Tag Archives: personal

Panic Attacks Suck

Obligatory vague, moody photograph.

Obligatory vague, moody photograph.

It wasn’t till I read my therapist’s email that I realized I’d been having a panic attack.

“[X] can help stop racing thoughts,” wrote my counselor, replying to a message where I explained I didn’t know what to do, and something was wrong, because I was at work and I couldn’t stop crying. And I hated myself, and I couldn’t do anything right, and I could think of about two things that might make me feel better, and they were not positive, healthy things. I’d been back and forth to the bathroom multiple times, trying to hide the fact that I was falling apart for no reason from my colleagues.

I didn’t know it was a panic attack.

That sounds strange. Didn’t know? It feels strange, to type – that a thing happened to me, a thing that’s happened before, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. But then, that’s anxiety for you. What my counselor said about racing thoughts made me focus more on the qualities of the thoughts, rather than their content, and that was when I flipped from thinking, “this is a depression issue, it came out of nowhere, and I’m fucking terrified because I thought my medication was working” to “Oh. Anxiety attack. So that’s what it was.”

When I’m in the midst of a panic attack, I don’t think of these thoughts as “racing” anywhere, I suppose. They careen back and forth in my head: the critical self-hatred, hopelessness, rebellious nihilism.

Fuck this. Fuck this. Fuck this fuck this fuck this fuck this fuck this fuck this. It’s a basic mantra, and nonetheless comforting – in the same way wrapping your arms around your knees and rocking back and forth in the corner of a dark room can be comforting. It’s about battening down the hatches, shutting off the inputs. Isolate everything. Deal with one thing at a time.

Only you can’t, because there are shit-flinging monkeys of the mind flinging shit back and forth in your brain.

Fuck this fuck this fuck this. Fuck this fuck this fuck this fuck this fuck this fuck this fuck this. And then, as the mantra fades, the repetition falls into a more familiar pattern. Hopelessness, disgust, dread. Self-loathing.

Panic attacks are good at sneaking up. What they suck at is sticking around once they’ve been identified.

It took multiple trips to the bathroom, a metric shit-ton of Kleenex, kind words from friends and a matter-of-fact email from a mental health professional to do it, but I’m glad to say, once that fucker got named it split in two and turned to stone.

I’ve spent three hours writing this blog (you have no idea how many times I’ve deleted everything and gone back to the start), and I’m still not sure how to bring it to a close.

So yeah. Panic attacks suck. Don’t have them.

But if you must (and sometimes, many of us must)…make sure to have them around someone who’ll tell you to call your doctor.

The Leather Skirt Diet

What’s the Leather Skirt Diet, you ask? It’s the diet that consists of “whatever will make me fit into the leather skirt” I’m wearing for a thing next week.

When I first ordered the leather skirt, I knew I was taking a chance. Getting it off the internet, no clear size guides giving waist measurements. But it fit. Not only did it fit, but the price-per-wear is already, like, a dollar. Because I have not stopped wearing it since it got here.

This has brought a new aspect to the Leather Skirt Diet: whereas the initial plan was, “run was hard as I can on the elliptical every day until the event,” all of a sudden I got scared. Because if there’s one thing that’s worse than a black miniskirt that’s too small, it’s a miniskirt that’s too big. This goes double when the fabric is leather.

A loose leather miniskirt is, how shall I put this, pointless.

So a few days ago, the leather skirt diet changed a bit. Now it was about maintaining. I mean, yeah, there are a few pounds that can go (and in case anyone’s worried, I put back on the weight I lost while sick and then some) and that’s safe, but at least I don’t have to be worried about the skirt not fitting. This was good timing, because it was around the same time the skirt showed up that I got a package of goodies from my mom.

In other words: MILLIONS OF COOKIES.

So far I’m enjoying the whoopie pies, and will bring the other cookies to work tomorrow. Because love them though I might, as we get into the home stretch before the event Thursday night, they may have to fall off the list of “Leather Skirt Diet” food options.

We shall see.

While out with my friend yesterday we joked about writing different kinds of novelty diet books. I’d write “The Leather Skirt Diet,” then she’d write the “Artichoke Dip Diet” (or whatever it was – if she sees this, maybe she’ll correct me in the comments), and then sooner or later (as many of our conversations do) we had devolved to a level of ridiculousness the likes of which I shall not inflict upon my dear readers. Suffice to say by the end of it we were laughing hysterically and a fully-fleshed-out idea for a series of e-books where we would pick goals and write diet books about them, but the diet books would be actual reflections of what we were eating, rather than aspirational “plans” that might or might not work.

Other than that, my weekend involved glorious weather in Manhattan, chilling on the Hudson, and getting a seriously amazing foot massage for like twenty bucks from a place where they thought I had fallen asleep *so they let me keep lying in the chair* till I opened my eyes. My feet feel so relaxed now.

What’s everybody else been up to this weekend?