Category Archives: panic attacks

The Other One About Night Terrors

Going to try to get through this without losing my shit.

The other night I am sleeping in the guest room. I wake up in full dark with the certainty that there is someone in the room. My heart hammers against the mattress where I’m laying on my side. I can hear them. Just a little shuffling sound, a quiet breathing.

There are 2 doors out of this room. One to the hallway, one to the bathroom. Both are equal distance from me.

I am still.

I am quiet.

I want hear if there is more than one.

I take a quick inventory. I can reach the lamp on the side of the bed, use it as a weapon, use it to break out the window, use it to light up the room, but that would blind us both.

I know my first movement will give me away. Let them know I’m not asleep any more. At my fingertips is the iPad I used to watch Netflix until I crashed out. If I open it to call for help, I’ve given myself away. While I’m debating, the bed moves – ever so fucking slightly- like someone’s leaning against it, or has sat down very carefully.

I’m thinking: knife. They probably have a knife. I have two very thick quilts- so there’s some security there. I have a small fort of pillows around me – so it might be hard for them to know which lump is me in the dark.

All this time, I do not move. I don’t want to give away that I’m awake and lose the little edge I have.

And then I wonder if I’m right about this person’s location. What if they’re not where I think they are. What if the knife isn’t a knife? What if it’s a hammer? And if I don’t MOVE NOW there’ll never be another chance.

I throw off the covers and grab the lamp, swinging it like a club, putting my back to the closet door.

When I realized I was alone, it took me 49 minutes to calm the fuck down. I walked the house, checked locks, dogs, and kids. Checked the sig-oth. Picked glass out of the carpet.

The adrenaline dumped and I couldn’t shake the absolute goddamn terror. Just writing about it makes my body remember it. It felt real as hell. I was awake laying there freaking the fuck out and believing my family was in danger.2ed799ee2fb77f743847dc4a3b52df8a

TL;DR: Plan and act, people. Even when you’re sleeping. And see if they make tactical lampshades. Anything less is a Rook mistake.

The One About Now

Sometimes when it’s dark, it’s the worst. Fearing sleep or wanting sleep to not deal with anything wars in my head. Sometimes daylight’s the worst. seeing everything in crystalline clarity and knowing theres nothing to worry, get upset, or get fucking pissed off about- but there it is. Like cat shit on the linoleum. Everyone can see the daylight crazy. No way to cover it up. No way to hide it.

The years press down on me. All the time I’ve been home safe and all the time I wasn’t. It’s acid. It just keeps eating away at me. Eating me away. How much more will it take before I wake up and can’t remember how to be me any more?

I’m OK. Everything’s fine. No, really, I’m OK. It’s my mantra. And most of the time it’s true. Tonight my skin doesn’t feel like mine and I want to kick a hole in something. But, I’m going to bed instead. Sleep it all away  hlyygni

The One About Bloody Noses

Looked down this morning to find my nose was bleeding. It happens occasionally. I overheat and then there’s a gusher. Been dealing with it since I was a kid.

But it’s been a long time – years even – since it’s happened.

Now instead of racing my bike up the hill by my house, instead of sliding across the goal into a post face first, instead of sprinting towards third – I’m not a kid any more.

Bloody noses are my first husband. They are his whispers in my ear, the sharp crack snapping my head back, the twisted image of myself that he gave me.

But…

Really, it’s just blood on a tissue tossed and gone.

Like him.

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The One About Slipping

I’m a talker. I will carry conversations. Lately, all I’ve wanted to do is sit in silence watching Netflix or sleep.

I know that’s not me.

So my sig-oth said to me awhile back that it might be time for me to seek some treatment (again). That’s his way of letting me know that I’m regressing. I can feel it. I think it’s the great divide between the forward thinkers and backsliders that’s going on in the States. There’s not a safe space here. And I’ve looked at all the cat videos I can stand.

I’ve done cognitive therapy. You sit and talk with the therapist who assures you that you’re living a guilt-free life. That works for awhile because logic. Problem is that the tangled brain/emotion/thoughts come back and, for me, it’s hard to hear her voice. Sounds crazy, right?

Right. Mental health issues. Crazy. Labels are great.

There are other options: meds, family therapy, group therapy, and exposure therapy. Fucking all the therapy makes you talk and I don’t want to do that. Feeling like a little chicken-hearted punk because I know I need to go, but it’s sure comfortable in my little zoned out spot on the couch.

 

The One About Saying No

As a chick and a parent, I’ve said no somewhere in the billions of times. I’m talking about this:

Bugger bugs.

“Stop.”

Bugger continues, upping their game and laughing.

“No, stop. I’m serious.”

Bugger kicks it into high and taunts.

I raise my voice, lay hands, force a stop.

Bugger gets feelings hurt and accuses me of overreacting.

Brothers, boyfriends, friends, coworkers, even my dad. It’s been omnipresent in my life.

Never really thought much about it other than to be annoyed. Today, being home sick and bored to tears, I watched a couple of movies. Guess what they both had in common.

Scenario One: The woman tells the man to stop because she doesn’t want to get into the water. He chases her, corners her, forces her over his shoulder before throwing her into the pool. The whole time she’s screaming for him to stop. She’s MAD when she gets out of the water and the man stalks off because he thinks it’s NOT FAIR that she’s angry. She runs after him and apologizes.

Scenario Two: The woman has had a traumatic past that has not been disclosed to the man. He puts on a mask and stalks her around the dark house. The whole time she’s backing up, trying to get away, and screaming for him to stop. When she slams the bathroom door on his hand in an effort to lock herself in, he’s pissed. She apologizes to him and explains her traumatic past as a way to make him understand her reaction.

No means no. All the time. Every time.

No, don’t want to go out with you.

No, I don’t want to be tickled.

No, you can’t have a hug.

No, I don’t like to be scared.

No, I don’t want to have kids.

No, I don’t want to get my extensions wet.

And no I won’t apologize to you for the response your actions wrought.tumblr_naqc5foddz1rxmno2o1_500

TL;DR: Stop making this normal. Reject it and don’t fucking apologize for asserting yourself. Thinking men are too fragile to be told no is a Rook mistake. Let them deal with it.

 

 

 

 

The Other, Other, Other, Other, One About the VA

It’s not enough that we have maggots. The Other Other One About the VA

Google auto fills “vet suicides at” with:

  • Phoenix VA
  • VA
  • Denver VA
  • Attempts per day

It doesn’t tell you about the one that happened in Albuquerque on the 22nd. Just like no one reported on James Ingram III setting himself on fire in a VA parking lot (The One About Ending It All) because apparently people pretend like none of this is happening.

All I know is what was reported by disabled veterans.org because there’s nothing else to find. I even checked the Albuquerque Journal‘s obit section and none listed the cause of death as a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while standing at the doors of the Albuquerque VA hospital .

hlyygni

Reach out. I didn’t seek help – it was thrust on me. A friend made the appointment at the VA for me. It wasn’t my answer. Compartmentalization will break down. Seek help and/be the help. Anything less is a Rook mistake.

The One About Anticipation and Anxiety

It’s a weird and jagged line I walk between anticipating something exciting and anxiety about  it. I don’t worry so much that I’ll say something that brands me an idiot among geniuses, that’s a given. And I’m OK with that because I’ll turn it around. I don’t worry that someone’s not going to like me any more. I’ve lived enough to know that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t have a lukewarm personality and  probably don’t care for those that do. Casper Milktoast would not be my bestie.

The fade from anticipation to anxiety starts when I pack my suitcase.

We were blue-collar poor growing up. My father was a fireman and my mother stayed home. That meant my clothes consisted of hand me downs from my cousins (one was a female and rail thin and the other was male that outweighed me bout about 50 pounds), garage sales or shift stores, and for special occasions Sears. As a kid that suited me just fine.

In high school I discovered that I didn’t have the gene or eye necessary to put an outfit together. I lied to myself that I didn’t care.

Then there was the Army. I didn’t have to worry about what I wore. But it fed into the idea that I didn’t know how to dress myself like an adult type person.

Back to the anticipation feeding into anxiety. As I’m packing for my trip on Thursday (it’s Sunday now) I realize that I’ve been buying pieces here and there all year for this conference. There will be people from everywhere – all walks of life and incomes. And I don’t want to fit in or stick out. What’s that about?

It’s ridiculous that I am so excited to be heading to Denver for Sirens, but freaking out about something so banal as clothes.Especially since I know that it doesn’t matter how much I’ve spent on everything, I’m probably just going to wear jeans and a t-shirt. It’s what makes me comfortable.

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