Monday, May 19, 2008
The thing about a panic attack is that from the outside one can appear quite calm. Imagine the scene. You, sitting in your nondescript cubicle, fingers clacking across keyboards echoing around you. The rustle of papers, the murmur of voices on the phone along with a cough here and a clearing of the throat there. If you listen carefully you can hear the beeping of the truck backing up outside 7 stories down. Mainly you heart your heart trying to jump out of your chest. You try to inhale shallowly to keep anyone from hearing your erratic breaths but your heart keeps beating faster and you are convinced everyone knows it- everyone knows you are on edge and about to jump into the chasm of fear. On the outside you appear fine, giggle at the gentle flirtation of a coworker, flash smiles that don't fully reach the corners of your eyes. Everyone walks away from you thinking "what a great gal, she has really got it together." You want to run out of the building screaming and rending at your hair. The panic and the tears bubble in your chest trying to escape and you adopt a frozen mask of official business that hardens trying to keep the fear at bay. Your skin crawls with the want to run run run but you don't give into it. The idea of hiding in the stairwell is quite tempting, so is a long walk maybe to Starbucks to get a drink but that would only make the anxiety worse. It's the feeling of being out of control that is the hardest to deal with. Of having to clamp down so deeply and concentrate so fully to keep everything tightly reined in when you want nothing more then to let go.