I’m writing about where I’ve been.
It feels like I may be tempting fate and risking another One just by writing about Them.
I fear everything right now is a trigger.
But if They’re going to keep happening, I might as well write about Them.
It’s been one week and two days without One, but somehow I know They can hear me, read me, know that I’m talking about Them.
It’s been five weeks and four days since the first one gripped my chest so tight I thought, someone help me!
And then I thought I’m not going to make it. Then a stream of thought consumed me:
I can’t breath. My chest is pinched. It’s collapsing. My lungs – air.
My throat is closing up.
Why am I shaking so violently?
My head repeats I’m not going to make it. I’m not going to make it.
I’m outside, so is the dog, fuck, “GET INSIDE, DOG, NOW!”
I was surprised any sound made it out of me at all.
I locked the door. I walked to the neighbor’s house, quickly. I pounded on the thin strip of metal that is the screen doorframe until someone heard me.
Her husband answered, why is her husband home and mine is not.
“Is Ruth here?” I asked, shaking, eyes wide and frightened, I must have been a sight.
“She’s sleep—“ he stopped the thought, “yeah one second, come in.”
I spilled the glass of water I’d forgotten I was holding.
Breathe Jaime, breathe. I can’t. You can. I can’t. You can. I can’t. You can.
He’s back, “Ruth will be right out, do you want some coffee?”
“I think I’m having a panic attack,” I may have yelled it. I may have cried it. I was definitely pleading for help when I said it.
It’s five weeks and four days later.
I finally feel like myself again, which only just happened two days ago. But for the first time in five weeks and four days, I’m not sitting waiting for an attack to happen and that feels like the best gift ever.
I didn’t have just one panic attack – I had one to five attacks per day for a month. It was unbearable. Debilitating. Scary-as-hell. Nothing I’d ever wish on anyone.
I couldn’t be alone for those weeks. I went on jobs with Jason. I dragged Jack to Jason’s basketball games and piano lessons – the ones I didn’t make him cancel, and I dropped the baby off at daycare full-time. I cried in public more times than I can count. I couldn’t drive because I didn’t know when I’d have one or how bad it would be. I couldn’t stay in the house; not alone, not at all.
I’m here, I never left, but I did lose the month of June. I likened it to a really long stomach-flu, but it wasn’t. It was much worse emotionally and physically, not that I want the stomach flu again to compare.
I’m still me. I’m working on getting rid of the attacks. I’m practicing more self-care. And I’m writing. Every experience helps with character development, right? Right.
Every time I tell someone I feel a little stronger, a little less alone, a little more like everybody else. Because I’m not alone and neither are you.