I recently had a scary incident where my antibiotics interfered with my medication and I spiraled into a unhealthy mental state.
Even though I had sever bronchitis I was feeling great. I was so happy to be alive and in love with my husband and pets. The little girl I had dreamed of a year ago was finally born to my sister. I sat on the couch wrapped up in my favorite comforter drinking oloong tea and doing word search puzzles. My soul was amazed by all of the wonderful colors and sounds in the world. I was living in the present moment despite being ill. I felt so enlightened! People had talked about how attitude was everything and I was sure this was what they meant. In the face of discomfort you look for what happiness and beauty you can.
Then the infection caused my lungs to fill with fluid and I started wheezing and using my inhaler more and more. I knew I needed to get to the doctor. He told me I needed to be on antibiotics. Once a week an in home social worker visits to check on me. I called to let her know I was ill and had to cancel. She said, “You know the antibiotics will mess with your psych meds.” I asked her how long that would take and she said sometimes right away. I griped the phone a little tighter as I said bye. The first thing I did was let my husband know so he would be on the lookout for odd behavior such as rocking, extreme nervousness, paranoia, flashes of anger or sadness.
After being on antibiotics a few days I went to the pharmacy to pick up refills of my regular medication and asked about my husbands inhaler. I was told it would be a moment and the pharmacist went to the back area. The clock said 2 pm. I remembered how the pharmacy was almost robbed once. The area I live in is a high meth area. The next area code over, 417, is actually the name of one form of meth sold on the west coast. As I stood by the counter I saw the store door open. I turned and faced an armed gunman in blue jeans and a black ski mask. Just as I was about to jump back and hide behind a shelf he disappeared. I crossed my arms across my chest as the illusion played over again and again. At some point I took an anxiety pill that dissolves under the tongue and sat down in the far corner to meditate and do my measured breathing. I was just a few chairs from a kind looking elderly couple.
One of the disorienting things about a panic attack is time distortion. Patrons came in. Mainly men so I took in every detail of what they were wearing, how they sounded, their height, their conversations. “Would one of them pull a gun? It could happen. It could happen. It could happen.” I looked over the shelves of eye care, indigestion products, feminine care and more over and over and over again until I had many of the shelves almost memorized.
You can never get used to panic attacks and mania. Only learn how to manage them by memorizing the steps until they are muscle memory.
The clock read 2:03. I inhaled deeply realizing I wasn’t doing my mediation and breathing. I closed my eyes, which takes a hell of a lot of bravery and trust when you think you’re gonna get attacked. And this is when Paganism has added me with my illness. Though I have a close relationship with Gaia she and my guides have taught me to find that inner eternal brilliance. I reached inside bringing it forth and even reached above me to the universal light to surround me so I could find a sense of empowerment in my moment of terror.
By the time the pharmacist called my name at 2:06 I was almost breathing normally. I would be all right.
Keeping our mind and body healthy is a tricky balance. For some it swings widely. I learned that I would much rather feel a degree of physical illness then mental illness. As long as I have my positive attitude I can survive. Without it I’m lost.