It was late in 2011 when these bizarre headaches started. I have had headaches before but I could tell these were not ordinary migraines. They were not sore headaches at all... they gave of a feeling of light-headedness accompanied by a sensation of things crawling inside my head - this was pretty eerie and frightening. It went on for some time and later the twitching of my lips and left eye began. – Sleep was no escape from this horrible experience, while sleeping I had extreme body convulses and horrific
nightmares which I would awake from in utter horror and screams, when I did wake up, often in the middle of the night, I would drink some water to calm down and go back to sleep. A friend referred me to a Headache Clinic. They put me on a drip and said it will relief the pain. These people just did not understand! I was not in any pain whatsoever. However, I knew something was seriously wrong with my head...or brain.
The doctors then told me to come back for a full brain scan should my headache persist. Soon after that it was December time, vacations began and I went home to spend some time with my family as most people do during this time of the year. During that time, I reduced and ultimately quit drinking alcohol as I was now paranoid about everything that could be the reason behind this mysterious thing that was happening to me. I thought alcohol might have something to do with these “headaches”. The headaches cooled off for a bit but started again when I went back to Johannesburg for work... Perhaps Johannesburg could be the culprit?
Friday 28th January 2011 – The “headaches” got worse than they had ever been before. I left work to go and buy medication. That didn’t help! Being a Friday, I had to meet with the boys for drinks after work. Got to our meeting place and asked for water, because I was not feeling well – Those funny sensations seemed to be following me all over. I asked to be excused, and I headed to the bathroom. The “headache” was just getting worse and I thought I should go and splash some cold water on my face. On my way to the bathroom the MOTHER of all “headaches” arrived and reached the boiling point. The only way to explain how I was feeling is – “Death”. I felt like my brain was shutting down... as in a BLACKOUT. I was dying and had to make peace with it. I had a quick silent prayer just before I could fall.
I quickly returned to the boys as I thought that if I proceeded to the bathroom no one would help. In fact, I ran back to the boys. I thought I would be down by the time I reach them - but I did not fall. “TUMI PLEASE TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL, NOW!!”-those were my desperate words to my friend Tumi. I was in complete despair at this moment. On our way to the hospital I explain to them all my symptoms so they can tell the doctors should I pass out. I gave them my bank pin should they need the money, everything... At that moment I could have given my life... in exchange for my life again –That doesn’t make sense but I tell you, in that situation... It makes perfect sense.
We got to Morningside hospital; the doctors took my blood and urine to perform some tests. All tests came back clear of any disease!
I didn’t understand, or they didn’t understand–somebody didn’t understand here – Something was seriously wrong with me. Thoughts started polluting my mind, like what if I had some undiscovered condition?
I wanted them to at least find something wrong so that they can treat it. They gave me a pill to calm down the shock and sent me home. I couldn’t believe it. Here I am dying and these people are telling me to go home. But there was nothing I could do. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me, so I had to go home.
The next Monday I went to see a Neurologist at another hospital. He admitted me and performed a Brain Cat Scan on me. He came back with the results and said – “Everything looks normal Mr Mopeli”. This guy couldn’t understand –Again, another person who just didn’t understand. I wanted him to find something wrong so he could treat it – I was getting frustrated. “I think you have anxiety” he said. Huh? Anxiety?. Surely everybody get anxious from time to time. This can’t be the cause of my “near death” experience. He told me I should go see a Psychologist or Psychiatrist. Is this guy suggesting that I’m crazy? I knew there was nothing wrong with me mentally!
I didn’t have a choice; I went to see a Psychiatrist as he suggested. The Psychiatrist told me that I have Anxiety and she gave me a prescription medication to help relieve this anxiety they talk about. As I was at the chemist, collecting my medication, the “near death” experience came back. This time it was worse - I suppose we can now call it the Father of all Attacks! My neck muscles where pulling my head down and I felt enormous pain. I prayed, this time verbally... And Loudly! Everyone around looked at me in shock, but I couldn’t care less, I was begging God for my life. My girlfriend rushed me to yet another hospital. They took blood and urine tests and said I was normal. They told me the anxiety story again. Then they told me they will admit me just to take further test. They took me for ECG Tests, Heart Sonar, Brain MRI Scan and QEEG Brain Scan. All tests came back normal while medical costs where skyrocketing. The doctor referred me to a Psychologist and she diagnosed me with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. My thoughts were killing me!!
Now here is my story. I grew up as a person who gets easily worried. I would worry about being late at school, about a test to be written and other general stuff. I thought it was normal, we all worry right? In my elderly years I would worry about work, be scared of flying and things like that. My friends even knew me as a person who easily worries. I thought it was normal, in fact I thought they were to “care-less”. However never could I have imagined that my anxious thoughts were straining my heart.
Worrying is a form of negative thinking. People have lots of negative thoughts and think they are just there, as thoughts. What most people don’t know is that - a negative thought, no matter how small it is, takes a strain on your mind, which in turn affects your heart. The heart and brain, being some of the most essential organs of the body, will cause other parts of the body to derail if there is something wrong with them.
What I was experiencing were Panic Attacks. Most Panic attacks are not fatal, but unfortunately they can sometime mimic a Heart Attack. Panic Attack cause your heart to beat abnormally fast or irregularly, hence a person feels shortness of breath and running water sensations during an attack. Anxiety is another form of Stress, and continued or unmanaged stress increases risk of chronic diseases such as Hypertension, Heart Disease and even Heart Attack.
Avoid getting anxious. Change things that you dislike in your life and accept those that you can’t change. Remember that worrying does not change the outcome, but action will. Leave no room for anxiety in your life. It is possible! Even the Holy Bible backs me up on this one. Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. Remember that God does not promise a smooth ride, but he promises to be with us through a rough ride.
I am Majara Mopeli and My Positive Thoughts Saved Me!
By: MJ Mopeli / MJ_Mopeli