I had a panic attack when I dropped my kid off at school today. Came from out of nowhere, no trigger, just standing there in a parking lot and WHAM! Pounding heart, dizziness, hyperventilation…

Of course, by now, I am a PROFESSIONAL at internalizing anxiety 98% of the time, so unless someone is actually studying me, they have no clue that I am experiencing a level of anxiety and disorientation one would get if they were in the woods being chased by a chainsaw wielding psychopath. I cover my mouth and breathe deeply in and out, rather than use a paper bag. I hug my sides in an effort to have a sense of control over something. I dig my nails into my palms, in hopes a mild jab of pain will distract me from the panic.

Sometimes it does. Most of the time it does not.

It passes. Generally with no one the wiser, unless it’s a massive attack, one where I have to lean over and hang my head and press my palms into my knees. Those are always fun. NOT.

I used to have spectator sport panic attacks. Sweating, hyperventilation, dizziness, vomiting. By the time my last three dimensional friend told me that going out with me was embarrassing and awkward, I began the descent into internalization. It saves me embarrassment but it’s a disservice otherwise because no one believes what they can’t see. If you’re acting a little squirelly but otherwise ok…They don’t see it as any big deal.

It is a big deal. Especially when you find yourself having multiple attacks a day. This internalization has sent me to the doctor more times than I care to admit. I literally make myself physically ill by turning it all inward. I trained myself so well, though, so I wouldn’t embarrass people I was with, that now I don’t know how to externalize.

And it’s all leading to me feeling smothered. By my overly demanding kid, by household disrepair, by money problems, by EVERYTHING. I have less than  zero desire to be near anyone right now. I accept my kid as my siamese twin, but others…Unless you’re at the end of a computer, I simply don’t want company. It’s the seasonal affect,to some extent, but it’s also the fact that this year has sucked for me and I have had four of the most stressful months of my life with the neighbor kids. (The landlord actually asked me if they were all mine! That’s how often they are there,ffs.)




I need some time to breathe.

Provided the hyperventilating panic attacks will allow it.


3 Responses to “Smothered”

  1. Thanks for the post. For me, I think that panic attacks can be even worse than depression!. We had a family member visit this past week & at breakfast, I became agitated. I was immediately, In my own home ,misunderstood, and it was futile to explain that, for me, a panic attack is preceded by agitation over HAVING another one. It was taken personally, and the FM totally took my behavior personally. I get it about wanting to internalize. And I do it, too, but it really has taken a toll on my health. I hope things get better for you. Nana

    • I still remember a guy taking me on a date to a gambling boat. I warned him ahead of time about the panic and he just blew it off. We got there, and I started to panic and melt down, to the point I threw up over the side of the boat. He took that pretty personally. “I didn’t realize you meant it was that bad.” I embarrassed him and offended his good intentions. There was no comforting hand on my shoulder, no empathy, just his discomfort and insinuations that I hadn’t adequately expressed the severity of my disorder.
      I think that was the last actual date I went on, back, in 1998. Because I never want to relive that night again with anyone else, never want to feel that way again, yet live in terror of it.
      Panic disorder is probably more crippling than everything else and even less understood and accepted. And that makes it even worse.

      • No one understands what it’s REALLY like unless they have it. There’s just no way around it. But that’s why we’re banging on the keyboards to each other. And to the world! It really helps to get a comment of empathy, without judgement or just plain ignorance. I know how hard it is to just walk out the door. We just can’t beat ourselves up about panic. When we feel like walking, we’ll walk. Love to You! Nana xx

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