The Pendulum Swings

Yesterday was…awful.

Mom called in the morning while I was at work, & told me that Dad’s best friend had passed away. This man was someone I’ve known for practically my whole life. His daughter & I were best friends and nearly inseparable from kindergarten through 5th grade. (The following summer of 1981 we moved to ND)

He and his wife were like second parents to me, as I spent almost as much time at their house as I did my own.

But, he was also the father of the boy who molested me when I was a teenager.

After Mom told me of his passing, I attempted to go back to work at my desk, but couldn’t concentrate. My head felt heavy, & I could hear a buzzing, ringing, in my ears as everything else around me started to fade out.

Then, the panic attack began.

I told my supervisor I had to go home, & bolted from the office before I went into full-meltdown mode. I didn’t want them to see me like that, couldn’t let them see me like that.

It was my worst panic attack yet, save one I had while separated from my first ex (whole other story). 

Tears rolled down my face the whole drive home, but I held my shit together till I got in my front door.

Then – game over.

If you’ve never had a real, full-blown panic attack…you have no idea how frightening one is. I hope you never have to experience it, because it’s…well…I’ll try to describe it.

As soon as my front door closed, the trembling started. I’m not talking about just “feeling shaky”. I’m talking – my whole body went into earthquake mode.  Someone just watching would have probably thought I was having a seizure, or that I’d just gotten out of ice-cold water, I shook so violently. I had to sit to take my shoes off, & struggled with the zippers because I couldn’t keep my fingers still long enough to grasp them.

The cold set in. My house is generally warm, as I can’t abide being cold. I usually have the heat set at 76. But, yesterday, I couldn’t get warm. I wrapped one of my fleece blankets around me as I stumbled through the house to the fridge for my water, & it still wasn’t enough to warm me up. It took 2 blankets & my 2 cats (curled up with me in the chair) to finally warm me.

After taking another dose of my anti-anxiety meds to try to quell the panic attack, it went to the next level. Hyperventilating.

I almost blacked out, so it’s a good thing I was already in my chair when this hit. It dragged on for what seemed like forever, swinging between hyperventilating & hitching sobs. Coupled with the shaking trembles, it most likely would have looked like a grand mal seizure. 

Finally, the meds started to kick in, after interminable seeming hours, and I started to calm. It was most likely just a handful of minutes, but time stretches out unceasingly when in a panic attack, your brain screams fight or flight!! And there seems to be no end, no exit, no rescue. 

And when you’re dealing with this alone, with no one there to comfort you, there’s no surcease of the pain until your body, quite literally, shuts down. The adrenaline of the attack does eventually run out. It has to.

But when you’re panicking, it doesn’t feel that way.

When you’re in PA mode, all you know, all you see, is the black, horrific, panic. It’s a heart attack, stroke, earthquake, flood & mental apocalypse, all rolled inside of your head & body.

It, quite literally, feels like the end, while you’re in it. Logic has no place there. None. It’s not a matter of “just breathe, you’ll be fine”.

You can’t “just breathe”, when every breath has to be fought for.

You can’t “just calm down”, when your heart is racing so fast you feel like a jet engine is going to bust through your chest.

For me, tunnel vision set in, & all I could see was whatever was directly in front of my eyes, but my brain wasn’t truly processing even that. It was in overload.

Once the attack finally crested, & I started to come down, it was like falling off a cliff.

I crashed. 

I slept, weighted under 2 blankets & 2 cats, it was more like falling into a coma, in that I didn’t dream at all. It was just – black sleep.

Today, I am out of PA mode. My anxiety is still very high, but I’m watching it. Keeping quiet, avoiding going out, & taking meds as needed. 

For those of you who do have anxiety & have experienced PA, you know the aftercare, & what I’ve been through. I know another attack could happen, so I’m being careful. Doing all the things I do to relax, soothe & comfort. Reading, to keep my brain occupied on something other than the situation. Wearing my comfort clothes to feel good against my skin. Burning candles and/or incense as needed to use aromatherapy to soothe. Staying away from caffeine, as that can trigger another attack while in heightened stress moments.

And blogging. This helps me, almost as much as the meds. Because this is my emotional outlet, my “scream into the black” of the internet. My way of getting the words out of my head, onto the “page”, & away from my emotional distress.

The worst has passed, and I’m still here…but the pendulum swings. And the moments are tentative & tenderly susceptible to another PA. Hang on, we’re not out of the woods entirely, yet.

It Has A Certain Ring To It…

I’ve been slightly obsessed with – rings – lately, & I don’t know why.

You see, I’ve never really been much of a jewelry person. Oh, I’ve always had a couple of pieces that I wear, ones that I rarely take off, like my pentacle necklace (representing my faith), & some tiny gold hoops that sit in the top cartilage of my left ear (pierced by my best friend shortly after high school).

And each piece of jewelry that I wear usually has a story behind it, a personal meaning for me, that is the reason it gets worn.

So, what’s the story behind my recent need to wear more & different rings? 

Not a clue. Really, it’s odd.

But, here’s a brief description of what I’m wearing on my hands right now, & what they each mean. (In no particular order of importance to me)

First up – Right hand:

Thumb – A sterling silver pentacle ring. Again, representative of my faith, & a daily reminder to myself to balance the elements of my life.

Index finger- triple fidget ring. This ring represents my kids to me. I have 3, & a lot of times, they make me fidgety.😜

Ring finger- sterling silver ring with oval amber stone. This stone for me represents healing & preservation of memories. 

Left Hand-

Thumb- electroplated sterling with cz & opal inlay stones. This ring I purchased through an introvert group page, and to me, it’s just really pretty & subtle, while having some “spark” to it. I love the blue-green tones of the opal.

Pinky – This has 2 rings. The first is a simple band of hematite, which is a protective stone that “bounces” outside negativity away from me. I have a tendency to pick up easily & take on other people’s emotional states if I’m not careful, so this is a necessary accessory for me.

The 2nd ring is a gold band with 7 white sapphires. This is extremely sentimentally important to me, as it was my sister, Midnite’s ring before she passed away in 2009. My beloved Nephew gave it to me after her passing, & I wear it in her honor.

Ring finger – sterling silver 2-strand braided band. No, I’m not married. This ring I specifically bought for myself. It reminds me that I am truly the only person I can always count on to take care of ME, and that I need to remember to rely on myself, have faith in myself & trust that I will always get through the tough times.

I’ve been let down, abandoned, hurt, mentally, physically, & sexually abused in my past. I’ve made it through everything. Yes, I have friends & family who’ve helped me in the past with dealing with some of those situations, but the one, constant thing in my life has always been – ME, obviously.

This ring is my reminder to never again put all my faith in someone else, or try to rely on believing that others will be there…because too many times, they haven’t been. It’s my “Stand tall on your own two” ring.

There are other rings I have, that I wear occasionally, but these are the semipermanent ones for now. This is the story I wear on my hands at the moment, & whether there’s anyone out there who sees these rings & “gets” this story – I know it. I’m living it. And this is my current expression of it.

Doubt

#daily-prompt

There are many things in my life that I am certain of. 

*My children all love me, & I them. Same with my parents. 

*My Nephew is one of my dearest & best friends, & over the last few years, we’ve gotten so in synch, that often we can tell before picking up the phone, that the other one needs a call. 

*my cats are assholes, but I love them anyway. Same goes for the ferret.

*I will do whatever it takes when it comes to a loved one in need.

*men in my life will disappear without a trace.

Which leads to my doubt.

There is serious doubt in my heart that I will ever find a man who will decide that I’m worth committing to, and if he says he’ll commit, that he’ll actually live up to that promise.

There is doubt that I’ll ever be a part of a “we/us” dynamic ever again. 

There is doubt that love will ever really happen for me again.

Broken promises, fear of commitment, fear of even catching feelings… They all fall into the “doubt” trap. 

And I doubt that I’ll ever be able to truly trust any man, ever again, because of it.

I don’t really let anyone “in” anymore. Not to the emotions.

Because it hurts too much when that doubt rears its ugly head & tells me they’re about ready to bolt.

When asked how I’m doing, I usually answer – “I’m fine.”

Because that’s what they want to hear.

Whether it’s the truth or not, doesn’t matter, it’s the veneer, the semblance of normalcy, that matters.

I doubt that the full truth would change anything, so why bother? It would probably send him screaming for the exit, anyway.

So, I doubt this’ll change anytime soon.

Guilty? Pleasure

Weekends are usually quiet for me, anymore. I don’t go out, unless it’s to Hellmart for groceries, & I don’t spend a lot of time on the phone. 

Well, not talking to others, anyway.

I did spend a lot of time with my phone this weekend…reading.

I’ve become quite addicted to my Kindle app.

*Gasp! Horror! Blasphemy!*

No, seriously.

I feel as though I’ve let my book-loving nerdy side down by reading books on my phone.

But I can’t stop. 

I think I burned up my battery 10 times this weekend, tearing through a whole series of digital books.

Yes, I still love read honest-to-goddess real paper books. 

But, I’m now paying for Kindle Unlimited….

And I’m not ashamed.

Well… Not really.

(For you, Youngerdaughter)

The Newest Little Monkey

Ok, so I’m a little behind with this post, but it’s not my fault.

Honest.

I have a new grandson.

Everybody say hi to Maxwell!

His Mama (EldestDaughter) calls him “Monkey”, because she says he gets this little wrinkle in his forehead when he’s thinking really hard, or confused, or working on his next magnum opus, that makes him look like a baby monkey.

He was born 2/12/2017 in Washington state, where ED is now living with her SO & Schnicklefritz.

And I didn’t get to be there.

*sniffle*

But, he’s healthy, happy, & adjusting to life on the outside, according to all accounts, which is all I can ask for.

I DO get to see them all when they’ll come home for OnlySon’s graduation in May.

*BIG YAY & high five!*

So, for now, I have to survive without baby snuggles & will live vicariously through texted pictures & a recently set up weekly Skype date.

And, I’ll have to revamp my ABCs I wrote when Schnicklefritz was born, & tailor some much-needed “Gramma wisdom” for this newest addition to the zoo.

*I feel a challenge coming on*

For now, here’s some pictures I’ve wheedled out of my daughter!

Who is this person holding me? A brother, you say? Ok, I’ll start working on my “little brother pestering” skill set now.

Here’s this “big brother” person again… Are you sure he needed to follow us home, Mom?  Well, at least he seems to like me somewhat, so maybe this could work.

You know, I’m not too sure about this whole “being outside” thing, Mom & Dad…couldn’t I have just stayed where I was? I was kinda comfy there.

No snark…just awwwwwwwwwe…

*sniffle* 

I wanna snuggle him!

Translate Me

There’s a code,

Written into the pieces of me

Mysterious and complex

It speaks in forms unknown

Turning this on, turning that off

Flipping genetic switches at seeming random

Lighting fires within, only to douse them later, with no explanation or apology

It’s a book, 50, 100, 1 million volumes thick, written in a language I cannot read

My own body and mind, a saga I cannot comprehend without another’s key.

“The Divine Mystery” some may call it, as they turn away from the puzzle to things they can digest. The depth and breadth of the conundrum too much for them to contemplate, they have no further wish to attempt the struggle.

But for me, I wish to delve deeper, to try to understand the whys and wherefores, the hows and whats of Me.

I seek, not only to understand for my own self, but to translate – to gain understanding, the internal “ah-hah!” from others. To see the light go on when they understand that I am the way I am because…THIS. And THAT. And THESE.

Logic and science dance seductively with emotion and faith, all swirling in their patterns together, intertwining in hypnotic rythmns, only to break violently & inexplicably from each other for no apparent reason. Then, quietly meeting again in the middle of the dance floor, to touch hands & make apologies, while agreeing to disagree.

Where does the dance begin? How does it end? And what is the meaning of that complicated bobble of steps in the middle? These are things I seek, words I reach for.

But first, I must decode my skin, my organs, my brain. I must Translate Me.

And that…might take a minute.

*written in response to the Daily Prompt*

Some Days I Want To Die

Because somedays I don’t see the point of being here, anymore, and my brain lies to me and tells me that- I’m really not making a difference in any way, and that, while my family (chosen family included) would miss me, sure, they’d learn to live with it, & it’s not like I really make a difference there, either.

Yes, I know these are lies my brain tells me when I’m depressed. And I’d never suicide, because I know how horrible that is for those left behind, but the depression still holds me down, head under water, emotionally, until I feel as though one long nap would be the end of it, & it could be peaceful & less noisy, & very little mess. 

It’s the same as the lies my brain tells me when it fills me with anxiety about anything and everything it can dredge up out of the depths of my id. 
Don’t go out, something will happen, & you’ll end up embarrassed, or hurt, or made fun of, & then you’ll just want to curl up & cry. Stay home where nothing can hurt you.  This kind of thing never ends well for you, anyway.

Oh, and remember that thing you said to that person? How stupid was that? You would’ve done much better to say…this. Or to just keep your stupid mouth shut, cause then stupid wouldn’t fall out of it.

And did you hear what that woman at work said to you today? Oh, you thought it was a nice compliment? Really? Did you really hear what she said & the look on her face & the tone of her voice & how she was talking to one of the other women later & just…stopped…talking when you walked by? Yeah…let’s discuss this some more, shall we?

And remember that thing you did 5 years ago? Let’s dissect that into all its tiniest meanings over the next 7 hours while you’re pretending to sleep. Oh? You weren’t pretending, you were actually trying to sleep? Well…not anymore. Good morning, Sunshine!

Oh, there’s a man interested in you? You know he only wants one thing, right? And you’re not getting any younger, so forget about getting that “happily ever after”, cause they all leave, eventually. Why would they possibly want to stay with you? An aging, anxious, depressed, overweight, grandmother. Yeah, there’s the brass ring. Take what they give you, because that’s all there is anymore, Chickie. You aren’t going to get what you want.

And the ride never ends, with subject after subject being over-analyzed & subjected to the highest-powered microscope possible.

So, yes, some days I want to die.

And some days I feel as though I’m just a passenger in my own skin, & I watch the automaton doing the work thing, & the talking to other people thing, & the taking care of the animals thing, & I marvel at the wonders of modern science that could create such a life-like robot that can carry passengers who watch the day go by out through the eye-windows.

And I’m glad on those days that I could just lie back & let the robot do it all, because the depression had me under water again, & the anxiety told me that if I struggled, I’d snap my own neck for sure and then where would I be?

And some days, there’s just no up…only sideways…and it’s all I can do to hang onto the cliff’s edge with my nonexistent fingernails, & shift to the left, digging for another foothold.

So, some days, I dye.

Yes, black hair.

It was time to go dark.

After all, it’s been pretty dark on the inside lately. Time to let it out.