This weekend there was a quilt show called Quilt Knit Stitch! here in Portland. I went and had quite an adventure… but not the kind I was expecting.
Long story short, the toxicity of the carpets that were being used in the exhibit made me sick to my stomach, and also induced an anxiety attack. It was a little scary there for a while… my heart was racing, I was sweating with chills, my limbs and mouth were vibrating, I felt nauseas, and lightheaded, and really felt like I was going to pass out… so much so that there were a few times I was ready to call 911. After sitting in the lobby for over an hour (away from those carpets) I was able to get myself to an Urgent Care facility.
I was told I have something called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) which makes me very sensitive to smells (light, sound, and touch too) and that the anxiety attack was purely a reaction to the poisonous air. They also gave me some medications to help with anxiety.
Not really a surprise to me! I’ve been sensitive to smells (tires, shoes, perfume, cigarettes etc.) for a long time, usually they would only give me a bit of nausea… but this kind of ‘anxiety’ was something new to me altogether!
The scary thing is the thought of this happening in the future. I never want to be in that situation again! Luckily, at the quilt show, I had many friends who were around to sit and talk with me and bring me water. *can’t thank you enough!*
Right now, I’m still feeling anxious… this feeling just won’t seem to leave, and it is fairly uncomfortable. Not painful, just uncomfortable. I’m afraid that it may not change back to normal. A friend of mine told me that it can take days to weeks to recover fully from a panic attack like this and to give it time and the feeling will pass.
This is great advice – but what happens if I’m around something toxic again? It’s not caused by a mental state, but a physical reaction. No matter how much meditation and breathing I do to calm my mind, my body can still take control… and then promptly lose it!
I know there are not too many people who follow my blog, but if you have any experience with anxiety or MCS, I would really like to connect. This is a new (and a bit scary) world to me and I would love to talk to someone who is familiar with it – especially if you’ve experienced this type of anxiety from it.
I’m not posting this for sympathy, but as an educational aid.
It’s a learning experience for me for sure: Realizing that these commonly used products are actual toxins (not just bad smells), and they can make some people very sick.
The sad part is that I missed an awesome show. I was able to see a few quilts before getting sick, and what I saw was pretty amazing! I really hope that I have no issues at the Expo Center when it comes time for the Northwest Quilting Expo show in Sept. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…