Whelmed

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Headspace, insomnia
Tags: , ,

I am going to try (valiantly, mind you) not to drop the F-bomb all over the place up in here.

The way that a panic attack makes me feel now, in its fledgling aftermath, is just plain old PISSED OFF. As the heartbeat slows and the stomach un-clenches, instead of feeling just kind of relieved that it’s over, with a dash of contemplative confusion over why it may have started in the first place, now I just get ticked. Because, you guys? This is getting fucking ridiculous.

Sorry. Fail.

Last night Bill and I went to bed at 11:00 (after watching Memphis Blue, which is mostly decent and if it were on one of the “big three” networks it would never make it). At 2:30 my eyes popped wide open, and I felt fearfully adrenalized without the benefit of, you know, having been chased by a slathering Rottweiller or something. At that moment right before awakening, I hadn’t been dreaming. I hadn’t, obviously, been thinking about anything. I had been sleeping, goddammit. And yet here I was, hot and then cold, with a demolition derby going on in my gut and my breathing coming in short, shallow gasps. I tried taking deep breaths, tried finding a more comfortable position, tried closing my eyes and counting to a hundred. After about a half-hour of trying to calm myself down, I gave up the ghost and grabbed a Xanax from the bathroom. Swallowed it dry. Went back to bed. Tossed for another half-hour or so, then finally drifted off to sleep.

Only to wake up again, about forty-five minutes later, from a nightmare. Bill and I were on an airplane that crashed into the ocean, and then it was just the two of us in the murky, dark water. No debris, no other bodies, just us. And he was staring up at me as he was sinking down in to the ocean, while I drifted above him. He locked eyes with me, and he was peaceful, while I was frantic and thrashing in the water. I woke up gasping, and immediately rolled over to touch Bill as he lay sleeping next to me. He kind of grunted, but turned his hand in mine to hold it.

That old, stupid fear of death gripped me once again, and I wondered frantically how much time we still had together. Would we see the fulfillment of our goals that lead to a more soul-satisfying life, or would we just continue grinding away in the superficial surroundings of this valley we live in? What was the point of it all, and had I done anything, anything worthwhile? If I were to depart this mortal coil at this very second, would I be nothing but rotting bones in a grave? What happened to my mother, and my grandmother? Did they just stop existing? Because I don’t think I could bear the thought of Granny not existing somewhere, on some level.

Spin spin spin, panic panic panic.

I squeezed my eyes shut and sent up a hard, fast prayer to please help me find peace. Tonight, and in general, so that I could avoid these inexplicable attacks. For crying out loud, give me a normal mind.

Eventually, I fell asleep. My eyes popped open again at 9:00 this morning – the latest I’ve slept in weeks, benefit of the Xanax. But it had worn off, and my gut was well on its way to grinding again. So I said, out loud (to Ozzy, in fact, who was staring me in the face and sniffing my eyebrow), “FUCK this.” I got up, I made coffee, I called Bill, and hearing his voice made me feel better. I stared up the computer and figured out which assignments to write today. I took a pause, read through my feed reader, and now I’m writing this. None the wiser for what the hell is going on with my brain, but fed the fuck up to HERE with it.

I am sick to death of being such a mental mess.

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Comments
  1. Taoist Biker says:

    Argh! Brains are suck completely fucked-up organs. I wish I had answers, but in the lack thereof, I’m perfectly willing to drop f-bombs alongside you.

    I’ve got an office printer and a baseball bat in the back seat of my car…

  2. crisi-tunity says:

    First of all, you are so goal-oriented, and so amazingly capable of success and multitasking and publicity and stuff that I could never do, that there is no way you and Bill won’t meet your goals. No fear there.

    Second, you only have to look at all your archives of this thing that I hesitate to call a blog, it’s so much more than that, so much wider and deeper and more full, to know that you have obviously done something worthwhile.

    Third, I don’t think people just stop existing. We are too miraculous for that.

    Fourth, if you had a normal mind, you would not be you. You wouldn’t be able to think in as many interesting directions as you do. You wouldn’t be capable of being so goal-oriented and of creating this thing-which-is-more-than-a-blog. You are who you are in the night because you are who you are in the day, and to sacrifice one for the other means that you give up too much. Stay with it, breathe with it – this is why you have the Xanax, it’s not such a bad thing sometimes – and meditate on Dolly Parton: if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

    Still. I can see how you would be angry. (I’m just trying to clear up your despair.)

  3. crisi-tunity says:

    I also want to suggest something about the “why”, if I’m not too out of place. One of the reasons that the workshop leader of the yin yoga workshop I took in June gave for why yin is such an emotional practice, why you often find yourself in tears 3/4 of the way through a yin class and have no hope of calming down, is because you’re “getting off the hamster wheel”. It’s maybe the only moment you’ve had in years to actually stop your life and do nothing. That means that all the stuff you’ve been running from, the stuff you’ve put out of your head and life to be busy, has the chance to catch up with you. Maybe – since you’ve been on sabbatical for a decent amount of time now – you’re feeling that hamster wheel effect.

    • Taoist Biker says:

      Methinks the lady has a very valid point, here. As Calvin says in one of the cartoons, “I think the night is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction.”

      Crisi-tunity’s comment reminded me of a Slate article that I read recently (and she probably did, too) in which a guy went on a weeklong meditation retreat. I can sum it up quickly: At first it was torment, and he resisted truly meditating in various ways, until several days in he had a breakthrough.

      It is really really (REALLY) difficult for us Americans to truly be quiet, still, goal-less. Believe me, I’ve tried. But there are some times that you can get to that place, almost by accident, and when you’re there, it’s like floating in a cool river on a warm day.

      IF this is a possible explanation, then I’d say don’t beat yourself up over it too much – recognize it as your turbocharged brain overheating a little bit as it tries to slow down to walking speed. It’ll get there eventually.

      • Tiffany says:

        You know, if I weren’t HERE (in AZ, in the concrete jungle, in the FUCKING HEAT), I think I might be able to be more meditative. More floaty. Jayne once told me I need to bloom where I am (wise lady that she is), instead of constantly wishing for the place that I WANT to be blooming. It’s so hard to do that, here. Now, if I were sitting on my favorite rock at the Portland Head Light in Maine, I think I would be just FINE to be just floating along.

    • Tiffany says:

      Possibly? I’ve been home more than a month, though. Staggers the mind that I’ll just start ramping down off the hamster wheel, just in time to jump right back on it again when I go back to work! (This in response to Crisitunity’s second comment – I hate how comments thread in this layout.)

  4. Amanda says:

    The very wise people up top basically summarized how I feel about your entry, and you definitely summed up that absolute anger that I’ve felt whenever my anxiety ‘gets the better of me’.

    ~Hugs~ I hope tonight is a better night for you.

    • Tiffany says:

      Thank you, my friend! Just having you guys around makes me feel better, even in the midst of my panic. I think to myself, “I’m gonna write an entry about this,” and you guys pop in to offer me comfort and advice. Best thing about blogging EVAR.

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