Swim Caps.

I nearly quit swim team yesterday because I had a horrible panic attack the day before that. However, I decided I was going to try to swim again yesterday while conducting an experiment: add Gatorade. It worked. I only had minor chest pain, but I finished! It felt really good and today is Fun Friday which means instead of doing an actual workout, we get to play games. Why? Because you never swim hard before a swim meet. I am dying my hair right now for the swim meet.
My hair is going to be green-blue up top and blue-black-purple on bottom. I don’t mean I’ll have striped of those colors, I mean that those are the two shades. I wanted shock blue, but it turned out kind of mermaid green, which is fine actually because it’s more swimmer; sea creature.

Also, thanks to my sister, I have a new pair of swim goggles and a funky swim cap which is hilarious because it had a small shark fin on the stop and it has a face with sharp teeth as it’s pattern. I am going to wear it to swim practice today.

Mom is going to schedule a doctors appointment to get my heart checked out, just to make sure that everything is okay. It was strange that she suggested we try this because she hates doctors.  I don’t know when I will see the doctor but it should be soon.

 

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Miss Piggy.

Yesterdays practice was bad. Not because it was hard, but because one of the assistant coaches decided to nickname me. Now, everyone, according to the Head Coach, is going to get a nickname; I guess in effort to bring the team together. Not in my case: in my case I got nicknamed “Miss Piggy” without explanation. I know who Miss Piggy is. So this coach is either calling me a drama queen for having panic attacks in the pool, a fat-ass, or having a crush on Kermit. Who’s Kermit on the team?
That day was full of comment from the assistant coach and before you hate all of the coaches, let me say this:
Head Coach is a good guy and so are the other three. It’s just this one.
A lot of people are asking for the details of what happened and so I will give you the full thing (truth be told, it isn’t that exciting.)

A. Caoch: “Alright, what are your nicknames going to be?”

Girl 1: “I’m Bert.”

Girl 2: “Ernie.” I could have sworn that was what she said.

A. Coach looks to me, “Hmm… What should you be called?”

Me: “Just call me Cissy. Everyone calls me that. Seriously: everyone.”

Girl 2: “That’s embarrassing. Cissy? Why?”

Girl 1: “Yeah, why would they do that?”

Me: “I don’t mind, and that’s always what people have called me.”

A. Coach: “I know, we’ll call you Miss Piggy.” I gawk and he smiles/smirks.

Girl 1 and 2: “That’s Muppet’s not Sesame Street. She can be Oscar the Grouch!”

A. Coach: “Eh. I like Miss Piggy.” Then he walked away.
Then when we had to step up and do the IM, one of the girls pipes up and asks Head Coach if it is okay if I just do Free instead of the Butterfly, but I already had just decided that I would do Fly anyway.
The Head Coach looks at me and says, “You Can speak for yourself. I’m not scary, just loud.”
Great. Not only do they think I am a drama queen or fat, they think I am a wimp. This summer is going to be wonderful. Everyone, though, has been telling me to be myself and quip back when people make comments like that. I’ll try.
The other comments made by A. Coach was
“How old are you?”
Me: “Seventeen.”
“You don’t look seventeen.”
Then he tried, earlier, to ask me something in Spanish and one of the girl coaches just said,
“Ignore him.”

I think I will.

Willpower.


I have swim team today and I am nervous because I am worried about having a panic attack. I’m also determined not to have a panic attack.
I purchased a self-help book. Yes, a self-help book; it is a panic, phobia, and anxiety book. So far, it seems to make sense and not just bogus mental mantras. It actually addresses your habits when you’re stressed and what you do when you’re stressed, also what’s going on around you. It addresses the difference between anxiety and panic attacks—anxiety is long term and constant; panic attacks are sudden. I can vouch for both. I think, though, that this year or this summer might be my turning point or at least the start. I am tired of being a liability. I just want to live my life uninterrupted by anxiety and panic. I am tired of being afraid.
Several have asked why don’t I just ask for medication. Well, medication doesn’t solve this kind of disorder—only shear willpower will fix this. I have come to accept that and I think that swim team is actually good for me. It’s a challenge that I have to face everyday: I have to go in front of people, face my fear and master it.
I can do this. I will do this.

99 Problems but a Bitch Ain’t One.


I skipped swim team yesterday for a band meeting. In my defense, though, we (the band) had planned this for a year. I’m kind of nervous about going to swim team on Monday because I made a great impression on my coach the first day and so now he knows me and because my coach seems like the kind of guy who would get pissed about people skipping swim practice.

I’ll rewind a bit,
The first day of swim practice, I had a panic attack. I knew I couldn’t continue, so told the coach, quietly, and got out of the pool. Eventually he came over to see if I was okay; he told me to take my time and to next time tell him before hand, to prevent it from happening. He has panic attacks as well. I got back into the pool and finished swim practice.
I have had more panic attacks in the pool… in front of the team. I cannot convey how embarrassing that it is, for me. I’ve swam on a team since I was three.
The other coaches also know me as well. Where as they forget the others kids names and have to ask, they remember mine. So do the other kids. I am the swim-teams runt. This summer was supposed to be fun, therapeutic, and rewarding. Not embarrassing, nerve-wracking, and a pain in the patella.
This wasn’t the kind of reputation I wanted: “Potential Dead Girl Swimming!”  I will prove that I am not a weakling.  I will not back down from this. I cannot let an anxiety disorder run my life.

No Drama

The most common thing I have heard about panic attacks are that panic attacks are always ‘quite a show’ and that they are dramatic. They’re not, usually; however, that doesn’t mean that they are not any less terrifying, painful, or have any less of an effect on a person. Mine have never been super dramatic or that I can remember.
I have had panic attacks since I was five years old. I get them multiple times per day and what is worse, is that I can’t predict them. I feel out of control. On top of dealing with panic attacks, I deal with depression, eating disorders, and hallucinations . My life has been, what seems, an everlasting battle between self-control and the urge to just let go; go into an insanity spiral.

A good portion of people ask me to describe a panic attack because they find it hard to believe, and I don’t blame them, that I have that many a day. A panic attack for me is as if someone is crushing my heart, while punching me in the stomach, then squeezing my head, and all I want to do is run away screaming or throw things.Yet I am terrified of moving. When I do have a panic attack, my hallucinations goes into overdrive: I see and hear things that only make it worse because I have yet figured out how to control that. On occasion, my seeing things will trigger a panic attack; aside from the random ones.

I am doing my best to deal with all of this with a sense of grace and intelligence. It is hard but I am lucky enough to have the help of my family and friends. That is what this blog will be about: my journey to finding control over my own mind. Hopefully it will work and maybe it will help someone else like me as well.