I am in the midst of a panic attack.
My chest hurts and I can feel the blood moving in my veins. My thoughts are loops and I am unrightfully angry and aggressive. The juices in my stomach slosh around like the churning water of a child’s amusement park boat ride. I feel vindictive and hurtful, but not to the outside world; I want to turn it inward.
“You’re not fast enough, Heather.”
“You can’t get it all done, Heather.”
“You aren’t good enough, Heather.”
Now, I’m angry at myself for my mental temper tantrum and I try to focus on the abundance of good in my life. Never am I lacking for clothes, food, water, or love. The shelter over my head is strong and sturdy: rain and wind are never issues. But now I am disappointed in myself for trying to make myself feel better for concentrating on what feels like an overabundance.
When did this start happening to me? What was the catalyst that brought on my hatred and doubt? I am scratching at my forehead and wringing my hands with anxiety, reminding myself that this attack will pass but acknowledging that now I will live in anticipation of the next bout.
“When are you going to write that paper, Heather?”
“Selena needs to see the doctor this weekend, Heather.”
“A Valentines box needs to be done, Heather.”
I want to hide in the bathroom and scratch my arms with the jagged edges of my fingernails, leaving a trail of white lines that sizzle and spark as they turn red. Adults don’t think like this. Adults aren’t destructive to themselves. They don’t crave just a little pain to make themselves feel better. Adults don’t crave a little aggression taken out on their body.
I am less than an adult when in the middle of a panic attack.
My ears are hot.
My skin itches and burns.
I feel exposed.
I repeat: here, now, loved, whole, healed, and enough silently to myself.
Tomorrow I will feel better.