The thing with panic attacks, is that they can strike at any time, anywhere.
They can suck the life out of any party.
Turn a shopping excursion to Target into a white knuckle affair.
They can make the most social butterfly (me) retreat into her dark, lonely cocoon where she (me) watches as others (you) spread their wings and take flight.
Some of the time, there appears to be no trigger.
It comes on suddenly, without warning, and
drenched in sweat, I try to steady my hands, my heartbeat, my breathing.
Some of the time, there is a specific antecedent:
a thought (or five zillion at once)
too much time googling strange symptoms
CNN with breakfast
or, as the case was today,
an unexpected malfunction
(my back decided to give me the finger)
Pain, in and of itself does not necessarily scare me (though I am by no means a martyr)
but when my body, (which I already do not trust to do right by me) begins to show new signs of wear and tear,
I get freaked the freak out.
Especially not good when you have an important obligation to fulfill.
So, while I was determined to work through the pain, my rising anxiety was an altogether different beast, and as I got into my car and put the key in the ignition the familiar (but no less terrifying) waves of panic and fear washed over me.
it was time for me to retreat once again, into that dark cocoon, and allow the fear to consume me from the inside out.
It was time for me to flake on my commitment, miss out on another opportunity, give in and give up.
Except, today it wasn’t.
I got out of the car
sat on the bench in front of my house
and as my breathing slowed
and my hands became steady
and the nausea began to subside
I looked beyond my front yard
and noticed the world
passing me by
and I thought
So I got back into my station wagon volvo
and drove like a granny
5.6 miles to my meeting
5.6 miles towards freedom