Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


From time to time I have panic attacks and recently I started to have one, a big one and I didn't immediately recognize what was going on.  Now that I am an adult I can look back and see that I have had panic attacks for many years, even as young as age 7 or 8 but at that time I had no idea what was going on.  I actually know for a fact that I was suffering from PTSD which can cause all sorts of anxiety disorders, panic disorders and much more.

It has been a long while since I have had this level of anxiety and to feel it building into panic was a strange feeling after all these weeks and months.  And I can tell you that the way it built, reminded me of being 8 years old again and my immediate response was to jump out of the car and run screaming through traffic.

Here is what it felt like.  My arms and legs felt like they were 1000 pounds each and they were sluggish and slow and they were moving and pushing the air around like the air was thick honey.  I became acutely aware that I was trapped in my location and unable to stop the feeling that I was trapped.  I started to not be able to control my breathing as I started to pant a little and my eyes darted around unable to focus on anything and then I knew I was in trouble.  My hands got sweaty and I wanted to cry or scream.  When I was a kid I would get out of bed and turn on the light and walk around and sometimes cry.  Sometimes I would crawl into the closet with a blanket or under the bed. Almost always I would suck my thumb.  I was in a car when this happened so I couldn't do that.  As the panic built I realized I was going to have a panic attack so I started with my breathing, since that was what I could control and then I started rotate my hands and feet and I had to ride it out until my blood pressure went down and I could actually get a sentence out of my mouth.

I got in under control but it was a reminder that this is me, I have to deal with this stuff and while I have things in place to help me navigate and cope with panic and anxiety it sometimes sneaks up on me and surprises me at the worst possible times.  And it most likely will never go away.  But in the story of my life, I am in control, it doesn't control me.

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