Deer Running

    My heartbeat is so strong my scalp tingles. Breathing accelerates. A deep breath does not settle, it just catches in my throat. My mind scatters like a scared cat on a waxed floor. I try to sit still but my hand opens and closes in spasms. All this results from words. Even when they are fiction. Even when the words are removed, sitting on a page; even when there is no volume of voice to scream them. Even when they are not curses or condemnations. Even when I know my answer to the questions, my logical response. I may be just watching the news, but panic is always there. The force of opposition, a snide disparagement, or the implication that I am less than the other, these small aggressions force my anxiety to the surface. A deer in the forest, ready to run. "Attack" is the main word.

    I used to think that other people had panic attacks. I tried to forget when I was triggered. I tried to ignore the unfortunate desperate decisions I made in that state. I tried to just move on. Smile and nod.

   Only lately, during our season of Pandemic isolation, I was able to see that my reaction to a phone call, a text, an email, or just an image on television was overboard. Watching a fictional show in my own safe home, in my comfortable chair, with my blanket and a cat, still, my panic could rise. An email could bring my blood pressure close to 200/90 in a flash. For comparison, 140/90 is high; a hypertensive crisis is a severe increase in blood pressure that can lead to a stroke. At 200/110, I should go to the ER. It was 176/90 for over an hour yesterday. The last time my blood pressure was over 200, I did go to the hospital. There I was attached to a metal box for 24 hours. I slept with the nodes stuck to my chest and back cradling the box as I slept on my side. Diagnosis - idiopathic vertigo and erratic heartbeat. Treatment - antinausea pills, physical therapy, and time.

   When my condition became so frequent that I consulted a therapist as well as an acupuncturist, I finally had some relief. Acupuncture reduced my vertigo. The therapeutic training gave me techniques to calm my panic, but there is nothing I have found to stop them. Even when I understand the history and the physiology of the attack, I can only manage them. Even when the lack of threat is known, oblivious, they come. I have lived with some version of this condition for as long as I remember. Now I have a name. I can say, “Oh, excuse me, I’m having a little panic attack,” and disappear into the toilet for half an hour. To those I leave at the table, I will return. Some of you will understand.

 

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
 oooooooooo.    ooooo   ooooo             oooooooooo.         .o8   oooooo     oooo 
`888' `Y8b `888' `888' `888' `Y8b "888 `888. .8'
888 888 888 888 .ooooo. 888 888 .oooo888 `888. .8'
888 888 888ooooo888 d88' `"Y8 888oooo888' d88' `888 `888. .8'
888 888 888 888 888 888 `88b 888 888 `888.8'
888 d88' 888 888 888 .o8 888 .88P 888 888 `888'
o888bood8P' o888o o888o `Y8bod8P' o888bood8P' `Y8bod88P" `8'


Submitted by nancy on Tue, 06/07/2022 - 12:54