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.