Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#117: Suit up and show up

I woke up today anxious and the knot in my stomach stayed with me all day.  Before I left the house I prayed.  I ate.  I read a helpful book.  No change.  I went to work.

When I was with my students teaching, I was okay.  Then lunch came and I was disappointed to discover that the pit in my stomach was still there.  I felt panicky and disconnected and my body felt like it had electricity flowing through it, but not in a good way.  I felt utterly, completely, unsafe. I think this is sometimes called a panic attack.  They used to happen VERY frequently and I would shut down for the day.  All I could do was go to sleep, go to a movie or go shopping, but all the while I was just running away from the panic, hoping it wouldn't catch up with me.  After I got divorced this phenomenon peaked, and the most I could handle in my life was taking 3 classes and working 10 hours a week at a running store.  Sometimes I'd be sitting in the math room doing homework when all of the sudden this panic would overwhelm me and I would be utterly paralyzed.  There would be crying and phone calls and writing and talking and discomfort and fear and activity for the day would cease.
Anyways, I had a meeting with a colleague after lunch and while we were talking I was acutely aware that the panic was still there, not far below the surface.  I just kept swimming.  Just. Keep. Swimming.

I made it through the last class of the day, again distracted by my students and teaching.  As soon as the classroom was empty, though, the panicky resurfaced.

Just.  Keep.  Swimming.

I just kept going:
  • Costco.  I am safe.
  • Home.  I am safe.
  • Run.  I am safe.
  • Dinner with friends.  Relief.
That last one saved me.  They were talking about living in the present, getting out of future tripping or fantasy, and regaining proper perspective on their lives. 

And they took me with them!

My plan after that was to go home and get ready for tomorrow (realizing it's only 6:30, but you can never prep too much, right?) but instead I went to Story Story Night with a girlfriend.

Without panic!

So instead of sitting around tonight watching another Netflix movie (which I'm actually doing while I write, She's All That), I spent the evening laughing, feeling free, getting to know a girlfriend better and meeting new people.

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