They tell you to think positive thoughts when you’re having a panic attack but the first thing that crosses my mind is, “If I disappeared would anyone notice?” Being invisible normally works for me but as I clutch my hand to my chest I can’t help but wish there was someone here to comfort me.
In a way it’s funny because I posed the same question earlier in the day to a friend. If it sounds like I’m on the brink of suicide I’m not. It’s just the pent up anger and frustration from not being heard. No one listens to me. No one hears me. They choose the answers that are convenient to them and then twist my words one way or another until I start to second guess what I’m saying and then I can’t breathe.
My chest feels like it’s about to explode and I wonder if it’s because I didn’t use my inhaler today. I can’t breathe. I’m struggling to inhale and exhale loudly. I’m hiding behind my black filing cabinet next to my desk so no one can see me. It’s almost comical because I’m barely 5’2. Thanks to the piles of papers stacked high on the cabinet no one can see me, not even my high bun that would be a dead giveaway that I’m hiding.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
The last time I had a panic attack I was trying to drive to work. I turned on the car and gripped the steering wheel ready to drive but was unable to move. Sobs racked my body as I struggled to get my breathing under control. I remember crying on the phone as I called out thirty minutes before my shift, which was forbidden, but I couldn’t put into words what was wrong with me.
Now that I can breathe again, after having a piece of chocolate, a walk around the block and using my inhaler, I still feel worn down. My heart is beating in my chest rapidly. It’s so loud I can hear it in my head. I want the sound to stop.
Even though I prayed for someone to walk in moments ago to comfort me I’m glad my anxiety has gone unnoticed. Most people don’t understand what it’s like. It can hit you out of nowhere. No matter how small they think your issues are to you they feel like a massive weight on your shoulders. I am Atlas carrying the sky.
When people make fun of me over my fear of escalators they don’t understand the reasoning as to why I can’t get on one. They laugh but for me to step foot on one sets off a warning sound in my head. I have to count in threes and must get on the third step, not the first or second, or else I will surely fall to my death. If I don’t get on the third then I have to count to six but I can’t get on the sixth because that’s an unlucky number. So the ninth stair that materializes in front of me is my final attempt. Anything past nine makes me feel lightheaded and the panic rises in my chest.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
But today that’s not what I’m panicking about. Escalators are far away from where I am. I probably won’t encounter one for another week or so.
Today there are many things that are on my mind. Like the fact that after nine months my ex-boyfriend texted me Happy Birthday. Nine long months of silence and he acts like nothing ever happened. As if our relationship was a figment of my imagination. Maybe it was and that terrifies me.
The other thought that flits through my head is my ever increasing weight. I’ve been wearing the same pants for the last two weeks because I can’t fit into any of my other clothes. Even though they stretch the waistband is tight, my bra digs into my back fat and my underwear is so tight my vagina can barely breathe. There are rolls I’ve never had before on my stomach, a double chin that isn’t going away any time soon and cellulite so prominent even the idea of sex isn’t on the table–no one can ever see me naked again.
It feels like a stranger is in the room as I’m trying to breathe because I don’t know this body. I don’t know this extra weight and I don’t want to get to know it. Steroids have made me gain seventeen pounds in less than a month. Losing it is nearly impossible thanks to my PCOS. I’m an overweight, anxious, paranoid, asthmatic who can’t have kids.
God must have been distracted when he made me.
The weight, the PCOS, the fact that I’m alone, are all constant thoughts churning in my head but they’re still not the issue today.
Will anyone notice if I’m gone?
Would anyone notice if I just got up and walked away?
If I disappeared would anyone care?
The problem with being a loner is that when you need someone there during a crisis you’re alone.
People that have never had an anxiety attack don’t know what it’s like to feel split in two. They don’t understand the internal struggle you feel wanting to be left alone and then praying for another person to come and save you. Even if it’s just for a few minutes for one day. It’s difficult to think positive thoughts or try to focus on a happy memory when the world feels like it’s crumbling around you and you’re certain your heart is going to leap out of your chest and walk away.
Helping yourself is difficult…but not impossible.
Today at around 4pm I had a panic attack. It swooped in and crashed over me like a powerful wave. I’ve found after the fact it helps to reflect on what exactly I was feeling and what it may mean even if it doesn’t make much sense to me. The above is just that.