As I felt a panic attack coming on today and took a preemptive Klonopin, I wondered how it was I kept functioning back before. When I started at my previous case management job, I was a mess. I had nightmares every night of being fired. (This is not new. This happens at every job, including my current one, although with significantly less frequency.) I had a headache for the first six months I worked there, and didn’t really realize it until the last month when I finally went to the doctor. I felt like utter and complete crap most days and was barely able to function at work sometimes. (This… is also not new, and still happens, usually when I don’t let myself get enough sleep for a couple days in a row.) I didn’t have Klonopin back then, not until I was nearly carjacked at work, and ever since, I’ve been using it more and more often. Sometimes this scares me, but I know I only take it when I know I am having or going to have a panic attack. Those have always been there, I just haven’t always had the right tools in my arsenal to combat them properly.

How *did* I survive back then? I can distinctly remember hysterical episodes of crying, or being convinced I was going to die. I can remember periodically freaking out in class or at work, and being sent home or to the counselor’s office. I can remember many, many mornings in college where I was curled in a ball in bed and literally could not get up, especially right before my breakdown. I missed all but about three of my 7:50 classes that semester as a result of being incapable of uncurling. (Thankfully, after being hospitalized for my breakdown, they allowed me to medically withdraw from that class, seems how I was failing it due to my illness.) I can remember plenty of times where I’ve called in to work because I couldn’t breathe and claiming a fever or throwing up, because that’s far more legit than “I am in such a panic I cannot breathe or move, and am currently trapped in a corner of the couch, curled in a ball, so I won’t be making it to work today.” My only real coping skill for dealing with a panic attack was sleep, and that doesn’t exactly a productive Nadja make.

Now, since getting a psychiatrist and a psychologist, and a steady prescription of Klonopin, my coping has drastically improved. While I still feel like crap, and sometimes still wake curled up in a ball, or feel like I can’t breathe, after taking a pill I quickly find relief and am able to return to my life. Granted, I continue to feel somewhat off, but the immediate panic symptoms abate somewhat and I feel like I’ve been wrapped in a comfortable blanket to ward off the evils of the world. I guess Klonopin is like Linus’ blanket; a shield between myself and the world, a constant companion I know I can count on to help me feel safe and comfortable. I keep a couple pills in their original bottle in my purse at all times, and can always trust that relief should come soon.



Filed under Now, Then

5 responses to “Contemplations

  1. Just wanted to let you know, reading this was a prompt to me to contact the registrar and disabilities coordinator at my school. “medically withdraw” struck a chord. I couldn’t do it class by class, but I’m securing FMLA leave, which essentially gives me a mulligan on the semester, and (best yet) preserves my financial aid, because I can retake the courses at no additional cost. Thank you.

    • I’m glad to hear that! I’m sorry that you had to withdraw, but I’m glad that you’re taking care of yourself, AND preserving your financial aid! Even though I was still a few credits short, that little “M” saved my scholarships and my school was horrifically expensive! (Still is, as I’ve got a lot of loans to pay off…)

  2. What’s more, realizing that I needed to do this helped me figure out why, exactly, I’ve crashed and burned at SEVERAL colleges over the years. It has nothing at ALL to do with mastery of the material… so I’ve sorted out with the disabilities coordinator some strategies that might keep me on track. So, again, thank you.

    • How are things going? Have you seen any improvement since you mentioned this?

      • Well, I’ve only bailed on one class so far this semester, and it was for a schedule conflict, not an I-don’t-wanna-go. The instructors KNOW I’ve got issues, and one is letting me use my iPod in class for notes, and another is amenable to me knitting in class (which really helps my auditory focusing ability). Don’t have any grades yet. So… I guess I’ll talk more about it on my lj, when I have grades?

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