I feel fan-freaking-tastic. As noted, the second week of not smoking was not going well. Didn’t cheat at all, and frankly, I didn’t even consider it. However – Very real anxiety, and actually, a serious panic attack while playing one day. (I know that sounds terribly sad, but if you conjure up a mental image of someone freaking out while seated at the console of a 3,000 pipe organ, I’m positive you’ll giggle.)
Are you giggling? Good. You’ll need your sense of humor. Because I found the panic attack fascinating and I wanted to tell you about it. I’m sitting there playing a (rather simple) hymn, and then, bam! Like someone pulled the rug out under from me. My heart starts pounding, I’m flushed, dizzy, I suddenly wonder how my fingers are going to get where they’re supposed to go. (And in fact, some of my fingers don’t get where they’re supposed to go.) I loose a few seconds, and then I’m back. Now, I’m panicking, and trying to find a way out of the musical mess I’ve gotten myself into. (God bless relative chords.) Of course, I’m terrified. I finish the tune, and spend the rest of the hour trying to make it through the other pieces without hyperventilating.
Clearly, something is not quite right. I do some thinking. I realize that at one point last week I did not leave the house for 48 hours. I move up my doc visit. We chat. We figure. He does his Doc thing. The theory is that I had been self-medicating, via smokes. Although I always operated at a low boil and always had smaller panic issues, the smokes kept the pot from completely boiling over. When I took them away … blammo.
So. I now have a daily med, and I have a bottle of panic pills, in case I need them for a specific moment. Reactions have been amusing. When I’ve mentioned the daily meds, one friend said, “Every musician and actor I know takes that stuff.” On the flip side, when I mentioned the name of the panic pills, another friend said, “Jeez! That’s serious medication!” What has been most interesting is this – Once I mentioned all this to friends, I realized that lots of people have problems. Being as most of my friends are actors and musicians, it goes with the territory. Performers. Standing on a stage, Elaine Stritch once put it so simply. “It’s scary up here.”
I’m not much of a pill person. Never was. I figured, sitting in front of an orchestra waiting to signal the downbeat, if I was panicking, that’s just how it was. Suck it up. When I frequently got so worked up that I became physically ill, that’s just how it was. Part of the deal. When my blood pressure went way through the roof because I was displeased with this-or-that? High strung, I guess. But my opinion about medications has been changed. Drastically.
I love my current Doc. He’s friendly, asks questions, I feel like he’s someone I might know otherwise. Super guy, and a really good fit. I wondered though. My other doctors (especially back in the city) knew I had these problems. Why didn’t they ever look into it? Ask questions? If this is the way I was supposed to be feeling all these years, I’ve missed quite a bit. And I wonder what I might have done differently if I hadn’t been in a panic.
But, so what.
It’s fixed, and that’s awesome. And my prescriptions were covered and cost a total of forty-four cents. And I had a blueberry cake donut this morning. And there were lots of church friends visitors in the building today.
I am having a terrific day, and I hope you are too.