Inside and Out

Smiling means you’re okay, right? Being still and quiet means everything’s fine…right? Except when it’s not okay, when it’s not fine.

Oftentimes, for someone with chronic anxiety attacks (in this example, we’ll use me), the outside does not match the inside.

Let’s take right now. I’m sitting here at my laptop, outwardly calm as can be, but inside? Inside, a storm rages. Inside, my heart races. My chest hurts. My mind is in turmoil. Inside, my gut roils with might-bes or could-have-beens or even won’t-ever-happen-but-the-idea-of-it-coming-to-be-terrifies-mes. Inside, I wanna puke. I wanna do something to rid myself of this torture…but aside from taking my anti-anxiety med (which I already did–hours ago), there’s nothing to do…nothing beneficial, anyway. Trying not to think about it isn’t working, trying to distract myself with other activities to keep my mind occupied isn’t working, and y’know what else isn’t working?


Yeah, I called out. I rarely call out from work, even if I’m not feeling the greatest, but after forcing myself to work through dozens of these attacks, I realized this morning that I just can’t today. I can’t torture myself by dragging my ass into work and sludging through potentially eight or more hours of this nightmare.

Could I put on a “happy face” for the patients? Probably. But that’s not going to take away the inside problem. The core of the issue. All it’s going to do is escalate to the point of–well, I don’t really want to think where it’ll end up if I keep pushing myself.

I kinda want to cut. Just a little, just enough to bleed and release some of this tension. I’m not gonna. But I want to. I think if I pushed myself today, I might have done just that.

Tomorrow morning, when they open, I’ll probably call my psychiatrist. See if there’s anything that can be done that I’m not already doing. New treatment, maybe? Change of meds? I don’t know. Something.

What brought on this epiphany of self-preservation? What made me break my cycle of just grinning and bearing it and dying a little more inside each time? I think maybe it was the realization that yes, I am killing a piece of myself each time I do that. Each time I put on the happy face (or at least the “I’ll be okay” mask) and trudge on through those doors into eight hours of manic panic.

Not to mention, panic + surgical mask that’s a little claustrophobic + hectic work environment = AAAAAAAAHHH!!!! (<– That’s a scream of terror, btw.)

I don’t plan on doing this often. Calling out, I mean. I have no control–yet–over the panic attacks. They come when they come, and they last how long they last. Going on five or six hours now, if anyone’s keeping count. And it’s barely eight a.m.

Maybe my doc will have some ideas tomorrow. I’m almost half tempted to listen to the CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) crap that I’ve discounted in the past. Y’know, the ol’ “think happy thoughts and you’ll be happy” shtick. I’m still quite skeptical when it comes to that, but desperate times call for crackpot measures sometimes.

Gonna take some time to sit and embroider for a while. Maybe the repetitive, mindless activity will calm me. If not, at least I’ll be sitting still and not raising my already-skyrocketed heart rate.