My Old Friend, Panic

I remember my very first anxiety attack. It came out of nowhere. I was lying on the couch watching a movie with my now ex-husband. I felt fine, and then I suddenly lost my breath and began to cry hard, with body shaking, choking sobs. I felt panicked and afraid. I cried so hard that I could barely breathe, let alone talk to explain to my panic stricken husband who was staring at me with shock in his eyes what was suddenly wrong. And the truth is, I didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t know why I was suddenly terrified and sobbing uncontrollably. I didn’t know where it came from. I didn’t even know yet what it was and that there was a name for it. Now, 14 years later, out of the blue, they’re back.

I’m dealing with some incredible stress right now. I’m not talking I got a flat tire on my way to work kind of stress. I’m talking I don’t know how my entire life is going to work right now kind of stress. The other day, as I was trying to get ready to go run some errands, I was having a difficult time getting dressed. I have recently lost a lot of weight and while that’s great in many ways, it makes getting dressed frustrating. As I searched through my closet seeking something casual, yet put together, I began to get upset. I put on the first pair of jeans and a tight tee and then decided I didn’t like how the jeans looked. I put on a second pair of jeans that somehow was baggy in the stomach and still was tight in the waist. As I looked in the mirror, I knew I needed to change the shirt now as I clearly had a “muffin top” going on and the shirt was too tight. In the middle of all of this, I was getting upset at the idea of feeling frumpy and looking unkempt. I worried that if I went to the store in my small town and was seen looking less than put together in combination with my dramatic weight loss and the skin condition I’ve been battling from working almost 60 hours a week in the sun, that people would make assumptions that I was on drugs. I was overthinking and worrying over nothing, but in that moment, it felt like a big deal, and I was upset.

As I sat on the foot of my bed thinking about the clothing problem, feeling uncomfortable in my clothing (a big deal for those with sensory issues) and starting to tear up, I began to feel a familiar feeling of panic rising in my chest. And just like that, seconds after recognizing the feeling, the tears began to pour and choking sobs began. Panic took over and the world felt like it was ending. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t control it. I knew I just had to ride it out. After a few minutes of intense crying and shaking, I could feel that I was over the worst part of it. I was upset and hot. I stood up and stripped off the clothes that I knew contributed to how uncomfortable I felt. Kicking them onto the floor and climbing back on the bed, I laid there and let the rest of it out knowing intellectually that it would feel better soon, but not truly feeling it yet.

When it was over and I had more control again, I thought about how it had been more than 10 years since I’d had an anxiety attack. Calm tears rolled down my hot cheeks now over the feeling of grief over the fact that I was staring my past problem in its ugly face. I thought that I would never have to face a panic attack again. Yet, here I am, stressed to the max, crying every day, wondering how I’m going to get through, and battling demons I never wanted to be familiar with in the first place. My old friend, panic, I have not missed you.

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The Whirlwind

“Work is slooow,” I said, “I’m bored, maybe I should blog.”

“Blog about us,” he says.

And so I open up a blank page and begin…

I’ve said before that this whole thing has been intense. It still is. It kind of has me lost in my own little world. There’s an entire chaotic world going on around me, and yet I’m largely oblivious and stuck in my own head and heart. 7 weeks of this now and I’m still caught up in the whirlwind.

We were supposed to move slowly, and in some ways we have. Largely though, we have moved fast. The connection was fierce from the beginning. There was a definite desire to constantly be connected to each other, to see each other, to talk and to laugh and to kiss. It has been all-consuming. This man has stirred my entire being from the depths of my soul…and this scares the hell out of me.

I have put much effort into keeping myself reigned in. I’m an intense feeler and this often gets me hurt in life. The last thing I want is to be hurt again. But I am raw and vulnerable and at risk now. I held it in so well initially. I bit my tongue more often than normal. I constantly reminded myself that we need to move slowly, that he is fresh out of a bad relationship and that wound is still gaping, and that I don’t want to drag my children through another breakup; therefore, I need to keep myself together and not let emotion take over. But it’s a losing battle now. He has my heart. All of it. I may be able to hold back my words with him, but there’s nothing left of my heart to suppress.

He makes it so easy to fall though. From his humor and insane ability to make me laugh even when I don’t feel like it, to the incredibly sweet things that he says, to the kind gestures of things like tucking my hair behind me ear to get it out of my face, this man has me hooked. I hear the things that he says about my children and how he pays attention to what they talk about, and I melt. I listen to the stories from his past and notice how he doesn’t hide the emotion of that stuff from me, and I melt. When we are intimate, he touches me in ways I’ve never been touched before, and I don’t mean with sexual skill but with true tenderness, and again, I melt. Everything about him makes me crave him more. He’s more of a man than most men I know. He’s noble and generous and morally sound and loving and protective. He is everything I want.

While writing about this makes it so easy for my heart to swoon just thinking about it, I again have to remind myself that this is scary still. There are no promises of forever. There are no declarations of love. While my heart is overflowing, his is still guarded. While I feel that “L word” every day, he is unsure. While I feel firmly one way and would have no problem telling him or anyone else how I feel, he doesn’t know that he even knows how. This is terrifying. And comforting. And crazy. And addictive. It is the whirlwind that is my life.