I want to say that I’m a post-panic attack mess, but the thing about panic attacks is that when you’re over them, you’re out of the zone of panic, you’re fine.  Or I am, typically. It feels ludicrous after the fact, except, there’s no way in hell you’d want to go right back and face it again.  Today, however, I had multiple incidents of JUST NO GODDAMNIT.

I was fine driving to the parking garage.  I parked, and looked around and realized I had driven to the opposite side of the freeway from where my bus would pick up.  This meant, if I had any interest in not missing the bus, taking the walkover bridge.   This, for most people, is not a thing. But my mind slipped its gear and suddenly, tunnel vision, heart racing, the usual effects. I paced about trying to not appear completely insane as people walked casually, strode earnestly across the bridge.  I was feeling light-headed.  The solution was right there.  Eventually, the necessity of the thing somehow kicked in and I thought, I can see the buses over there.  I can’t not get on the bus.  The only busses I need are over there.  I will do it.  I will cross this evil looking unholy bridge.

And running my hand over the railing, my heart feeling as though it were a glob of coal furiously twitching out its last dying beats, walking like some sort of clomping psychopath, I crossed the bridge.  And nobody knew that it felt as though I had defeated some sort of boss battle.  Nobody knew how incredibly hard it was.  Nobody cared as I bought my bus fare and calmly went to the downtown station and then took a lyft to the new job because I didn’t want to have to worry about finding the place on my first day.

Nobody cared as I sat quietly at my desk in our new space which is just a cubicle.  There are people around, but we’re so tense, and feel, to my mind a bit like refugees trying to make our own space in this established country that it’s…well, it’s nothing like the shop.  It’s sterile and claustrophobic and it’s nothing I want to experience, really, ever again, but I will.  Even if I…well, eventually, it became time to go home.

And I laughed internally about what if I have some problem, wouldn’t that be awful.  That joyful anxiety-based what if probe that never finds anything but blows up half my brain anyway.  I shrugged it off, but then the lyft driver to the bus station was a mess once I finally got there and my initial start time to catch the bus back kept getting pushed back so that it had been nearly an hour since I left the office until I even got on the bus.  Then, upon arriving at the station and getting in my car, I have this odd thought about how this place doesn’t look like any place I could ever be.  My muscle memory won’t stop recalling how it felt to cross the walkover bridge even if I know I don’t have to do it.

It won’t stop cycling over and over as I leave the parking garage realizing I don’t want to be on this side, that I can’t be on this side, what road is this, it’s dark, I can see things I recognize right over the freeway, but I can’t move to get there…and then, full-blown meltdown.

I think my brain just realized that I was pushing it job change/life change/knuckle-down and bear it reaction  right through and whatever calm I had before was gone.  I pulled over and shook and cried and did the whole thing.  Couldn’t get a hold of my sister, so I called my other sister and she was quite kind about it.  Until she suggested I call my father, call uber or lyft and I was able to take a breath and manuever the car over to where I had intended to be.

And then, I sat and breathed through it and thought and twinged and flipped for about an hour in the parking lot.  Stared at the cars as though they were weaponized.

Finally, FINALLY, time was time and the prospect of having anyone come and get me felt both deliriously right and tremendously wrong at the same time.  Like, sure, it would in the instant relax and get rid of the panic, but then, I’d have to stave off the guilt.  And if there’s anything in the world worse than panic (aside from the actual horrors of war, the actual traumas that exist), it is feeling guilty because you panic.

So, I rolled up this little ball of energy, the radio played a Paramore song.  I thought I have power, I have an incredible superpower to fight through this now, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.  A mantra that would brook no opposition.  And suddenly, I found myself at the  taco place getting tacos and gasping because, well, it was easy, of course.  So close.  So simple.

Hah, oh, fuck.

I can’t express how much I hated that.  Or how relieved I am I get a day away from it.  I don’t think I can share with you what it felt like to know you can’t go home.  Or how suddenly, you could.

But, it was a day.  And the fight goes on.

The Fire Was Hot


I have this imaginary broom and I am trying, whilst wearing an imaginary babushka, to shoo my slavering, screeching demons off my doorstep.  They found my address today and are doing all they can to get in.

Stamp those feet, sing that song, just don’t open the door and let them run in behind you.

I ate a pizza.   A wee one.  It isn’t the end of the world, but I wish that I could have at least jammed a carrot in my mouth between steaming slices.   It was 10 pm and I hadn’t eaten but half a sandwich since noon and suffice it to say, it could have been worse.  My 10 minutes helped to offset it a smidge.  It wasn’t a caloric Hiroshima, but my body knows different over the past month, and it didn’t necessarily want what the mind insisted it eat.  Not all of it, anyway.   I at least heard the millisecond of disagreement before I ravenously cut a third slice.

But, Mildred and the Mental there was driving which was both very positive and then, later, inexplicably, full of a a weird, excessive panic episode that frustrated the shit out of me.  A road I used to drive regularly, but haven’t, recently.  Yeah, no reason, except the anticipation of it (and perhaps listening to “Girl on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” while this was happening.)

I can only congratulate myself in that it happened, this complete feeling of disassociation overtaking me, of panic and desire to do something completely irrational like drive into traffic, of being completely vulnerable and of needing to hide in the middle of a four-lane road, of being scared fucking shitless for zero reason, I didn’t do any of those things.  I just kept it together, turned around in the stupid subdivision I had no reason to turn into, and within a minute, was back at it.  It doesn’t destroy me, but fuck, does it try.

And! And! There was weird, excessive torture porn being shared at writers group and I had a weird, completely not excessive reaction to it which I actually did my level best to verbalize.  The response was, “Gee, I suppose this would be harder to read for women.” and…I had to let it go.  All I can think about is, sure, some people are evil and take revenge on other people’s families after 20 years of being locked up.  But a vivid description of those actions is not a story I cared to read.  I told him that if it wasn’t that he was a good writer and we were in group together, I wouldn’t have gotten past the first page, which featured a woman being raped.  That’s completely true.  I find it completely gratuitous and…sick.

This isn’t the sort of thing he ever brings, but I just…yeah, I don’t feel like I have to ooh and aah over well-written violence for violence sake that doesn’t serve any greater purpose than a man loses his family so he leaves prison and destroys the man and his family who hurt him 20 years ago.

I was stressed.

So I think the old habit emerged and I just thought, I’m low on calories, I just want to stop the gnawing and the blinking and the hunger and the feeling.  It did that, but not entirely.  I am sitting here, quietly waiting for tomorrow.  A tomorrow not guaranteed to be better, but not guaranteed to be worse.  And a day that will have some food in it.


The Octopus of Evil Habits

Don’t want to write this post.  Nope.  But it would be a bad way to go out on the final day of the year by blowing off the post.  I keep thinking that the lesson I’m supposed to be getting is that it doesn’t matter at all and I should just not post because really who gives a shit?

Yay for a panic attack.  It does wonders for people who already suspect you’re mentally unsound.  And it’s keen if you really desire that feeling of wanting to tear your own skin off.  It doesn’t make sense, of course, and since you can’t explain it, it’s not really worth talking about and oy, I feel pain inside about it and confusion and frustration and I have zero answers.  Zilch.  So I’m going to see the therapist on the 9th.  I wish so much there was a switch to flip.  I’m just hoping that 12:00 midnight will have some sort of supernatural power over me.

My positivity is taking it in the shorts today.  I don’t know why.  I’m sure it has to do with blood sugar and caffeine and maybe the fact that blood doesn’t get to my head.  It’s also got to do with empathy and love dreams and this vast expanse of nothingness that I’ve been running in and only found false edges to.  Like a misty moor with only more mist and more moors no matter now many times you run until you collapse in a heap.  This is not when the love dreams come, either.  All you get is this sinking sense that in a year, you’ll be eating soft foods and staring out the window in some sort of agoraphobic haze.

Nothing is completely unqualified. I just, really can’t take my situation right now and while I know it can get better, I feel full of fear and doubt and anger and stress and it’s settled in me like a big head cold.

I was so sure yesterday and whammo, I feel like the rug came out from under me.

Which, I guess, it’s allowed to do every now and then.  It being a curious sort of fate I have cultivated.

I am going to take the unlikely position that maybe being around people and drinking alcohol will do something for me.  Even if, right now I am dreading it completely.  Then, the actual remedies of getting back on board the health wagon.  My half-sister has given me a Door #2 present of a psychic reading which I am taking her up on.  The therapist, of course.  My overcoming anxiety book.  My friends.  My trip to Italy.  Exercise and self-care and tapping and the things that I haven’t been doing because those are for crazy people or people who are broken in some way that I certainly couldn’t be broken.

If it’s going to be a good year, and I hope it is, I want to believe it will be, then it will only be so if I face down some of my problems.  And give up coffee and the things that are making my body generate this level of anxiety.

A promise I can keep: I will see you tomorrow.