For almost two months I have been living with tachycardia.
Tachycardia: an abnormally rapid heart rate
When I first started experiencing symptoms, and doctors couldn’t (and still can’t) put their fingers on what was causing them, I took to the internet in the hopes that someone out there was experiencing the same thing. I wanted someone I could relate to, so that this new and scary situation wouldn’t feel so frightening.
I am writing this post now in the hopes that the next person who goes hunting for answers, can find them here.
I want to say that it started randomly one night in the middle of watching The Intern with a friend, but I now believe that it started days earlier, and came full circle that evening.
I can remember sitting in class feeling lightheaded, feeling the need to get up and leave the room, to try and find somewhere quiet where I could breathe and clear my head.
One night, a friend and I met up for a movie in one of the college’s auditoriums. It was a comedy, there was nothing stressful about it. In the dark of the auditorium I suddenly felt myself slipping from reality, my ears ringing, hands shaking, heart racing. In the emergency room, the doctors found nothing wrong with me, only tachycardia.
Two days later I almost fainted in the shower, warranting another emergency room visit. This doctor found nothing, only tachycardia as well.
“She’s tachy- but we don’t know why.”
Although I absolutely hated being in the hospital, I did end up leaving with some pretty awesome hospital socks so there’s that. And they pumped me full of IV fluids, which left me feeling pretty great for a few hours. I got dehydrated my senior year of high school after the stomach flu and started calling the fluids “miracle juice.” I’m still quite a fan.
After seeing a cardiologist I was told that my heart is perfectly “normal.” He seemed unconcerned, almost bothered at our consult and didn’t look fazed when I almost collapsed in his office. They placed me on a heart monitor, one that I could wear home. For two weeks I pressed a tiny orange button with every chest pain, palpitation, and episode of lightheadedness. The electrodes I had to wear on my chest left my skin raw and blistered.
My primary care doctor signed me out of college for the remainder of the semester, and told me that I would most-likely need to find a new cardiologist.
“We’re going to fix you.”
His words gave me the hope that I needed to push past my fears and doubts.
It has been nearly two months now and I still don’t have any answers.
But, the trick to living with tachycardia?
Well, it’s to continue living. Don’t put your life on halt because sometimes you need to sit and breathe, because you can’t walk up stairs, because sometimes you can’t sleep.
It’s scary. I can vouch for that. Sometimes it is absolutely terrifying.
But, you will get through this.
Find ways to cope.
I watch animated movies because they make me smile, remind me of my childhood, and because it’s simply impossible to stress over them. I tell myself to take deep breaths when I feel my heart rate climbing, because it’s easier to handle if anxiety isn’t in the mix. I call a friend or family member to distract myself when I can feel the pounding in my chest, because it isn’t so scary when you don’t feel alone. I started diffusing essential oils while I slept, so I could fall back asleep easier when I woke up in the middle of the night.
It’s the little things that help the most.
But, please know that you aren’t alone.
I am right here and we can overcome this together.
For more information feel free to reach out to me at my contact page or via social media. Click the social media icons in the header for direct links to my social media accounts.
Have you ever had to accept and handle something that you didn’t understand and even found frightening? Let me know in the comments below!