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Panic attack, what’s that? Part one!

Hi all! It’s been quite a while since I first started this wonderful blog. What can I say, I had high hopes and then life happened. I'm at a place again where I’d love to make this blog life a reality and use my words to not only assist in my own mental health and wellness, but maybe reach some others along the way.

SO…what’s next?

It would probably help some to know why my anxiety began, and what I did to help work through it. Keep in mind, this is always a work in progress, but I'm finally at a place where I don’t need the help of professionals or books to help me along the way. AND everyone's experiences and healing process are different, I am also in no way a doctor/therapist, please be sure to consult the right person when it comes to true medical advice.

I'll take you back to June, 2019 when Dave and I had just barely moved back to the PNW after living in Chicago for almost five years. We were stressed from moving, getting new jobs and attempting to buy a house. OH and trying to secretly get pregnant which was a private struggle no one knew much about! One of our couple friends had gifted us with tickets to our favorite band (shout out to Dispatch!!) in Denver at Red Rocks amphitheater, so we made a trip of it with them and decided to go for a long weekend and a break from all the moving madness.

Pictures from our first home purchase - what an experience that was, it needed a lot of love to make it a home!

While there, our friends took us to see one of the most beautiful mountains, Mt. Evan’s, which just happens to have the highest paved road in North America. Now if you know me, I am horribly terrified of heights and this lovely road was a sheer drop off on one side… awesome. One thing that's always been hard for me (and I know now has always been a trigger for fear), when I'm not the one in control, I automatically think something horrible is going to happen. Hence my other huge fear, flying (yay!) So, our good friend was driving, and was by no means being crazy. He was incredibly cautious and slow, however in Danika's brain I was FREAKING out on every curve and turn.

This picture was taken before we made our way up the mountain, the base had a beautiful lake!

As we continued inching our way up, I started to panic internally more and more. I was squeezing Dave's hand tighter and tighter, and finally told him, "something doesn't feel right, I need to turn around." At first he looked at me shocked, but then quickly realized how serious I was. I began having a hard time breathing, I felt like I had just finished a marathon, I couldn't catch my breath. My head was pounding, almost that same strong hung over pounding some of us have experienced in our early twenties after too many tequila shots (thanks Matador ;)). At this point my heart was racing so fast, I felt like I was going to pass out. Our friend decided to stop at the bathroom, located about two thirds of the way up so I could rest. When I stood up to get out of the car, my legs basically stopped working, I almost fell to the ground and couldn't stand long enough to actually go pee five feet away.

Now, since we were with friends who really wanted to make it to the top, I felt REALLY guilty asking them to turn around, so I tried to hide away everything I was feeling (call it middle child syndrome I suppose). This was a horrible idea. Instead, everything got worse very quickly. We finally turned around with the top of the mountain in sight. At this point I was in tears, couldn't speak to Dave, and was trying to remember any of my yoga breathing techniques to help catch my breath. When we made it to the bottom, I had to pee so horribly bad I told Dave I needed to try and go in the lodge. Again, my legs were failing me! When I finally mustered up the courage to go inside, I almost passed out on the toilet (never shared that with you, Dave, sorry!) On my slow walk back outside, I saw the lodge sold mini oxygen tanks...apparently a lot of people get elevation or altitude sickness on this drive, GO figure. Now, as much as I was in pain/terrified and still wasn't quite sure what my body had done, I was trying to hold it together in front of Dave and our friends, so I tried brushing it all off as best as I could.

After having one of the hardest days I've ever experienced, we were supposed to go to a bar and see one of our favorite bands give a mini show, the night before they played at Red Rocks. I tried to rally and decided to head out, since this was a pretty huge deal. After about 2 hours and 10 trips to the bathroom....with continued panic attacks, and feeling like I still couldn't quite catch my breath, I decided I needed to head back to our Airbnb. Luckily, I had a wonderful friend who had recently moved to Denver, pick me up so Dave could stay and enjoy the show. She proceeded to sit with me, and talk me through everything I was experiencing. She brought me all kinds of goodies, and shared a similar experience she had on a Mountain as least I felt valid in my pain at this point!

THAT NIGHT - I probably got 2-3 hours of sleep

I could go on and on about the rest of the weekend, how horrible I felt the entire time, how much the concert the next night was an actual nightmare on my ear drums... but in short, this experience set me up to have one of the worst next years of my life.

Before I go on, I just have to give a shout out to my AMAZINGLY wonderful husband who stood by me through ER visits/Urgent Care/Chiropractors/Neurologists/ENT's/Massage Therapist...and an endless amount of complaining. Not only did he listen to my complaints every day about my constant pain from this event, but also dealt with my middle of the night anxiety attacks, crying sessions, and downright frustration over the lack of anyone believing me when I said something was wrong. I also am incredibly thankful for the rest of my family and a handful of friends who listened to all my complaints, and stood by me through all of this!

The day after our concert, trying to mask my exhaustion/anxiety/and lingering head pain - soaking in the last bit of Denver

Part two coming up...! Stay tuned for more :)


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