Friday afternoon I didn’t feel right. It was as if an anvil had been strapped to my chest. Breathing was labored. My face had that pins-and-needles sensation. I had to use the bathroom a couple times in short sequence. I’m pretty sure it was an anxiety attack.
I used to get them all the time, and overcoming them has been a central theme of this blog. I’ve largely controlled the attacks with Prozac and Wellbutrin.
Truth is, before Friday I can’t remember the last time I experienced one. That it came on with such force was more than a little distressing.
I don’t have to think too hard to figure out where it came from. I’ve been under a lot of stress. I’ve been doing a lot of driving the kids around. There are appointments everywhere on the calendar I look. My sleep is erratic. As great as work is going, I’m managing the endgame for a huge project I’ve been working on since early June and much is at stake.
All good things, but stressful nonetheless.
Friday the attack started while Erin and I were sitting in the accountant’s office, where we were getting our taxes done. The appointment was taking longer than expected, and we had to pick the kids up from school. I worried about the traffic and then fretted about having to go right back out to pick up trophies for a Cub Scout awards ceremony. I was thinking about things I wanted to do Saturday night, worrying about all the different ways those plans could be derailed.
It’s also February, when I start worrying about bad weather and family crises getting in the way of the biggest security conference of the year. Last year I was driven to distraction by that very worry, though that was more low-level anxiety, not an outright attack.
I have some work to do, untangling the various emotions and putting my coping tools to effective use. Back when these attacks were a twice-weekly problem I didn’t have the tools I have now. I’m also much better aware of the symptoms and at zeroing in on the triggers.
That’s something to be thankful for, and I am.
Like the rest of my demons, this is a life-long adversary to be kept in check. And so it will be.