I can feel it before it starts, like the tiny pop before a nose bleed.
I push it down, ignore it, pretend it's not there. I distract myself with work, with a book, with writing, with a friend.
It fills my lungs, weighing them down until every breath is through a straw into lead.
Until I can't push it down; I can't ignore it; it won't let me pretend it's not there.
I turn off my emotions, force myself into a space free of feelings.
I order myself to focus, to pinpoint the moment it started.
What was I doing?
What was I thinking?
What was I seeing?
What was I touching?
I think if I can just analyze it, wrap my head around the details, then I can somehow control it instead of it controlling me. Drugs would help, a voice whispers. But I don't want to rely on drugs for something so sporadic.
My mind races, reviews, sorts, catalogs.
My lungs feel heavier, my mind starts to wonder, what if there's not enough air?
I give myself a mental shake. There's always enough air, you dork. Don't be silly.
Was it the sign? Was it the blog post? The Facebook update? The smell in the air?
My heart starts beating faster, fear rising from my lead lungs to my throat. My body tenses. Fight or flee?
There's nothing to be afraid of, I tell myself sternly.
Was it the phone call? The appointment? The paperwork?
My foot starts to tap a stacatto. Fight or flee?
The voice in my head gets weaker, wondering if my body is telling me something I should hear.
Fight or flee?
I can't flee. I won't flee.
The lure of my bed, a dark room, a blanket pulled over my head is a mirage.
I can only keep fighting it.
My nails scrap the inside of my palms. Does anoyone notice?
I smile for the kids, make a joke with my friends, print out letters for signature, text a quip, Skype a minor frustration. I walk, I pace, I run.
My foot taps faster. I take a deep breath. I hold it, savoring the oxygen, letting it fill my body. I feel it run through my veins to my pounding heart. I tell myself to let it go, to breath out.
And I do. Relunctantly. Over and over again.
But I can still feel it, still feel the lead in my lungs, the fear in my throat.
The battle lasts for days, creeping into my dreams, filling them with blood, violence, death, fire.
And then, as silently as it appeared, it lurks back into the shadows until, when I least expect it, anxiety attacks again.
9 hours ago