anxiety attackI’m having an anxiety attack.

As in right now.

My chest is tight.  My heart is racing.  My hands are shaking.  I have an overwhelming feeling of dread.

FYI, it’s very hard to type when your hands are shaking.

This is not postpartum anxiety, as I am grateful to have gotten past that many years ago.  This is good old, garden variety anxiety disorder, which I will have always.

I rarely have anxiety attacks.  I take medication for my OCD and it keeps me stable most days.  Every now and then, though, stress hits the secret high mark, some critical mass — I’ve never been made privy to the exact amount — and it starts.  It isn’t any one thing, really.  Just some combination of weights pushing down on my mind like grand pianos and then careening over the top I go.

I went over the damn top.

I hate that I can’t see it coming until it’s here and now I’m going to sit here and feel out of control.  I know this is part of who I am, like an uncle I rarely see and don’t particularly like, but who is part of my family nonetheless so I must welcome him with a pasted-on grin twice a year.

For me, anxiety attacks are part my biology and partly my own creation.  By the expectations I have for myself, the work I give myself to do, the things I bring inside of me that could probably just as easily have been left outside.

I don’t like this feeling.  It’s disconcerting.  It sucks.

Now I will hang on to the side of this anxiety attack for dear life, legs dangling, fingernails broken. This is not how I will be tomorrow. It’s not even perhaps how I’ll be five hours from now.  It’s not permanent.  I’m not dying.  I will not be scarred, or broken or bowed.

I will shake.  And then I will stop shaking.


Photo credit: Fotolia © Albert Lozano-Nieto