Thursday, September 4, 2008


i had a panic attack today.

i hate them. i have specific phobias. those phobias translate into panic attacks occasionally, starting about three years ago. i had gone my entire twenties without having one. i had generalized anxiety of varying degrees but for years that was even 'gone'.

i'm searching for how to stop this. i know i can't stop bad things from happening to me, so i'm not obsessively looking for protection from whatever i fear. bad things will happen, even really bad things. that is unfortunately what happens to almost everyone at some point. it's happened to me already, in the past. i am not trying to stop things from happening, i'm trying to stop having panic attacks that they will.

i have 'triggers'. so this means when i hear those specific words, i get a huge rush of adrenaline, like i'm climbing the largest roller coaster in history. and then i get to the top, survey the reality that i am thousands of feet in the air, protected by nothing, and i drop. the drop is the panic attack. it knows no reason. fear is not reasonable. it doesn't give a shit about logic, because it is it's own logic.

some people have panic without trauama, but mine comes directly from my abusive childhood, which was filled unrelentingly with fear and emotional and occasionaly physical pain. i had panic attacks as a kid without having any idea that is what was happening; i thought that was just life. that was just me. i suppose i imprinted onto panic, and now my cells have understood it to be part of my makeup.

therapy, Zoloft, healthier living and love pulled me through my twenties.
then a very rough patch of life involving disease, pain, fear and lonliness descended, and the panic came back with a big fucking SURPRISE PARTY, like the most nightmarish surprise party you could ever imagine, sprung on you in a dark alley after the love of your life dumped you and your best friend told you you sucked and you had the spins and no one ever loved you or ever would, and you walked into a dark alley and your feet stopped working and you were frozen in place and mass murderers and child molesters jumped out and up and down with black balloons: SURPRISE!!!!!

that is a panic attack.

i want to do biofeedback but can't afford it.

i'm really pissed off at this alley and it's reaccurance in my life. i'm tired of the fear in my past finding new ways to attach and grow on to my present life, which has children i love, a husband i love, writing, books, beautiful things.
Jennifer Ren said...

I used to have panic attacks regularly - in the shower and at night and when alone. Those situations were my triggers. It was never quite determined why I had them in the shower; the rest was due to what we will refer to as a "stressful" childhood. The last one I had was about 5 years ago.

While reading this I thought that perhaps the cause of the attacks returning could be that you have something from the past creeping around in your subconscious thoughts. Maybe it is demanding your attention by pushing its way into your conscious existence in its own sneaky way.

Happyflower said...

Wow, I know we don't know each other, but reading this, I feel I know you because I know what this feels like. Only mine is a dark hole, but that is too cliché from what I learned recently about poetry, so dark alley is better.

I agree with what Jennifer said, something in your environment is probably triggering this. I read you are a mother and sometimes even your kids can trigger something. I have PTSD now because my mother triggered the memories of the past abuse from her, by trying to contact my children to have a relationship with them without my consent. (long story)

What has helped me a lot with the triggers is EMDR therapy. Do you know about that? It is a treatment that they now recommended to soldiers who come back from war.
Well anyway, don't want to get to deep here, we haven't even met, so I hope it isn't too weird me responding. I hope you feel better, keep writing and hug those kids tight.

óscar said...

You don't know how much I understand you. I'm a depressive dork who have panic attacks almost everyday in the subway, or in my house, or in the movie theaters,... I had a good childhood, not as you, as I can read, but I'm scare of everything. And I have to take two pills everyday, that make me feel like a kind of zombie. Sometimes I'm better than others. But the panic is always inside me. Take it easy.

Shannon said...

I understand, and I am sorry. It does suck. It really sucks. We work so hard, and yet it is always there.

jen said...

i live there too. thank you for telling this.

i'm so sorry. it wrenches my heart.

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