Today I went in for my monthlyÂ prenatal appointment (I’m at 17 weeks!), armed with a few questions about some new, disturbingÂ “side effects”Â I’ve been experiencing this pregnancy.Â With the firstÂ occurrence being about a month ago, I’ve been havingÂ pretty regular (but unpredictable) panic attacks.
I wrote a littleÂ quip on Facebook aÂ few weeks ago about crying on an airportÂ tram in Vegas, but really they’re very scary. I know a bunch of you are going to be all “oh haha I’ve totally had those before don’t worry about it” – but I have NEVER experienced anything like this, and it scares the crap outta me. I don’t get high anxiety, IÂ don’t worry myself to death about anything and I certainly have never had a claustrophobic panic-like attack. Until this baby (grubby little boy, I’m telling you).
So this is what happens: I’m minding my own business, definitely not thinking about scary things or worrying about anything, when all of a sudden my chestÂ starts to feel like someone has put a giantÂ strap around it and is slowly tightening it. Then my breath quickens, I immediately start sweating, and in some cases I’ve gotten that tunnel vision where you starts to see stars and darkening around the edge of yourÂ sightline. WHAT THE F*CK IS THAT ALL ABOUT???Â
It’e definitely influenced by the number of people in my vicinity (read: this baby is antisocial), and temperature makes everything worse (read: no more Hawaii or Vegas). So… please don’t invite me to any parties in small spaces, okay? I’ve now experienced “the crazy” in a limo, on a crowded beach, in an elevator, on an airport tram, and most recently in a movie theater. Seriously, a movie theater?? But I really wanna go see Magic Mike next month!!
ANYHOO… I spoke to the doctor about it and she did offer to put me on Zoloft or a beta blocker. When I said I’d reeeeeeally rather not take a daily pill that alters my brain chemistry while I’m pregnant, she said there were a few coping mechanisms I could try out:
First, ummm, don’t put myself in small spaces with lots of people (lol DUH). Second, apply pressure to my hand between my thumb and my forefinger. Third, chew gum! Doc says that when you press your lips together and chew gum, it sends anti-anxiety signals to your brain. My thoughts when I heard all of these suggestions? “Well good! I’ll just head to Costco and buy an economy pack of Trident!”
Now, here is that same information presented to Adam in a phone call 5 minutes later:
Adam: Hi honey. How did the appt go – are you still crazy?
Me: Hardy har. Yes, but she gave me some suggestions on how to work through the insanity. Apparently chewing gum is comething that will help, because pressing yor lips together can send anti-anxiety signals to your brain!
Adam: So basically the medical doctor told you that whenever you feel crazy to press your lips together and keep your mouth occupied?
Me: Um, NO, she said to CHEW GUM. I see where this is going, sicko.
Adam: I can think of something else you could do that costs less than a pack of gum…
So… now Adam seems to think I got a doctor-backed prescription to give bjs whenever I feel panicky. Funny, I didn’t see that one coming.