Thursday, September 29, 2011

my journey from panic to calm

I  learned something about myself this visit. Well, I probably learned several somethings about myself, and this one stands out.

Many years ago I was flying home to Vancouver via Bellingham, WA. It was in winter, and the weather had turned unexpectedly snowy and cold, causing difficulty on the ground and in the air. I was still nursing Kiernen at that time. The plane, because of the weather, was unable to land in Bellingham, and while waiting for some kind of okay, began to circle in the air. We were also experiencing turbulence because of the air currents, and the stewardesses were also told to sit down and strap in. I was prone to motion sickness anyway, and because I had been nursing Kiernen on the plane, I was feeling pretty dehydrated.

As the plane circled, I grew increasingly more ill, and I began to vomit. I was hitting the call button over and over, and because they'd been told not to get up, they weren't answering me. Finally while I was throwing up, I got one of them to come and I told her I was dehydrated and needed water. She seemed fairly reluctant to help me, then she brought me the smallest  cup of water. I drank it down and pushed that button again over and over, finally getting her to come again. I told her I've been throwing up, I am severely dehydrated, I NEED water - not a tiny cup, but WATER. (Really water won't help in those situations - what I needed was something with electrolytes, but they had nothing like that on the plane and I knew it). Finally she brought me the whole bottle of water they were using to pour from - it was a huge bottle.

I cannot remember a time when I have ever been sicker in my life. It was horrible. And Kiernen and I were alone on the plane. Hubby had returned on an earlier flight because he had to return to work - and Kiernen and I had stayed a few days longer. Even though he was only two, Kiernen instinctively knew to leave me be and not ask me for anything - he could tell something was wrong with me, and he sat quietly, just watching me, while I was throwing up and all this was happening on the plane.

After that plane ride my motion sickness got much worse. In any situation that I'd have regularly felt motion sickness, it would get extreme very quickly where it hadn't before. Symptoms would include my body temperature rising quickly, sweating, feeling nauseated very quickly, a strong sensitivity to odors, and feeling claustrophobic. I'd get migraines. This would happen in cars, on rides, sometimes in big spaces where there was a lot of extra stimulation, like Costco, arcades, or malls, and especially, especially in planes. It became unbearable to ride in planes, even with all of the motion sickness medicine. The nausea would go away, but I still felt a rise on body temperature, a strong sensitivity to odors, and a feeling of claustrophobia (I might also mention that I am not claustrophobic otherwise).

I also began to have anxiety attacks in other situations - like social situations, for example, or as I said, in big enclosed spaces like malls or Costco or large department stores, or arcades. The migraines came on very easily in these situations, as well. I didn't know why. I didn't know what to do about it. I stopped going out as much, and I had to really be in a good space to deal with social situations.

Then Kiernen and I did the NAET treatments and all of that began to fade. I was again able to go out in public without worrying. The migraines went away. The motion sickness mostly went away. My panic attacks subsided. I could go to Costco. I could go to malls without freaking out. I could go out with friends. I could let someone else drive and I could ride in the back seat of the car. My world began to open again.

The test came when we got on the plane. I took my motion sickness stuff, and the plane ride was good - no nausea. There was a bit of anxiety, and as the plane took off, I remembered tapping my "gate points" - the top of my head and my upper chest - and breathing. So I tapped as I breathed, and I said something about the plane ride (I honestly can't remember) and I was fine. The whole plane ride. There was a movie in the back of my seat for me to focus on, and when we did begin to circle when it was time to land, and I felt my body temperature shoot up, I told myself I was safe, I breathed and I tapped, "This nausea," and I was fine. I felt just fine. I was AMAZED.

(continued in next post because this got long!)

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