Yesterday I had my first panic attack.
It was a five-hour ordeal as crippling as everyone describes, and the fact that I am writing about it today would have been considered a miracle in the world I knew a couple dozen hours ago.
It was a dark place. Not like hell. More like the view you get of a living room through a screen door. The room is full of all the good things in life – people, couches, TV – but there’s this black mesh that lets you see everything but touch nothing. It lets in the light of the outdoors, but keeps the pests at bay. Hell, you can even feel the air conditioning waffle though this microwoven gate, teasing you with cooling relief as you bake on a porch, demanding entry …
But the screen door is shut tight. Locked. And no one is truning off the TV to come and answer the door. It’s like the 1990 NBC Thursday Night Lineup is playing in there or something.
So you bang on the door with your wide-fingered slapping hand. You scream. You yell. But you can’t seem to get into the living room. You’re left outside, alone, hurting. And you think you’ll be alone forever.
Ours is a world of infinite choices and zero tolerance for failure. You can be anything, do whatever you want – as long as you make the right choice. I’m glad that we know more about anxiety, and how it’s bred from our culture’s demand for the best of us, immediately.
I am grateful to have a partner who is battles her own anxiety, so she knew to stay close and anchor me. There were times when I thought that I would never see her again, and today I can’t take my eyes off of her. She’s almost annoyed at the attention.
I don’t know when this will happen again, but i’m certain that it will. I’ll be ready, I think.