If you are a trauma survivor or have faced hardship it is a long process of finally feeling that the other shoe isn’t about to drop. You get on a roll just living your best life.
When a new situation arises be it medical, relational, financial, or emotional, the fight or flight mode can kick back in faster than we may even realize.
I was recently reminded of just how fast our peace of mind can fly out the door and how a panic reaction can set in prematurely.
As a woman over 50, the ‘magic’ of menopause has set in. Among other things, I started having significant breast pain that drifted under both arms. At first, I had convinced myself it wasn’t serious as this sometimes happens to us girls
As weeks started to pass, I found myself growing more and more uneasy. My brain went from knowing I was healthy to envisioning a long and ugly battle with breast cancer. Like any good internet seeker, I went to google. I don’t recommend this for those of us non-doctors. If we are learning anything from the pandemic it is internet information is mostly not a reliable source.
Now, I want to pause here and plug the importance of breast screening because we all know information is power and possible prevention. It had been a few years for me, so I made an appointment.
I am an advocate of western medicine which saved my life and rebuilt my body. I am also a huge advocate of naturopathic and eastern treatments which are, in my experience, more rooted in causation and preventative care than reacting. I am grateful to have both the best medical doctors in the world and a team of holistic practitioners. The combination is ideal for optimal health and something I wish we had more of in treating disease and maintaining overall wellness.
I went for a thermography test working hard to subdue my growing panic. I also made an appointment for a sonogram but couldn’t be seen for over a month.
The first thermography test came back inaccurate, saying I was ‘high risk.’ While I knew I needed to retest, by this time I was in full PTSD mode and not doing a very good job of mastering my mind. Frankly speaking, I was in a full panic, a state of existence I experienced for years on end after the bus accident. It had taken almost ten years to finally be confident when I went to sleep at night I would awake in the morning.
The physical pain and the panic had persisted. I called my doctor. He did not seem concerned about the reading and agreed it was inconclusive.
Has your realistic mind ever just shut off to any common sense? Mine had. I finally said to him, “I am having a PTSD attack and I am completely freaked out.’ He was able to get me a new test the following day. I went to retest the thermography with a more experienced practitioner, and I went for a sonogram.
Both tests came back with no cancer, but I already knew that despite my reaction.
I am A HUGE advocate of preventive testing even if it’s to ease our minds. Everyone now seems to be a ‘google’ doctor, so I must remind myself to stick with the actual medical experts both western and eastern.
In the midst of all this, I found myself realizing I needed to stop and “smell the roses” as it were. Having danced with death and loss of limb you think I would be an expert at appreciating and enjoying life and not sweating the small stuff.
I took myself out for lunch on a beautiful fall day in NYC. I went and read a book for an hour. I found pockets of time to explore what makes me happy. What makes me tick?
I also started to combat the constant stream of negative or obsessive thoughts. This is a lifelong process. All the panic was a great reminder to not let the negativity in my mind take over my life because life is short. I should know this by now.
I was able to recognize that it was my PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, that had kicked into the high ear. Yes, I needed to get the medical questions answered but it was no reason to freak out.
The takeaway, enjoy your life, RIGHT NOW.
YOU ARE WINNING!