7.16.19 | Day 1043
Musings + Reflections
There’s about ten billion Brené Brown quotes I could use in this spot typically designated/reserved for quotes I feel are an accurate summation, metaphor or analogy for whatever lengthy post proceeds it. However, this time, I feel this accompanying photo of an evening summer sunset outside my house does a sufficient job.
Yesterday started out beautifully. The project I helped install had its big opening and all crises I’d been designated problem-solver on, were solved with exuberance; I woke up early, painted my face, wore bright jewelry + fun printed pants, and treated myself to an overpriced cup of lifeblood (coffee), but the best part was: I knew my family + weeklong vacation awaited me on the other side of the day.
As soon as my happy butt arrived at the airport though, something unexpectedly nebulous and unsettling occurred inside of me, and I immediately recognized the telltale signs of a panic attack.
My eyes began to sting with hot tears, I felt my face flush, my chest tighten and I felt consumed by existentialism and wholly overcome by all the stimulation I’d endured these past few weeks. Every breath felt like a kaleidoscope of emotions, colors, textures, deep insecurities, flashbacks + present affairs. I became frightened to be in my own body, let alone in an airport thousands of miles from home.
It only intensified during my 2 hours spent in the airport. I became so triggered as I waited on my food in the little restaurant I went to for lunch; I found myself wanting a shot of vodka so badly I thought I was going to puke. I just wanted the underlying sense of indistinguishable doom to stop, by whatever means necessary. My palms got sweaty as I wished for a Xanax to magically appear; it was a cascade of indescribable feelings that left me unable to recall the last time I experienced that level of anguish.
I spent a decent amount of time locked in a restroom stall, trying to talk myself down + breathe my way through the volatility of it all. (10/10 Do not recommend an airport restroom as preferred place of doing either means of peaceful realignment.)
Alas, I kept the beast at bay, and successfully boarded the plane without requesting that much longer for shot of vodka, or erupting in endless tears or substantial sobbing. I still had to fight it the whole way home, confused as to what brought this on in the first place.
I had a few ideas, but had to keep calmly reminding myself all things potentially “responsible” for the anxious onset were all things that were out of my control. Ultimately I think it boiled down to being an existential, empathetic emotional sponge, and sheer depletion of self and soul. It then made me upset at myself for letting my candle burn at both ends to the point of having nothing left to burn.
I landed safely and was soon whisked home by Hubbins McBabydaddy and my two tiny tornadoes (the latter I was positive would be left like the Joker, rendered with perma-smiles due to the sheer joy they felt upon my returning home [it was a mutual exchange]), where I prayed their presence would be enough to stave off, or even starve to death, the feelings still swirling inside.
Spoiler alert: Relentless anxiety was relentless and relentlessly gave no fucks about my change of scenery.
I began crying almost immediately upon setting foot in the house; I felt defeated, angry, and above all, helpless. I tried to gather my toiletries and maintain enough composure to make it to the shower, where I intended to properly yet silently sob deeply into a towel.
I didn’t make it that far.
I was met with an annoyed + aggravated “What the hell is wrong with you?!” by the person I’d entrusted and confided in, every step of the anxiety ridden process, from the instant second I recognized something horribly wrong and unexplainable was unfolding inside me.
There’s more to this/it, and for the sake of avoiding seeming slanderous… Idk, I’m still trying to make sense of it. I chose to be vocal and deliberate about communicating what was transpiring, including the ambiguity of the catalyst of the onset, yet here’s another example of not being heard, and this one felt like an atom bomb detonating inside me.
Pretty sure I ran to the bathroom, flung the door shut and collapsed to the floor. Sounds overly dramatic and slightly unnecessary in retrospect, but at a time when I needed to be held, and soothed… to be asked that question made me feel absolutely worthless.
I do know I crumpled to the shower floor and heavily wept, questioning so many things, trying to rationalize and/or make even the slightest sense out of those same things…Now, idk if you know this but, it’s virtually impossible to be rational in any way, shape or form when you’re in the midst of a total breakdown. Who’d a thunk?! 😂😭
Afterwards, I came out and found two homemade cards slid underneath the bathroom door. One read, “I will help. You are loved. We love you alot.” (that one was from my 11-year-old) and the other one was filled with tiny yellow scribbles, that one being from my 3-year-old. The instant I emerged, I was pounced upon by both kids, who were enthusiastically screaming (it was joyful and uplifting) “WE LOVE YOU!!!” Fuck my life, wouldn’t you know it, I start crying AGAIN. These tears were ones of happiness though, and I held them both tightly and then gently explained to my eldest what happened, carefully omitting the final trigger that set off the attack. She’s becoming of age where peers are becoming diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and being the little empath she is, she’s full of questions because she wants better understanding of what’s happening to her friends and how she can help them. I explained that I could feel the attack coming on much earlier in the day, and made sure she knew it had nothing to do with her, it’s just that I had become so depleted and exhausted my soul couldn’t take it anymore and further explained facts aside, I still couldn’t pinpoint what the catalyst truly was. She hugged me tightly and told me I should get in bed and try to have a good night’s sleep; she ordered me to sleep until at least 9 a.m.
I’m not sure what the “moral” (point, really) is of this whole post other than possibly catharsis; sadly, in my defeated little mind, it almost feels like a glamorization of everything I endured and almost like a “look at all I can handle without caving to drink.”
All I know is, depression is something I’m extremely familiar with, anxiety — panic attacks, to be precise — is something that’s still fairly foreign to me, and I suppose I just want to be seen and possibly validated in my pain. Which also sounds like a desperate cry for attention as I read over my words. But I digress, and writing and sharing this newfound encounter has helped me process and analyze things after-the-fact, and I view that as a something that is both healthy and therapeutic, even if I feel as worthless as I do at this moment.
Today’s a new day, and though I’m definitely experiencing a post-anxiety attack hangover, I’m also on my first day of a week-long vacation and I believe some deep introspection is in order — whatever that ends up being. Mostly I’m just hoping to rest, have a few solo dance parties, catch up on that “sparking joy” trend and actually clean out my closet, and hopefully paint a canvas or two. There’s a couple of people I love dearly, that I’d love to make something for. If I’m feeling extra frivolous, I may even splurge on some chocolate cake or fresh cut flowers for myself.
Until next time, whenever that is, please keep fighting the good fight, causing no harm but taking no shit, and showing up even when you feel like shutting down… We’re all just walking each other home. I love you.