Looking for something entirely different, I came across this t-shirt:
I cracked up. Because I can completely relate. So I went a little crazy and found this:
And this one:
I had my first panic attack, almost two years ago, while I was driving my son to swim practice. Because my anxiety began while driving a car, that is where I am most uncomfortable. It is a major undertaking to get behind the wheel. My husband wants me to text him when I leave the house, when I arrive at my destination, when I leave the destination and again when I arrive home.
“I’m at Target. Pretending I’m a normal human being.” I text him when I arrive.
I clench the handle of the cart, forcing myself to move forward, just waiting for the anxiety to subside, trying to be interested in the items on the shelves. I watch other women, calmly choosing items, comparing and dreaming. Cooing at their babies. My heart is pounding out of my chest. My head feels light and starts that all familiar lean as I struggle not to pass out.
Breathe. Breathe. Focus.
Eventually, the worst of it subsides. But the lightness in my chest and the hyper-awareness is still there. I remember when I was that calm woman, weaving through the aisles. A time that I took for granted. When real, logical events caused stress in my life. Now it can be a light sprinkling of rain or a motorcycle cutting me off or a semi-truck passing me.
And the most frustrating thing? I am the woman who would drop the kids off at school, slip through the Starbucks drive-through and then take a new, out-of-the-way route home – just because. To see another part of town. Or to check out a street I’ve never been down. Or to check on “Wilbur,” a pig on a nearby farm, who hangs out in his pen, watching the cars go by.
Now, my husband takes the boys to school. (Mornings are my worst.) They ride the bus home. And I only venture out once the meds or herbs have kicked in. And then? I’ve only been able to drive about 5 miles away from home with any success.
I am the woman who traveled 800 miles with a 2, 3 and 12 year old to surprise her sister for her 40th birthday. I am the woman who drove 500 miles with her 6 and 7 year old sons to spend a week at Disney World. Just me and the boys. Now, I’m already anticipating panic as baseball season and swim season are about to begin. I’ve convinced my swimmer son to switch teams, a closer team, to cut down the driving distance.
It, this evil “it,” has changed who I am at the very core of my being. And I hate it.
My latest t-shirt find. I ordered it today.
At least I haven’t lost my sense of humor.
(Thank you, all of you, for your comments, emails and even phone calls of concern. I’m hanging in there. I have good days and bad days. But the good days are becoming much more frequent. I miss feeling like myself. I miss being here. But most of all, I miss all of you. xoxo)