Panic Attack City - Population Me
|Pictured: The waterfall created by my face leaking non-stop.|
Photo by Raphael Koh on Unsplash
This morning started out with the worst series of panic attacks in nearly a year. I couldn’t make myself get out of bed. Normally my insane need to be early for everything overrides anything else I may be anxious about. Not this morning. This morning I had the level of anxiety that makes me want nothing more than to be unconscious. When I finally got out of bed, I couldn’t make myself get in the shower.
I had no good reason for these panic attacks. It’s not like I woke up in a panic over something specific. My first thought was that I needed more sleep. It took forever to get to sleep last night – another side effect of anxiety. Next thing I know, I’m crying for no reason, thinking about everything I have to do to get myself and the kids out the door, and completely unable to get up and do any of it.
When you have a panic attack for no reason, it sort of feeds on itself. You don’t exactly know what caused it, so your brain starts giving you reasons. On any given day I have several dozen reasons to have a panic attack, but for the most part I’ve learned to keep those thoughts from getting out of control. On the occasions I can’t keep them from spiraling and I do go into a full-blown attack, I have an emergency anxiety medication that helps. Today, it took a few doses before it finally started to kick in.
So I eventually got myself and the kids out the door. We were much later than normal, so I found myself in the student drop-off line at both of their schools.
The drop-off line is nightmare fuel for me.
I’ve seen so many people online complaining about the idiots in the drop-off line who don’t know what to do, or do something wrong and hold up everyone else in the line. I’m terrified of being that person. I normally drop the kids off to a before and after care program at the school since I have to leave for work so early, so I’ve never had to deal with the drop-off line. This was the wrong day for me to be introduced to it.
Naturally my son took his time getting out of the car, despite me urging him to please hurry. In that moment he realized it’s field day and he wore sandals. You can’t participate in field day unless you wear tennis shoes. I always hated field day. It’s an anxious person’s nightmare. And since one of my biggest anxiety triggers is my son’s anxiety, I assured him I would go home to get his tennis shoes. The line continued to back up behind me, and my panic continued to rise.
I cried all the way from his school to my daughter’s school, where I was met with another drop-off line. That one went much more smoothly, so naturally I cried from relief.
I’m pretty sure my kids know exactly how imbalanced I am. Mommy cries a lot, no big deal.
After dropping them off at school I rushed home to get the tennis shoes, rushed back to the school to drop them off, and then rushed to work, crying the whole way. I hate that I cry during panic attacks. I can’t control it, it just happens. It also makes it impossible to hide the fact that I’m having a panic attack, which makes me even more anxious!
I showed up to work two hours late and am now convinced that they all think I’m the worst employee ever. The bosses are all in meetings or behind closed doors, and Anxiety is telling me they’re all talking about what a disappointment I am. (And now I’m thinking of those “prove me wrong” memes…)
The only time panic attacks have had an effect on my work is when my husband left me. I had to take two months of short-term disability because they wouldn’t stop. This is the second time a panic attack affected my work, and I’m bitter. I pride myself on my work ethic. I’m always early and I always do my best. So today I feel like a failure. I probably should have taken the rest of the day off because I’m sure my work performance is going to be shit because of anxiety, but I already feel bad enough for being late. I’ve already taken my max daily dosage of the emergency anxiety medicine, so I’m going to have to grin and bear it the rest of the day.
Wish me luck.