Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Anxiety Attack Fun

Today was my worst day in years for anxiety/panic attacks. Typically people call them panic attacks and doctors call them anxiety attacks. Personally after suffering them, along with my manic depression, for years I would call them panic attacks. They seriously do send you in to a state of fear and panic. I remember one occassion when I was staying in my parents house when my mother found me in one of my old bedrooms with two duvets wrapped around me and a couple of pillows hiding under and old desk in the room. The room was totally dark except for a thin sliver of light coming through the halfclosed curtains.

I was shaking, scared, full of panic and fear. I have no idea now what caused it and none then. But hiding there was the only place were I felt remotely safe. This in the house I grew up in. This house was a place of sanctuary, forgiveness and unconditional love and yet I had to hide. I had a book with me, nothing special and I was serously straining my eyes to read it. A 100 metre sprinter couldn't have strained as much as I was just simply trying to focus on the word, the sentances, their meaning and how they progressed the story.

It was the worst attack I had ever had and hopefully the worst I will ever have. I have never forgotten it although the feeling in my bones of the desperate need to hide, that knwing that I had to hide,that I have, I thought forgotten.

At least until today. With all the stress of getting the confirmation on my new job offer and having to tender my resignation, the stress, albeit in the future, of starting a new job. All of this made me want to hide again.

I believe I know how far I have come from those dark days. But I know and understand how close I can be to going to that dark place, back into the Dark Soul of the Mind as Cardinal Newman (a great Irish poet called it). I am not there, not nearly there but I understand how fine a line it can be. I've had a couple of great days, great news and yet I am feeling very flat. Understand this is not depression per se but rather a lack of emotion around it it. I should be flying, screaming with the joy, I should have an inane grin on my face all the time and yet I can't get the energy up for it. My emotions are flatlined.

When you flatline in a hospital you get a big jolt of electricity to restart you. But t is hard to do this for manic depressives, hard and dangerous. Either it doesn't work which makes things worse and plunges you deep in to that dark, forbidding, unforgiving place or you start flying, ideas, word coming at ninety to the dozen just waiting for the crash.

And yet this is the problem for all manic deressives. You miss the highs. They are wonderful, indescribably fantastic and the lows are the worst place on earth. And yet we this flatness of emotion, this neutrality hold little interest for us. It is frankly boring. We are so used to extremes that the middle road, the constrained road lacks everything that kept us going. We are likeprize fighters without a fight. We need the highs even if we have to suffer the lows.

So my flatline, unemotionality is not the end of the world. It is, in a bizarre way a good sign. And I can cope with the panic attacks. But the flatline is crap, it's hard, it's difficult and I crave the excitement of the high.


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