Anxiety and Stress
The first attack came in 1987 after 8 years of straining my brain to find work. I was in a Denny’s restaurant in Dallas. Just the thought of traffic for the drive home brought on extreme weakness. Three trips to the men’s room to splash cold water on my face did not help. So, after 20 minutes I told the manager that he could call an ambulance. I was not transported, but the lady paramedic sincerely told me to take care of myself.
Soon after the debilitating electric anxiety attacks began; a cross between goose bumps and electricity running thru arms and legs, up my spine and in my chest such that I walked in short 6 inch steps. One day I froze up in the doorway of a fast food place. A black man coming in told his girl to stop and “give the man time”. I almost cried because I hide my feelings and felt invisible and this man saw how really miserable I felt.
I am just touching on the many symptoms I had. Remember when you were on the playground at school? You get the merry-go-round going as fast as you can, then hold onto the bar and lean your head out. The G force rushes blood to your head plus the spinning makes you just a little dizzy. Something like that would come over me as soon as I stepped into a long checkout line at a store. I would set my feet at a wide stance so if I fell it would be forward or back. I like to play with babies in the store, but would be deftly afraid of holding one in my arms because of the almost constant extra gravity sensation pulling me to fall with whatever I am holding.
In 2005 I had chest pain. I did not die or pass out so I knew it was in my head. So, I made plans to check myself into the VA hospital. I went to pay all my bills in spite of the pain, collapsing on the hood of my car at the pawn shop. A strnager helped me into the shop to get an application for my firearms license. You can’t get the license AFTER going to a mental hospital for 5 years, but I was legal by one day. My friend filled out the form since I was shakey and I signed it.
I spent the first week of pain at home. The worst had me heaving one the bed like a wild horse. So, I treated it as such, rubbing my torso and saying “easy horse” until the pain stopped enough to sleep. Finally the pain kept me awake for 48 hours and I knew I needed help and made a taxi appointment. Suddenly at the appointed time the pain flushed out of me and after 48 hours I just wanted to sleep.
The taxi driver actually took care of 3 other customers as I sat quietly feeling needles over my heart for an hour and 15 minutes to get out of town and head for the hospital. Half way there I tried to tell a joke but just noise came out. I could not speak and the driver stepped on the gas.
In the E.R. a doctor asked again when the pain started and I lost my voice again, unable to say “a week ago”. So, I tried the say seven days ago…”SE SE SEV, DA DA DAY, SE SEV” I strained to get it out until the doctor said “shut up or you’ll have a stroke”.
After an 80 mile ambulance ride to Jefferson Barracks VA Hospital, my 2 pain killers were taken away ( Clonazepam a class C nerve medicine and IcyHot) so I had to beat the pain cold turkey. When I finally found myself on the floor and heard “MAN DOWN, MAN DOWN”, I ended up in a wheelchair. Though I heaved half out when the pain hit my chest or gut, it seemed like an impossible challenge to ever stand up out of that wheelchair. However, I graduated to just pushing the chair for stability and then walking without it. I had one last gasp for air and this time felt no ice pick in the heart. I had beaten the pain. As a reward I was given a second Christmas party one-on-one with an Army Leutenant Colonel. I left a lot out of this story lest I bore you. I got to see the Budweiser horse drawn wagon up close when allowed to go outside. The pain and vertigo had lasted 3 weeks.
During my stay at Jefferson, I was transported to John Cockran Hosp for a stress test. It hurts like hell, but if you have an IV in the forearm, have the paramedics, not the nurse do it. I got an additional exam and the doctor looked at me like he was not telling me something. Sure enough, in 2006, one year later I was treated for prostate cancer. I highly recommend the external and internal radiation cure. It hurts afterward but you can take it. I don’t remember much except yelling in the restroom on the flight back.
Way back in the 1980s I used to experience severe headaches about every 6 months. Maybe they were migraines. The worst happened at 9:00 am as I awoke with plenty of sleep. I coughed once and the pain hit and I fell back in bed. The next thing I remember is awaking refreshed at 10:00 pm. The last time the pain hit I got out of bed, straightened up slowly while taking some steps and the pain went away never to return.
It is amazing what stress can do. One late night really bad pain hit both of my legs below the knees. The only way to stop it was to put my feet on the floor and set up on the edge of the bed. Time and hours passed and I so wanted to sleep. Trying to lie on my side with my feet on the floor cut off my circulation due to the wooden frame of my waterbed. That’s all I remember of that night.
Emotional Pain and Stress
This would be an overwhelmingly long story, so I will limit it to just 2 incidents.
First this happened before my anxiety attacks started when I could still be tough. I walked into a coffee shop in Dallas and noticed that my older friend was there wearing a white sports coat, burgundy pants and turtleneck. By odd coincidence I was wearing exactly the same. I went to the men’s room to wash my face to wake up and walked back to the coffee counter only to meet 2 guys with their arms and fists ready to fight. ” Why did you say (some rude or nasty thing?) to that girl?” one asked. I asked what girl and what was it I was supposed to have said. It was too tight a space to use my feet so I watched them both for any move agressive enough for me to claim self defense. Knowing my friend and him being dressed the same, well I didn’t get him involved because he was older and I could handle these guys. I was concerned about throwing bodies into the dinner of the people in the booth behind, and wondering what a blow to just one side of each guy’s neck would do. Finally I just turned and sat down and ordered my coffee. The guys were all mouth.
I do get infuriated when blamed for what I am not or did not do, but God has only used my reflexes to save and never allowed me to permanently harm. Only once did I knock out a school bully for about 30 seconds. After that he understood what “touch” football meant; not “punch” in the stomach.
The second and last incident really hurt my pride. I had neared the end of my finances being jobless, so I moved to get lower rent. I found out that only about 10 other white people in the apartment complex including 3 kids. So, I was saving coupons for a socker ball for the little blonde girl and her brother. The little dark haired girl always frowned at me, so I ignored her especially when the mother of the sister and brother said that she had been told that I was a pervert. I figure it was the parents of the dark haired girl who started that rumor. Sometimes God punishes severely for baring false witness.
So, one day maybe an hour after spending $300 for one dose of anxiety medicine in the E.R., the mother decided to get irrate in my face when I went to tell her that her boy was throwing rocks at me when I came out my door.
So, as I have mentioned, I am psychic about danger. As I sat in my car waiting for the security gate to open, I saw the blonde girl on her pink bike and sensed that I should tell her to be careful in the parking lot. However due to circumstances I did not, so I drove off for my morning coffee. When I returned my regular parking place was blocked by yellow police tape across the drive. About 35 feet from my apartment door, the pink bike was jammed between the rear wheels of a garbage truck. I thought the little blonde was under the tarp, but no it was the dark haired little girl who’s head was crushed under the tires. If I guessed right, her parents will learn on judgement day why they lost their child; false witness against at the time a very sick (coughing lungs out and anxiety and teeth hurting and more) man.
I won’t bother you with more