Today, just a few hours ago, I had probably the worst anxiety attack that I can remember having. The feeling of
fear complete terror, thoughts racing through my brain, the paralyzing feeling that it all triggers. My heart is racing , my muscles are tense and I feel like I am about to have to fight my way out of a horrible situation, so I remain motionless to avoid the impending doom that I know is right there, almost upon me.
What triggered this? A friend’s birthday party.
My wife told me yesterday about a birthday party for a high school friend of mine that was happening today. Here’s where that is an issue for me. I am an introvert, so I find people tiring at best. There were going to be people at this party that I didn’t really know, or know that well that have kids that they bring to get-togethers along with our normal group of friends. So, we are talking about a fairly good sized group. I have to kind of prepare myself for these sort of things. I know how that must sound, but that’s just me. Now, take introversion and mix it up with Anxiety Disorder. Yeah, it’s a fucked up cocktail.
(Want to learn about introverts? Here you go)
So, I start my meditative breathing and mindfulness exercises. I start to feel a little better, then the racing thoughts come back and they have brought a friend. I start seeing these faces in my head of people laughing, with food in their mouths and all of these babies walking about and if felt like they were so close that it was hard to breathe. Now, the fear is back, and the terror. I start doing more meditative breathing and mindfulness exercises and they are helping relax me, but the faces are still there. I keep up with the breathing and meditation until they are gone. Now, about an hour has gone by.
To rewind a bit, I quit smoking yesterday and went back on my eCigarette. It’s been challenging, but I have made it work. Now back to the present, my wife, while witnessing all of this and supporting me through it, finally says that she is going to the corner store and offered to pick me up a pack. I caved and rather quickly. While she was gone, I did a few more breathing exercises to relax my body, and I was now completely relaxed. I then started the internal debate on if I could attend this party.
My concern was having another attack at the party. However, my other argument was not knowing any of this until I actually went to the party. So, at the time, I would be be having the attack and not having the attack until I actually went ( Fucking Schrödinger). Then I thought by not going that I was letting the anxiety win, but if I went and had to leave early and disappoint my wife that would be even worse. Now the racing thoughts were creeping back in and they brought a friend, a headache. So, more breathing and a 800mg ibuprofen.
Ultimately, I decided not to go. I felt like I had defeated my anxiety, but was wounded in the battle by not being able to go. I still claimed victory, but now another one of my monsters was coming to get me.
I started feeling down, defeated, and like I had disappointed everyone. Like I was a failure and that I couldn’t do something as simple as go to a fucking birthday party. My wife asked me if everything was Ok, and I told her that now I was feeling depressed and why. She reaffirmed me and offered to stay with me, but I objected to that. Her staying would have just made things worse and I really just wanted to be alone right now. I know I am not a failure, I know that my friends may be disappointed, but they will also be understanding. Most importantly, I know depression lies. I know that when I am depressed, everything that creeps into my brain is a lie.
Right now, I am
good to go OK. I feel a little down, but I know that in the end, everything will be OK and that my friends love me and understand what’s going on. My anxiety is gone (finally) and this depression will pass soon. Right now I plan on watching some TV, and just taking it easy the rest of the night. I have defeated my monsters, and I will live to fight them another day.