Panic Attack

Mrs. Pam's Quilt
Tacking “Mrs. Pam’s Quilt”

Early this morning I woke up in terror.  I haven’t had a 3 am terror in months and this one was worse than any I can remember having in a long time.  My fear was very specific. I woke terrified of the thought that I might be suddenly  paralyzed by a disease or an accident.  Maybe it came from a nightmare I had but didn’t remember, I don’t know where else it would have come from. And it felt as rational a fear to have as if it had already happened to me.

Once the initial panic was gone I laid in bed trying all the techniques I’ve used in the past when I wake in fear.  Telling myself it isn’t real, meditating on my center and picturing alligator, a symbol or strength for me.  I even tried talking to the “little girl” inside of me, the frightened one.  But when I did, I couldn’t offer her any comfort, I couldn’t separate her from me.  Talking to Jon always helps, but he was sleeping so soundly, which he rarely does, I didn’t want to wake him.  Eventually I got up and went into the living room to read.  Soon after that Jon woke up and we talked till I was able to fall back to sleep.

In the morning, the fear was gone, but I was feeling vulnerable and sensitive, bruised from what was  obviously a panic attack.  I’m still not sure what brought it on, but it felt old, a deep and buried pain surfacing in my subconscious.  During the day I did what I could to try and understand it all.  I talked to Jon and a good friend, meditated and worked on my quilt.  By the end of the day, I had some ideas what could have been the trigger for the panic attack, but it was still unclear and I had the urge to give into the exhaustion I was feeling and go to bed after dinner.  And I think it would have been fine if I did that, but instead I chose to go back to my studio and do some more work.  Because  work almost always makes me feel better.  And my warm, brightly lit studio felt like a safe and inviting place for me just then.

So I still have no answers, but I did what I could to get myself to a better place today and I know tomorrow I’ll wake up feeling even better, maybe all better.  My anxiety and the panic attacks are a part of who I am. They come less frequently than at any other time in my life and when they do I’m pretty good at dealing with them.  And I know, like nightmares, they brings gifts of awareness if I can see through the fear.  I also know it’s a continuing process and I’m living it.

2 thoughts on “Panic Attack

  1. Oh, Maria!! How beautiful, how painful! Your sensitive writing reminds me of a friend who often says “I love life. I love it that I’ve had 49 yrs to live the good and the bad, the fear and the faith. It is all life” Annie

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