Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Putting On My Socks (A Quick Jaunt into Panic)

The kids weren't at home. Mr. Perfect was at work. The day had started off miserably, so I figured the quiet house was begging me to take a nap. And I did. It was the hardest I had slept in months, I was solidly tucked into dreamworld, comfortably pantsless and wedged between my squishy pillow and the rhythmic breaths of my sleeping dog.

I woke two hours later, startled by my phone. Mr. P was on lunch and wondering what I was up to. Nap guilt washed over me. Sleep, as is the case for most moms, is my guiltiest pleasure. "Not much," I assured him. I drifted downstairs and threw a frozen pizza in the oven. Thank goodness for lonely days where I can sleep when I want and eat what I want, I thought. I sat down and absent-minded flipped through the Kindergartener's backpack papers that were strewn on the table.

As I was contemplating ordering over-priced meats of which 5% would go back to his school, I noticed my heart was racing. That's strange, I thought. I must just be tired. Am I dehydrated? Did I take my thyroid medication? Did I take it all week? What if I collapsed and died alone with the oven on? I went back to the papers, signing off on his report card. I smiled, he is too social and having a hard time following directions? Ha, what a shocker. Son of a bitch, why am I having palpitations?

I got up and checked the pizza. It was difficult to tell myself to walk to the kitchen, but this pizza was taking what seemed like hours. I took it out of oven and cut off a giant piece. I sat back down, winded and shoved it into my mouth. I chewed thoughtlessly and swallowed. I hated eating the pizza, but something felt wrong and my mouth seemed to be working so I went with it. I devoured another slice while I listened to my heart race. I tried to catch my breath. I felt panicked, but I also felt to still be half asleep. I crawled upstairs and laid back down. It suddenly hit me what was occurring.

I was having an attack. It had been so long since I had a panic attack. I didn't want to. I started sobbing hysterically. I hated being so screwed up. Why had I eaten that pizza? All I did was get fatter and now I'm back in bed. I needed to go outside but I couldn't get to my sock drawer. It was so far away. I was fairly certain my underwear were suffocating me. GET THEM OFF. I couldn't, though. I was never happy when I wore these underwear, was I? I thought if I could get up and kill myself I would. The man who lived here before me did. Imagine what they would say about the creepy suicide house in the woods! Maybe I was possessed by him. I knew I shouldn't have stopped taking my anti-anxiety meds 2 weeks before. Why was I still in bed? A normal person would just GET UP AND PUT ON THE FUCKING SOCKS. Breathe, breathe, breathe. You are a fucking nutjob, I told myself. Snot and tears covered my face. I looked at my phone. I had been crying for an HOUR. Nausea pushed me from my paralysis and I slid from my bed, like an obese, insane snake. I crept on all fours into the bathroom and threw up my pizza. As I started to breathe again, I noticed most my day was gone. I begged myself to get in the tub. I sat in the water until I began to shiver. I begged myself to get out. You can do it, I pleaded. Get dressed. Put on a shirt. Good job. Put on pants. Yes! Put on socks. No? Skip socks, then, put on shoes. See? Leave the house. You HAVE to get out. You have to breathe. STAND UP. STAND UP and go take your medication.

Sometimes, my hands go numb. Sometimes, I just cannot catch my breath. Sometimes, it takes me hours to convince myself to put on my socks. I have to be extra careful during those strange moments between waking and sleeping. I have generalized anxiety disorder. There are triggers, but occasionally I will just be happy as a dancing clam and I will feel the nagging tightness in my chest. I used to be paralyzed by it. Now, I am a seasoned warrior.

What they didn't know was that she was a warrior, a survivor of a thousand battles, within her head.


  1. Wow. I can never describe what it feels like. This is amazing. Thank you. The paralyzing fear. The panic. The loss of time and place, the loss of self. Gahhh. I hate it. I've kinda learned to go with it and breathe...but, not very successfully. Thank you. It is comforting to know we're not alone. I love you bunches. And, bunches more. <3 Cyn

  2. Very insightful and honest post Jeanna <3 Even though it's not something I wish you had to deal with, I'm glad you've become a "seasoned warrior" enough to RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS.

  3. a real talent in writing .. wow .... I've been their before and know I will again ... it's such a battle, life.

  4. This is so me. Thank you for having the courage to put it out there. People that don't experience this seem to think that it's a character flaw instead of the illness that it is. They also have no idea just how much courage that it takes just to get through the day when a panic attack is happening. If I weren't a fighter, I fear that I would not have made it through some of the days. I too am on thyroid medication. I never thought there was a connection, other than the depression that rears it's ugly head. Thanks again, for helping me feel a lot less fucked in the head.