One giant step

22 Feb

Backward. Fuck.

Really, I don’t want to make this out to be a big deal, because I hope it isn’t. But right now, it is. And I want to cry.


I’ve been riding our recumbent bike three or four times a week. I was previously riding one at PT, but only for five minutes or so. I finally told them that I would ride at home, to free up that time to do things with them that I couldn’t do at home. Our bike at home (and the one at PT) has a digital read-out, that tells you all manner of things. I usually lock it on one screen that keeps me in tune with how fast I’m pedaling and how far I’ve gone. Sadly, it also tells me my heart rate, if I’m holding the handles. I specifically only check in on my heart rate 3-4 times during the ride, so I can see where I am, but not focus on the number.

Tonight I decided that I had a book to read–I rarely have new books to read anymore–so I would try reading on the bike rather than just biking to music. So I brought the book in with me and turned on the radio. And about four or five minutes in, despite the attempt to read, I realized I was making myself motion sick. I have that issue in cars and on boats–and sometimes on dry land while doing nothing because of my stupid vertigo/imbalance issues–but I didn’t even consider I would have that issue on the bike. Anyway, when I realized I was getting ill, I stopped reading and started watching the read-out instead. Because of the imbalance, I was also clutching the handles that had the heart rate measure thingy on them. Which meant I could see my heart rate as I was riding along…

And then I felt that familiar and unwanted wave of anxiety wash over my head like a wave. Down my face and neck, over my chest, down my arms. Of course the heart rate monitor went up…and up…and up. And I KNEW it was my anxiety, but each climb of the number made it worse. And I just couldn’t let go of those stupid handlebars. I slowed down my pedaling, started to try to slow my breathing. Talked to myself, reminded myself that I was okay, that exercise is SUPPOSED to increase my heart rate. That it was fine, I was fine. Over and over I told myself, and still the panic clutched at me. The anxiety pressed down on me. Wrapped me in a cocoon and suffocated me. I battled back, and continued biking. More slowly, until my time was up, even though I felt my heart beating so hard in my chest that I thought I could see it when I looked down. I felt shaky and unstable, but I stayed there, no longer pedaling, watching the heart rate as I tried to slow down. I looked up and away from the bike’s digital read-out, softened my eyes, looked at everything else in the room, tried to bring myself into the moment. Then I got up, turned off the radio and the light in the room, went and moved laundry from the washer to the dryer, and came into my bedroom. And I told Hub what happened. He asked if I needed anything, said he loved me, and let me be.

Even now, twenty minutes later, I have a terrible taste in my mouth, I have chills, and I feel wired. Still shaky. I feel sad, angry, and let down at myself.I don’t like it, and I want it to go away. The residual shakiness takes time to go away, I know, but it leaves me feeling on the edge.

I have had a headache all day and now it feels amplified. Lights hurt my eyes (last night, too). It’s potentially a migraine episode hanging around, even though I don’t generally get the classic painful migraine. Either way, it’s just adding to my lousy, along with an aching jaw from a TMJ flare…probably clenching because of the headache yesterday and today. *sigh*

So not happy.


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2 responses to “One giant step

  1. joeyfullystated

    February 22, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I swear to you, when I was at the height of my anxiety, the only exercise I would take was swimming and yoga. If I ran or skated, I would freak out about my heart rate, and I’d panic about the idea of passing out in my neighborhood, which led to more anxiety, until i got home in tears. For me, I found that dancing with my family, or other Wii games with them worked better for cardio, because I was distracted with laughter and whatnot.
    I HATE when anxiety attacks us in what we feel are our “safe places” — in “normal” situations. It seems since you’ve long been on the bike, and therefore, while exercising, your body would comply and RELEASE stress!
    I am so sorry for you. With all your recent stress, I’m not surprised, but I am still sorry.
    As you know, after the episodes, your body needs to recover, so be ginger with yourself most of all, do not feel you’ve let yourself down, because stress!
    Hope you’re feeling better now. ❤

    • meANXIETYme

      February 22, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      I actually love the walk our dogs, but can’t do it alone because I am afraid that I will have a problem while we are out and not be able to get back home (panic attack, fall, heart problem, sprain ankle, knee gives out, something might happen to one of the dogs…the list goes on and on). And time with Hub to do that is SO limited that even though we try to get in the habit, it generally doesn’t last for more than a week or two. It’s one of those things that frustrates me so much. I am going to try to overcome that this spring when the weather is nicer.
      But yeah, I’ve been on the bike for a while, and have managed just fine. I kind of think because I was feeling crappy from the motion sickness and THAT is what set me off. Even so, I wish it hadn’t been an issue. I know a lot of people say that exercise is good for their anxiety (stress relief and the like), but it’s never been that way for me. I don’t find it releases ANY stress for me and I’m not sure why. But at least the bike is easy on my bad knees, where the Wii pretty much requires being on my feet and therefore on my knees.
      And yes, when anxiety gets to me in a “safe” place it really sucks. It’s like it KNOWS and just wants to ruin it for me.
      Thanks for the good wishes. I try to be easy on myself, like leaving the lights off and putting myself to bed early.


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