I’ll Be OK
I’ll be ok, just not today. A thought that I haven’t looked at in a while.
Strangled in the grasp of anxiety and panic attacks as of late, I’ve been telling myself and my husband that I’ll be ok. But he worries, and no one could blame him. If I’m not ok enough to be at work, then something is wrong. Well, yes something is wrong. But it won’t last forever. I’ll be ok. Just, maybe not today.
Work has been a stressor to me for a very long time. The urge to run from the building screaming like a maniac passes through me everyday. I’ve been holding my tongue, and willing myself to stay at my desk for a long time. My last job lasted almost a year until I couldn’t take it anymore. The idea of going to work turned my stomach upside down, cramps, and nausea followed. Walking into the building felt like walking into a cloud of darkness and fog. Stifling and choking me. Sadness crept through me. Sitting at my desk made my skin crawl. And the overwhelming desire to run weighed on me. But I forced myself to go, for my family. We need me to work. I reminded myself everyday that someone has to buy Rockee some food!
But eventually, like it usually happens, it became too much. The weight too great. The need to run outweighted the need to stay. I felt bad and stupid.
Now, I have a new job. And the feeling is starting again. Knowing that I’ll be ok is senseless when your body is screaming otherwise. Panic starts as a tickle of anxiety. It starts in my chest. It’s a funny tickle that’s hard to move away. Then it spreads. My heart starts racing. Or skipping. I have palpitations too. Then it becomes hard to breathe. Like all the air has been sucked from the room and my lungs are protesting. Hyperventilating starts. Trying to gulp as much air as I can when there is none. My brain feels fuzzy. It’s a combination of the hyperventilating and my heart racing. Then it’s numb. It starts at my lips. It spreads. Like tar, it slowly moves, taking its time reaching for other parts of me. Vision goes black at the edges. I can hear my voice calling to me, telling me it’s ok. It’s just a panic attack. It’ll be ok. But everything in my body tells me that this is the end. And the need to flee renews and I run away. I leave. I just go.
Leaving, makes the spots disappear. Leaving lets air back into my lungs. Removing myself from the building is freedom and I am ok.
When I get home I sleep, or, lately, I clean. It’s therapeutic and it makes me look like the good housewife that I’m not. Rockee comes and sits in my lap. Pressing her body against mine. Relieving the pressure in my body.
Then my husband gets home. And the looks and marks of concern grace his face. Worry. I apologize, because it’s my own fault that I’m home. How do you explain to your husband, who works so hard to provide for you, that you can’t even stay at work? He understands. He’s had panic attacks, he knows. But it doesn’t sit well with me. In my mind, I’m wrong. Things are falling apart and breaking. Shattering all around me and it’s all my fault. Because I have a job and I can’t make myself do it. “We’ll be fine,” he says. He’s just worried about me. I’ll be ok, just not today.
One day, maybe I’ll understand that people aren’t as bad as those that I’m used to. I’m so used to being criticized and scrutinized, having someone believe in me, it’s new terrain. While I want to say that I’m optimistic, I’m not.
The logic – or science I should say – is there. I know what a panic attack is. It’s a sudden burst of adrenaline caused by a misfire in the fight or flight center in my brain. That’s why there always the urge to run away. Even when there is nothing to run away from. I know that deep breathing and grounding techniques help. And when that fails there is medication. But in the middle of an attack, there nothing. Nothing but the need to run. So I run. And, what’s going to happen to me, when I run at the wrong time? No one can run forever. And being an adult means taking responsibility, means holding a job for more than a few months at a time. This is not healthy, not logical, not sensible. But what do you do when the one thing you need to do causes you fear – blinding fear? Face it? I’ve tried. Oh, how I’ve tried.
Maybe someday, I’ll figure it out. But I guess for now, I just take it one day at a time. Because, I’ll be ok, just not today.