Panic Attack

You guys, I had a panic attack so bad today I thought I would die. I can’t shake it. I got home okay, but only because a stranger helped me. I don’t even know how to talk about it.

It’s not just the panic attack, out of nowhere on an otherwise lovely day. It’s the way I feel like, for my own safety and the safety of other people, I have to stop doing things I enjoy.

It makes me so sad.

4 thoughts on “Panic Attack

  1. Luckily, that’s not a decision you have to make tonight. So sorry that you got ridden but glad that you’re back home.

  2. No, I’ll say that the thing I dislike about it most is the thing that always bothers me. I perceive myself as a whole consciousness. My arms move because I want them to move. I’m typing this stuff here because these are the thoughts I am having that I want to convey to you. I I I I I. One thing, one person, one body.

    When I was having my panic attack, my body was acting like I was about to die. My heart was racing. I felt this kind of hot prickly sensation. I couldn’t make my foot press the gas pedal. I couldn’t keep my car in my lane because my body wanted to be in the middle of the road, as far away from the edges as possible. It was all I could do to pull over and I couldn’t even pull fully into the parking lot of the salon where I pulled in because my body was so convinced we….I… would plunge over the edge.

    My mind knew, the whole time, that this was nuts. I knew, the part of me that I perceive of as “I” that this was nuts. I knew I was perfectly safe.

    My body did not fucking care. It was doing its own thing that my mind had very, very little control over.

    I mean, I feel like I had some kind of mental incident today, but to call it a mental incident is also to completely misunderstand it. My mental faculties were fine. My thoughts were rational.

    I had a physical incident.

    I’m terrified and embarrassed and mortified and very grateful to have been rescued by some really nice people. I’m confused about what caused it in the middle of a perfectly nice day.

    But the thing that terrifies me existentially is that feeling that I am two. That my one-ness is just an illusion that normally works so well I allow myself to believe it’s the truth.

    But when I have these attacks–though, lord, I have never had one this bad–I know I am not one. Not in some Irigaray way where I get to constantly touch myself or something fun like that. But where I acutely feel that “I” am just an electrical storm on top of an animal that has its own simple, but distinct thoughts and desires that don’t always line up with mine.

    I find that so fucking scary. Not just that I’m not as singular as I prefer to understand myself. Not even the sense that there’s another mind at work in my own fucking body. All of that I could get used to if I could find some framework that would help me make sense of it. I mean, fine, I thought I was a singular I, but really, I shouldn’t have been rolling my eyes so hard at people who think they have multiple personalities, and it’s more complicated than that. I can work with being wrong.

    I can work with being an electrical storm riding around on an ape.

    But the thing is: the ape doesn’t trust me.

    And I’m terrified that’s going to get us killed. And yet, dear ape self, it’s been four decades. If you don’t trust me by now, when?

  3. It’s not your body not trusting your mind, it’s your body having a defective switch somewhere that causes a short and triggers your panic mechanisms. Like a fire alarm/sprinkler system that keeps going off for no reason instead of just when you need it to.What I know about panic attacks (very little) is that they can be triggered but also can occur for no obvious reason.

    :( I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

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