I am sitting here at work and I can feel it start. The restlessness. The jumpiness. The immediate need to escape. It becomes overwhelming. I can’t concentrate. I can’t sit. I can’t breathe. I want to walk out of my office, get in my car, and drive away. To where? I don’t know. Anywhere. Far, far away. A place that makes everything disappear. A place where life is simple and the pain is gone. I have to get away.
Why is this happening right now? What is the cause? The boys’ and my morning routine was a little rough but nothing significant happened. Yet, I can feel my heart racing. My breath is shallow. The hysteria is rising in my throat. The panic is creeping in. Over taking me. The tears are threatening to spill over. I am shaking.
I have had these days and moments in the past. My depression is linked with anxiety. Panic attacks use to happen when I least expected them. Simple decisions of going out with friends, where to eat, what to wear. Times of pain and suffering are major triggers. But I have been good the last few weeks. Then the election happened and I got caught up in social media. The holidays are here and I am struggling. Is this why I am on the verge of a panic attack at 2:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon? Or is it all of it? Divorce, motherhood, loneliness, social media, life, depression, the day to day struggles we all must live with. I don’t know if I can handle anymore obstacles. Maybe the strength I have had is finally gone.
I want to outrun it. Ignore it. Deny it. If I pretend the panic is not there, I will be fine. That won’t work though. It will find me. It will catch up and eat me alive. It will be meaner and more relentless. It will cut me down, push me down, and make me stay down.
Breathe. In. Out. Inhale. Exhale. Full deep breaths. Sit. Stay. Fight through it. Close my eyes and picture peace, steadiness, and calmness. What does that look like? What does that feel like? Pray. Talk to God. He is listening. Let Him enter your space. Feel His grace. Count to ten. Breathe.
I want to cry, scream, curse. I want to hurt someone as I have been hurt by someone. Maybe that will make all this pain go away. NO! Stop. Breathe. Walk, sing, dance. Do something to overcome this. But I can’t. I am stuck inside these four walls. I am trying to center myself. My mind is screaming, RUN! RUN AWAY! Can’t anyone see it? Can’t they see what is going on inside my head and body right now? Don’t they understand that my body is rebelling? Look! Look at me! Can’t you see the desperation that is fighting me?
In and out. Inhale and exhale. Deeper. Longer. Pray. Focus.
It becomes somewhat easier to breath. However, the pressure is still there, waiting to break me. This day is not good. The shaking won’t stop. Breathe. I will battle my way through it. I will try to keep my thoughts and words kind and positive. Yet, the cloud of sadness is full of rain. Waiting for the perfect moment to release its weight. Is this why I am on the verge of a panic attack today? Because I keep trying to move forward? I keep living when the world is telling me not to? Or is it because sometimes the weight of it all becomes too much? I can’t always hold the dam of flood waters back.
I am taking it one minute at a time. Soon ten minutes will pass, then an hour. I go through the motions till my day is done. I put a smile on my face so no one knows. I turn to God and pray He gets me through it. Just get me through it. So I can sleep, please be a dreamless sleep, tonight and wake tomorrow. For I have another day of battle ahead.
This is anxiety. This is what happens to me when anxiety takes over. I suffer. I hurt. Alone. When someone says they suffer from anxiety, believe them. It is excruciating, because it can happen at any moment. In any situation. It was a typical Friday workday. And I had a panic attack.