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The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends

The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends | A Chronic Voice

I’m writing this whilst in a mentally unsound state of being, for a bit of cathartic release at 1am. Anxiety and panic attacks have been plaguing me for months. I had a full blown panic attack yesterday, the sort where I collapse onto the floor and heave, and wail, and scream my lungs out, not caring if the neighbours hear me.

Because that’s how it feels like inside my head. And it’s been bubbling, bubbling, bubbling for months. My daily antidepressants – vortioxetine and escitalopram – are already maxed out. They’ve helped to dig the well of tolerance a little deeper, but just barely. They have stopped the suicidal ideations though, so that’s something, I guess.

Xanax, the Great Slayer of Panic Attacks

Did I tell you that I love my xanax? No, I don’t take it daily. Not even for weeks on end at times. And no, I’m not an addict. (If you have a problem with medications for mental disorders, go educate yourself – on the right channels.) It’s a short term medication to control anxiety and panic attacks. And when I’m having one of those, xanax really kills their engines. I don’t even get high, I just get calm. Not even calm like post flotation therapy or yoga calm. But calm as in ‘I feel normal again and can function without that jittery bug fluttering all over my brain and heart and body’. It feels so good to be normal. Just normal.

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Read: The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends /// No, I don’t take xanax daily. Not even for weeks on end at times. And no, I’m not an addict. (If you have a problem with medications for mental disorders, go educate yourself – on the right channels.) #mentalhealthawareness #stigma #mentaldisorder #anxiety

Disappointment After Disappointment

I guess you could say it’s been disappointment after disappointment. In myself, in my business, in my family relationships, in my health, in the way I manage or don’t manage my health.

I’ve been panting all day today, and had another anxiety attack. The xanax snapped me back into myself again. And I needed absolute darkness and silence. Even the soft sounds from my friend’s phone had to be plugged into earphones, because even that tingled and taunted the edges of my brain. It isn’t ‘irritation’ in its simple form, but one that carries pulses of electrical anxiety via the nerves of my brain. The pulses turn into currents, and the currents into a gushing flood. They carry these little anxiety ‘bugs’ that burrow into that soft space of my brain, sucking serenity out of me, transferring their waste into me. Then finally, it culminates and bleeds and explodes. That sort of ‘irritation’.

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Read: The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends /// It isn’t ‘irritation’ in its simple form, but one that carries pulses of electrical anxiety via the nerves of my brain. The pulses turn into currents, and the currents into a gushing flood. They carry these little anxiety ‘bugs’ that burrow into that soft space of my brain, sucking serenity out of me, transferring their waste into me. Then finally, it culminates and bleeds and explodes. #anxiety #panicattacks

Half my body was tingling and numb. It was frightful. I catastrophized as usual, and I have every right to. Worst things have happened within hours, even minutes. That absolute silence. That absolute darkness. It is something I can’t get at home. There is no compromise without a backlash of sorts. So I swallow, and swallow, and swallow, and burst. And swallow some more.

There is a Big Difference Between ‘Producing’ & ‘Productivity’

I honestly didn’t think that I’d start my entry for the linkup this way. In fact, I wasn’t even motivated to write it, because I have 101 things on my todo list. 101 maybe not-all-important things but need-to-do want-to-do things.

I admit. I am addicted to productivity. There is a difference between ‘producing’ and ‘productivity’, though. What I think I’m doing: producing. What people think I’m busy with: productivity. What I’m actually doing: producing without prioritising and self-care and therefore, the exact opposite concept of productivity.

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Read: The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends /// I admit. I am addicted to productivity. There is a difference between ‘producing’ and ‘productivity’, though. What I think I’m doing: producing. What people think I’m busy with: productivity. What I’m actually doing: producing without prioritising and self-care and therefore, the exact opposite concept of productivity. #productivity #producing #selfcare
Read: The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends /// I admit. I am addicted to productivity. There is a difference between ‘producing’ and ‘productivity’, though. What I think I’m doing: producing. What people think I’m busy with: productivity. What I’m actually doing: producing without prioritising and self-care and therefore, the exact opposite concept of productivity. #productivity #producing #selfcare

The Addiction to Achievement

I also read this book this month, and the very first character in the list was ‘Achiever’, which caught my full attention because it felt like they were describing me to a T. I read all the other characters in the book, and found one or two more I could semi-relate to, but nothing like the ‘Achiever’ one. I am not a perfectionist, but I do like a good quality, tangible result. Here are some of the statements that I could totally relate to:

“You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by ‘every day’ you mean every single day – workdays, weekends, vacations.”

“After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you. As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. It does have its benefits.”

“Remember to build celebration and recognition into your life. Achievers tend to move on to their next challenge without acknowledging their successes.”

“Count personal achievements in your scoring ‘system’. This will help you direct your Achiever talents toward family and friends as well as toward work.”

Strengthen What You’re Already Good At to Go Further

As I read through each character profile, I could imagine various friends, but of course, not a 100% fit but a mélange. Nobody is a 100%, I would think, even if a trait is dominant. The book is interesting in the sense that it believes in strengthening your strengths, as opposed to continuous ‘improvement’ on your weaknesses, and the struggle that comes along with something that isn’t inherently natural. To sum it up from the book:

“From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to our shortcomings than our strengths. This is quite apparent in the way we create icons out of people who struggle to overcome a lack of natural talent.”

“The inspirational nature of this story actually masks a significant problem: Overcoming deficits is an essential part of the fabric of our culture.” (Does the word ‘ableism’ sound familiar here?)

“You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.”

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Read: The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends /// “You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.” - Strengths Finder 2.0 #book #selfawareness #strength

It was quite eye-opening, and the book was a quick, easy read:

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So, I Suppose Imposter Syndrome is a Real Thing

I’ve been working on my business site which seems to go on and on to no end. Tweaking endlessly to get it perfect, knowing I might not even get any business when it launches. Fear of not being a ‘real’ expert with all the solutions to every problem a client may have. I have this thing where I feel I need to be a real ‘expert’ before I offer my services for money. But really, we all learn along the way, and I do have sufficient knowledge to provide these services. I never really believed in imposter syndrome, but maybe, this is what it actually is.

Killing It on My 101 Todo List of Nothingness

I haven’t been producing any new blog posts of my own. I have no motivation, and it feels like the blog is dying a slow death. I don’t know. I had plans to expand on Antiphospholipid Syndrome knowledge, things I’ve learned the hard way, the long way after 20 years, since I was a tween. But I haven’t even gotten around to that since January. Talk about procrastination. With the 101 todo list of nothingness.

I’ve been producing so much. Problem is, if you ask me what I’ve been really producing, I can’t even remember anything of significance, or any major milestones. Maybe my mind is in a block right now, and I am simply too exhausted to even think. I have been flaring for weeks, and can’t even lie down properly to get enough sleep. I haven’t slept in two days, so I guess that contributed to the meltdown. A small, final trigger was all it took to cause that explosion. And all it takes is a few mean words. Or the tone in speech. Thinking about it now makes me feel a tad embarrassed. Because it seemed like nothing major to cause such a reactive, emotional outburst.

Digital Marketing & Online Business Reads

I’ve been acquiring lots of new tidbits of information in digital marketing, SEO, and online business. Through a Digital Marketing Strategist course I took to become certified, and through reading a number of new books and articles. If there’s one thing I’m happy about, it’s that I seem to have formed a morning reading routine, because I actually want to learn more, and my appetite for this knowledge is voracious. I’m curious. It’s helpful information. It will help my business. It’s fascinating all at once. These are the books I’ve read or am currently reading, and would recommend, should you be interested, too:

A Scotch Whisky Name for a Scottish Dog

I’ve also acquired, if you could call it that, a little shetland sheepdog pup whom I named long before I got him. COVID-19 has made even pets difficult to acquire, so I’ve been stalking all the dog pages for months every day. The last time I booked an appointment to view some sheltie pups the following day after they arrived was a no go; the pups were sold out within two hours from their pics being posted.

Talisker, a brand of whisky that I quite enjoy (Ardbeg comes first ❤). Perfect name I think, for a Scottish dog. I love him and his name, although I hadn’t imagined that people have difficulty pronouncing his name here. Haha. My parents have already given him different nicknames. He’s only two months old, tinier than he actually looks in pictures, still needs 18 hours of rest a day, and yes – I’m happy to wait for him to take his time to grow up, and savour every bit of it.

Switching from Baby to Adult Foods & What I’ve Learned

I’ve been panting (how unfit) just running after him cleaning up, playing, feeding, and so on. I think it’s good training or to get a taste of what it feels like to have an actual human baby. For the future. I’ll start with the dog. I’m totally green to this whole dog caring thing though, and already keep worrying when he shows signs of lethargy, or rash, or something else. I’m worried about the finances involved as well, as I need to wait for another two months before I can buy him insurance. I don’t know how or what to feed him yet, and am just sticking to what the pet shop has fed him thus far, and switching him slowly to a variety of foods.

But I know I’ll learn, just like with my birds. It was so scary syringe-feeding something tinier than your thumb, but now I can feed a batch of six chicks within 5 – 10 minutes. Going back to my business – that really should be the approach I should take. Learn along the way. Enjoy the learning process. Learn from the mistakes (thankfully nobody is going to die when it comes to work, as compared to caring for newborn animals). Move on, and gain experience like that. I need to break free of that rigidity, but it’s ingrained in my personality, partially embedded as the eldest kid from young, so it can be a bit of a struggle. But I’ll have to try.

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One sleepy dinosaur.

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Just some hungry little baby birds 💕🐣🐥🍼

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Forming Lovely Friendships on CISP That Goes Beyond Moderating

I’ve been forming such lovely relationships with my moderators over at CISP (Chronic Illness Social Pod). The group chat has evolved from moderating the share threads, to daily check ins on each other, virtual support, and a close-knit group where we talk about everything under the sun. From politics and COVID-19 where we live, to social media Q&As, and more. What makes it even more interesting is that we’re all from different countries – Singapore, UK, USA and India respectively. So there’s four global perspectives right there, and I really really love that. (Read: World Arthritis Day ‘COVID-19 Time Capsule’ with Sheryl from Singapore)

We’ve also started an Instagram account where we’re featuring spoonies, their medical conditions, stories and accounts. Anyone is welcome to be featured, whether they’re part of our Facebook Group or not. Get in touch with all of us on Instagram here, and if you want to be featured too, drop us an email at: [email protected] (We might take a while to respond and get your post up because we’re chronically ill too, just like you 😉 )

Competition Amongst the Chronically Ill is Ridiculous

We’re big on community, reciprocation, fairness and advocacy. It’s wonderful to have a team who lift each other up, where we can share about a bad day, and the good. It really is such a blessing for me, and I’m so happy to have these lovely people in my life. If there’s one thing I don’t want in CISP as it continues to slowly grow and expand, it is competition amongst each other.

I believe that competition amongst spoonies is ridiculous. We’re outnumbered as it is, and need to respect each other’s perspectives, believe in each other’s pain, and not become the society whom we claim is ableist and abusive. To sum that up with a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche:

“Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you”.

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We’ve also started an Instagram account where we’re featuring spoonies, their medical conditions, stories and accounts. Anyone is welcome to be featured, whether they’re part of our Facebook Group or not. Get in touch with all of us on Instagram here. #spoonies #chronicillness #chronicpain #cisp #chronicillnesssocialpod
Read: The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends /// I believe that competition amongst spoonies is ridiculous. We’re outnumbered as it is, and need to respect each other’s perspectives, believe in each other’s pain, and not become the society whom we claim is ableist and abusive. #perspective #chronicillness #spoonies #society #ableism

An Everlasting Bond Requires Cultivation

And whilst we’re on the topic of forming, of course I have to add that I hope to form a bond with Talisker that is everlasting and unbreakable. A timeless, unspoken love. One that I will work on cultivating, together with him.

And yes, also with my cute little cockatiels who are my fluffy little supporters. Speaking of which, one of the contributors to the meltdown was that I discovered dozens of bugs crawling on Stella (mummy bird) in the nest box, and freaked out. We had to throw the nestbox away, along with all their wooden stands and toys, disinfect the cages, spray the birds with bug spray, and fumigate my room late into the night. It didn’t help that I had had three appointments at the hospital earlier that day, and was already completely bushed from barely sleeping the night before.

Months of Little Panic Attacks Stewing in a Giant Pot

Adrenaline got me going, and I was sweating like a pig in the humid heat of Singapore. As my room was fumigated, I had to sleep on the couch for the night, and the small table fan didn’t do much to relieve the heat. Combined with the aches and pain all over my body, I obviously didn’t sleep much at all, and the morning sun might have triggered my Lupus a little bit more as well.

And whilst I thought that I could rest up the next day, a string of unpredictable events meant that I had to push through once again. So when those few mean words were uttered at night, I couldn’t handle anything anymore. Months of little panic attacks were stirred into a giant pot and exploded, splattering its ugliness everywhere.

Whilst a kind stranger on a Cockatiel FB Group in Singapore took Stella’s eggs in for incubation as she didn’t want to sit on them anymore, only one egg survived. I will probably keep it, and call it ‘Bug’. Just kidding. Let’s just hope it’s healthy when it hatches.

Someone Please Switch My Brain Off

I can’t remember what I wanted to talk about with the ‘switching’ prompt originally. It’d be nice though, if I could just switch my brain off for a couple hours. Total nothingness. Total bliss. No anxiety, no panic attacks, no depression, no worries, no pain.

I actually really enjoy going under general anaesthesia. I love it when the anaesthetist puts that mask over my nose and mouth and asks me to count down from 10. That quick disappearance into nothingness; I love blacking out like that.

Of course, I don’t enjoy waking up to post-surgery pain and nausea. That’s the obvious drawback. And NO. I don’t want to undergo GA anytime soon, because that means surgery, and surgery means pain, and hospital stays. Things that I now have developed phobias of. I will do anything to stay out of the hospital. Once they’ve figured out what the problem is, I am always begging the doctor to let me go home, and to let me monitor my condition and recover from home, if it’s juuuust stable enough to do so. I hate hospital stays. End of conversation on that one.

Self-Soothing Bites You in the Ass in the Long Run

I guess something else that I need to switch is my lifestyle. It isn’t healthy I admit, even for a healthy person. Late nights, stress from everywhere – often self-inflicted – not the best diet, lack of exercise, cigarettes…the list goes on. Perhaps some of these I use to self-soothe, but I also know that it’s a vicious cycle that bites you in the ass in the end, yet I still go there for the immediate relief, even if brief. I guess I do need to switch things up slowly. But I have no motivation to do so, not much at least.

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Read: The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends /// Perhaps some of these I use to self-soothe, but I also know that it’s a vicious cycle that bites you in the ass in the end, yet I still go there for the immediate relief, even if brief. I guess I do need to switch things up slowly. #selfsoothing #selfcare #mentalhealth #depression

Lockdown vs Locked in Physically & Mentally

I feel that as long as I’m living with my parents 24/7 in lockdown and lock in mode for now, I’m trapped. Mostly inside my head. Which affects everything else. Corrodes every other aspect of my life. Once again I’d like to emphasise, I don’t hate my parents. We get on mostly okay, although my way of thinking is so different from theirs that it’s impossible to share any real thoughts without getting lectured. So it’s all surface talk. So when I had that breakdown, even though they were both there beside me, I had to call a friend and beg him to help save me. I’m not sure how to describe it, but there it is.

I need space. Lots of it. I need darkness. I need pure silence. I need nothing. I need so much nothing right now.

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Read: The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends /// When a panic attack strikes: I need space. Lots of it. I need darkness. I need pure silence. I need nothing. I need so much nothing right now. #panicattack #anxiety #mentalhealth

*Note: This article is meant for educational purposes and is based on the author’s personal experiences. It is not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor before changing or adding any new treatment protocols.

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Cathartic Writing at 1am (Post Panic Attack) /// Anxiety and panic attacks have been plaguing me with the lockdown and lock in. But a new pup and internet friends with chronic illness have sustained me. #panicattack #anxiety #lockdown
Read: The Savagery of Panic Attacks & The Saving Grace of Internet Friends /// Anxiety and panic attacks have been plaguing me with the lockdown and lock in. But a new pup and internet friends with chronic illness have sustained me. #internetfriends #chronicillness #mentalillness

The Plague of Anxiety, Depression and Panic Attacks /// Anxiety and panic attacks have been plaguing me with the lockdown and lock in. But a new pup and internet friends with chronic illness have sustained me. #anxiety #depression #panicattacks

28 comments

  • Sheryl, just reading this post makes me realise that you are doing too much, pushing yourself too far. You can allow yourself to self soothe, in fact it’s a necessity. I hope you can get your brain in check and stop the panic attacks. I love your little dog xx

    • Aww thanks Anne. Maybe I have, yet feel that I’m still unproductive, because I haven’t really closed many business deals of late! Finances can sure take an impact.

  • Hello Sheryl, I am sorry that you are having such a horrible time mentally at the moment, and when reading this, I hope you are feeling better. Anxiety and panic attacks are extremely horrible and such an isolating experience knowing from experience. I think it’s incredibly brave that you have shared your experiences in a beautifully raw and honest post. I hope your beautiful new dog (seriously in love! 😍) is giving you much comfort and joy during this difficult time. Sending hugs and take care of yourself xx

    • Aww thanks Rhiann. He’s been a brat (which pup isn’t right?) but an adorable brat! Thanks for the love, sending some right back to you!

  • Your over-tired brain still did a great job of describing your life this month, Sheryl. I had a lot more anxiety at the beginning of this pandemic. I also had a lot more trouble sleeping. Lately, it’s depression sucking me down. I’ve been so very tired since having pneumonia, and I’m not sure that it’s all due to that infection. I miss my little doggie. I’m so happy you found such a cute furry friend. Hugs!

    • Thanks Kathy, I have no idea how, but it seems like a pretty random post I wrote there, ha. My depression and anxiety are at peak levels too, and am also trying to get them down. Like chronic pain, they fluctuate, so it can be hard to control and frustrating. Aww…I hope you can get a furry companion again sometime. 🙂

  • I’m sorry things have been so hard 💜 I have used valium for pain related panic attacks and there’s often no other recourse for me once it gets that bad. Thankful we have these meds. I’m hoping for better days for you.

    • Thank you lovely. Yes I think it can be hard for others to understand why we even need these meds, and med shame us. But these meds are serious lifesavers.

  • I related to a lot of what you’ve said here about anxiety and panic attacks but what hit home most to me is the little part about switching your brain off. The closest I’ve ever been to general anesthesia was a couple of years ago when I had my wisdom teeth removed and I remember that feeling of no racing thoughts, no anxiety, no panic, no negative thoughts and mostly no pain, none, zip. First time I ever remember not having some sort of pain. I remember being awake enough to hear someone say “oh that’s gonna hurt later” but at the time I was just so pain-free and so free of any worries and I just wanted to stay that way. Needless to say, I did hurt later but at the time it was the most blissful feeling in the world. I am sorry you are having such a hard time right now and have so much going on. I hope you can take some comfort and joy in your new little puppy. My husband and I rescued two kittens during the lockdown and though one of them sadly passed away I have poured myself heart and soul into the other one who is thriving and with who I have developed such a special bond with which has helped so much!

    • Haha yes anaesthesia can be great like that hey…until the pain hits hard later :p But that nothingness feels so good. No pain, for once. I am so sorry to hear that one kitten passed away 🙁 I hope the other is doing well now?

  • Sheryl,
    Sending you hugs and love! That’s a lot of overwhelm and fear that you’re struggling with! I understand those anxiety flares, I have had them myself – though only one event I’d describe as a panic attack.
    It”s really hard to do anything near thinking logically and your description felt very apt.
    I also deeply understand the stress of living with parents.. I moved in with my mother for financial reasons a year or so after my father’s death, and it was incredibly painful. My father had always been calmly supportive, with my mother being much less predictable/reliable and my mother leaned on me emotionally during the time. Between that and the intensity of constantly being aware of my father’s absence, things were very painful and stressful. We all got through it, but I felt much better after I moved out of the house and had something resembling my own space.
    Your ending words are sticking with me – that desire for dark, quiet nothingness. I understand that urge a bit, when things seem too chaotic and out of control, but I know that my personal actions tend to be towards activity, light, and action. I have a hard time staying still, being calm, or keeping things quiet. I’ve accepted this part of my contradictory nature, and I suspect that we have some similarities on that front. Reading your thoughts on ‘producing’ I feel that identity too – I tend to feel like I HAVE to be productive and make new, different, exciting things – and create value. Finding the right balance with that is hard, but I think you’ve given yourself a seedling of an idea.
    I have several self-care expectations for myself that I do before get down to ‘work’ and one of my most important shifts in expectation was to prioritize my self-care as essential to do before working on my blog or business. Maybe something like that would help you too. To actually be more productive, you need to be healthier – eating decently, exercising regularly, and so on. Maybe you can, like I did, build some of that into your daily self-expectations so that you can get work done more days and feel better when doing so.
    I’m so sorry that Stella had an infestation and I really hope that the surviving egg hatches a healthy chick.
    Love your puppy and let him love you back! He may also be a great tool for helping you get some more regular exercise by going out for walks together!

    • Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts in such detail, Alison 🙂 It really is much harder than it sounds, isn’t it? It isn’t just ‘get up and fix it’, especially when anxiety and depression are pushing you down. Quite a vicious cycle really. Like you know what will help, yet can’t reach out for it, and do just the opposite to feel better, which doesn’t help!

  • Great post, Sheryl! I’m a day late coming over here to read it, but will be snooping around your site for my weekly ‘drive-by’.

    Panic attacks are awful, but look at you making the best of it by writing at 1am! I try to avoid writing so late, but sometimes that need is so strong and so undeniable, you just have to do it! Fantastic! I always find I’m strongest with writing when I’m upset and it’s late.

    As for your comments about business, it’s tough. As someone who runs a giant online HR business, I can say that it’s very stressful. We wear so many different hats to keep things going. We’re dealing with teachers and schools in countries all over the world and the time and effort we have to put into our website, soc med accounts, newsletters, and all the other little things that crop up with running your own business – especially during a pandemic – none of it will ever be perfect. But we do know that our program is highly rated and that our teachers appreciate that and it helps because we’re way behind on perfecting our site! (Actually it’s just me since my husband doesn’t know much. It’s hard!) I guess what I’m trying to say is to go easy on yourself. There’s only so much you can do and you also need to keep your health in mind.

    Take good care. You do an excellent job with everything that you do!

    • Haha ‘drive by’…I like the sound of that :p Yes I usually don’t write well at all at night, but it is also cathartic for me, and I just needed to immerse myself. I write best when in pain…the irony. Do I then have to always be in pain to be my best? 😛 Haha.

  • I’m sorry you’ve been having such an incredibly rough time of it mentally. Anxiety can be overwhelming and all-consuming, and panic attacks are very unpleasant (understatement of the century). I think it’s amazing you wrote this at 1am while feeling the way you were. You did brilliantly with the prompts, and I really like that you’ve written about meds because there’s still so much stigma sadly attached to them for mental health or pain. I’m actually having to go back on Citalopram because my anxiety has become unmanageable again. I only came off them because I’d had to up the pain meds and regularly have to use migraine meds, and mixing them all isn’t too great an idea.

    Anyway, waffle waffle. I personally feel totally wrung out, with too much to do as I’m trying to take on more for my parents as they shield, and not enough time. I’m never well enough and doing too much makes my health worse. I don’t ever get to the things I’d ‘like’ to do, which makes me a tiny bit resentful of the to-do list at times. Productivity is something I’m also addicted to. Your look into productivity vs producing is interesting. Like you, I feel I’ve not been producing so much. I think some of that is when there’s little that’s meaningful. I can ‘do’ lots of stuff, but not much has particular meaning. It’s painful. It’s like how badly I want to write a book but I never will; that would feel meaningful and productive, but I don’t get the time and I don’t have the energy. What we probably both would benefit from is the world stopping, just briefly, so we can catch our breath, catch up with life, and start afresh.

    Ditto your thoughts on competition in the chronic illness realm. I find it pretty sick and very frustrating when people try to do it. I also just wanted to say I don’t think – and I’m pretty sure nobody else does either – that your blog is ‘dying a slow death’. It’s very much alive, it’s very much a top chronic illness blog, and you my friend are very much loved in this community.

    I wouldn’t mind taking a digital marketing course actually. Maybe some graphic design too (where you just design and move things around, as I can’t draw to save my life). I’m trying to learn a bit more on the SEO front, too.

    What a sweetie Talisker is! I love the name too, perfect. I think my invisible dog would have to be called Jack Daniel’s or Jim Beam 😆

    An incredible post, Sheryl. Sending lots of love & gentle hugs your way 🤗♥

    • Thank you for all the lovely comments and conversation here, Caz 🙂 Haha I write best when in any sort of pain. The irony, hey? As if I need to be in permanent pain to always write my best lol.

      And yes panic attacks are horrendous. I think you can’t really understand it, until you’ve had a full blown one. THey are also my pre-seizure auras, where the panic rushes through my body from head to toe, so that adds to the fear that I might be getting a seizure. DOuble whammy.

      And yes, I really hate all that unnecessary competition. We need to be supporting each other. Sending hugs xxx

  • There is so much you have said here – so much to absorb. For when you write of being an achiever, producing-productivity, the bond of online friends, for not having competition… everything speaks to me and I’m sure all of us. We connect with you in all this and I hope you know how special it is what you do.

    I feel, sometimes, we don’t realise it, but when we think we’re not producing, when we’re reading, experimenting – basically when we’re learning, we really are being productive because we’re creating foundations with valuable knowledge which consciously and sub-consciously help us during the times we believe are “productive” – it all reduces the effort that goes into “producing”.

    I just wanna end by saying two more things… good luck with your business website – you know your stuff and I believe your clients will see that… and… we love you Sherrryyyyylllllll!!! 😀

    • I love that view point Shruti…you are always so full of wisdom and perspective! 🙂 Yes I too believe that everything is connected and nothing is isolated (it’s on my About page in fact!), yet at the same ironic time, my monkey brain taunts me otherwise.

  • One thing that makes me mad for you is that you aren’t able to get disability of some sort so that you can have your own place. Even though your parents are supportive and loving, living together is an extra stressor, I know, as my adult children, who I love beyond measure, lived with us. While I know your talent and expertise will be in high demand, the stress of your business must be high. I’m struggling, too, trying to figure out how to work to earn a bit. So far, nothing has been flexible enough to allow for the full time job of self-care.

    I just want you to know that you much loved. You do more for others than you know. Be good to yourself.

    PS- this site gas s wealth of helpful posts that will always be needed. Don’t give up on it.

    • Aww…thanks for feeling my pain, Katie. Haha yes no such thing as disability to live by yourself here. Unheard of! Even healthy single people can’t buy a housing apartment on their own until they’re at least 35 years old. I guess space is really limited here, lol. Thank you for the encouragement 🙂

  • I cannot say enough how much I relate to this. The constant sinking depression, panic attacks because you’re always hovering just on the edge, the guilty pleasure of undergoing anaesthesia – I relate to all of that so much. Especially as I’m reaching the end of the list of anxiety drugs I can try and getting closer and closer to the conclusion that I may be med-resistant. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been going through all of this, but I can’t say enough what a beautiful gift it is to turn so much pain into something tangible, so other people can feel it with you. Well done, this is beautiful.

    • THank you Via. I’m glad that some good came out of that panic attack with this post, lol. I hope it lends some insight into the torment, even slight.

  • I really relate to this. Before the Xanax hysteria in the US it used to help me so much. It was the only thing that could really stave off a panic attack.

    • Xanax is really such a lifeline, no kidding. It breaks suicidal ideation for me too when it’s due to anxiety. So for people to say otherwise, they really don’t know what they’re talking about and are too privileged to understand such torment.

  • That last line of needing nothing really stood out to me. When everything is so overwhelming that is often exactly what we need. I had panic attacks or vertigo attacks (we can’t figure out which as they are so similar) years ago, and all I needed was nothing. Not work, as I sat in my office (thankfully private, just me) with the door firmly closed so nobody saw me shaking, not seeing friends in person, not days out. Nothing. I needed quiet, peace and space. I hope that things become easier for you Sheryl, and that Talisker (and the birds) bring you joy.

  • You have said a lot and boy do you have a lot going on! I understand the challenge of getting a pet during the lockdown, we went thru the same thing, it took months to get a dog. He’s brought so much joy into my life. It must be extra stressful being at your parent’s place right now, no doubt that is adding to your stress. The positive is you’ve found motivation in the new books your reading which can help change your focus. I know that doesn’t carry over to the entire day but is a good start.
    Take care of yourself and thank goodness for your friends.
    M

    • I’m glad your little companion brings you such joy, too! Yes we all need to look out for each other, both on and offline 🙂 Never know who’s hurting deep inside.

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