come out the other side as a different person.
I wasn't feeling tough and fancy free.
I was vulnerable, and wanting good change.
I had a wake up call.
A call back to life.
I had a new desire to live again.
To feel life, vastly and totally, in real goodness.
I was stuck in a tunnel I had fallen into, of fear and health, and I was trying to get out.
Yoga in the garden.
They all helped.
But I needed even more.
I realize how easy it is to get stuck in a vacuum.
I couldn't go back to life as I knew it before I had these health scares.
I felt so different.
I trekked along, but it didn't feel right anymore.
I cleaned out my drawers.
I organized things.
And I started to feel a little better.
I did chores I had let go.
Things I wanted to do, but just let go because that's what we do in life.
I got new bathroom rugs.
I organized the bathroom cabinets.
I felt even better.
I did some yard work, like burying irrigation.
And yes, I felt even better.
I went underwear shopping :)
Comfortable things, that fit and felt good.
I searched for comfortable wearable cute shoes.
See the comfort pattern here?
Comfort, what a concept.
I suppose platforms aren't practical for every event in life.
I didn't unpack my emergency hospital bag, yes I had made one of those.
But I refreshed it.
Just in case.
I threw away magazines, and junk.
I got rid of a few things that I would never wear.
I threw out a bag of distressed worthless shoes.
I put things I didn't want, but didn't want to get rid of, in a box for dealing with later.
I took containers filled with paint outside, to paint under the clouds.
I flicked paint around.
I listened to music.
I made breakfast, lunch and dinner.
My dad always had told me that an organized life, if a happy life.
He is right.
Chaos, with junk all around you, is a barrier to feeling free.
And then, there is the computer.
It's sooo good, and it's sooo bad.
The computer/technology is a huge part of our days.
We want want want.
We want to be inspired.
To be moved.
We search for something to make us feel good.
We look at pretty things being pinned all day.
We see so many haters out there.
We read blogs.
We love the people who write them.
We all take each other for granted.
And everyday we need more.
More eye candy.
And we stop valuing things we once loved.
We want it all the time.
Abundant inspiration and beauty.
We don't want to say please and thank you.
We want to feel good.
We want someone else to make us feel good.
We fall into social media madness.
We live our busy days, going going going.
But do we actually stop and DO?
Make something, bake something, create something magical for ourselves?
It's wonderful to be inspired and dream.
But doing, that's where the fulfillment comes from.
Doesn't even have to be big things.
Could be tiny teeny things.
Doesn't even have to be making things.
Get a facial, help someone at the grocery store?
Make cookies for our neighbor?
Organize our drawers.
Do crafts, make something?
Do we do it?
Or do we just look at it being done?
Do we ever make a date with ourselves?
Refueling precious alone time?
I felt an explosion coming over me.
All my feelings just exploding, pouring, shooting out.
Where do I turn?
I need to do!
Then I realized...
I had boxed myself into comfortable compartments.
Only, now I was beyond eager to break out of them.
I realized I wasn't being true to myself.
Letting myself be free.
I was being comfortable.
I didn't want to worry or be scared.
Or try something new.
But here I was, I had been through some huge fears.
I couldn't protect myself from them happening.
That's life, ya know?
Reminds me of that Alanis Morissette Song...
"Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything's okay..."
It's time to get back to living, big time.
Because really, we don't know what's coming next.
Life is short.
Ya, we hear it all the time.
But it's true.
The time to live is now.
Not if, when or then, but NOW.
All we have is now.
Enjoy those you love, get rid of anyone that makes you feel rotten in any way.
Throw paint around.
Do something really really nice for yourself.
Hug someone tight.
This is your moment.
Make sure everyone you love knows it.
Life isn't just a stage, fame, fortune.
Life is breathing, dancing, loving, dreaming, smiling, being.
Being kind to yourself!
Through all this, I found out that my map back to myself was and is, paint.
It's the only thing that makes me feel like me.
In those moments, of music and paint, I see that girl I love so much.
That me-ness that lives in my mind's eye.
The girl I am so often mean to.
I make a pact to treat her better.
And, to paint paint paint!
Paint for health of mind and soul!
Paintings you might never even show anyone stacking up.
That's the place for me.
My journey with art began with me flicking paint around madly as a kid.
A release of emotions.
The love of it.
And so, here is where I am at.
I don't even know if I should publish this.
I worry, will anyone read it?
Will they skim, and will my message be misconstrued?
Do I want to put myself out there like this?
Tell people what I have really been through?
I feel a tinge of fear about the anxiety and panic days.
I don't even want to acknowledge them or talk about them.
But, talking, typing, telling - feels so healing.
Don't be afraid to seek help in your life.
Pry yourself out of your norm, do something.
Dance, sing - go for a walk and buy a cupcake.
Cry & laugh.
Organize your drawers.
Clean your closet.
Do something you are afraid of.
Here goes nothing...