Know What an Anxiety Attack Is? A Train-wreck About to Happen!

It’s been about three weeks since my last post. I know to say I’ve been slacking would be putting it mildly. There just seems to be more days than not lately where I find this blog doesn’t seem to be much of a priority. Then like a housewife that notices she’s let things go, I remember I have a litterbox to maintain and put fingers to keys once again. I suppose it will have to do till Pissy can get her head surgically removed from her butt and be the ball-buster she once was. 

I’ve noticed I’m much better when I’m not alone. When the Old Man gets home at night, or when I actually get a reprieve from sitting in this house and am in the presence of others, the light seems to go back on. I find myself temporarily feeling like my old self: Carefree, light-hearted, chatty, and charming to be around…if I do say so myself. 🙂 It’s those alone times that weigh heavy on me, zap my strength, and seem to squeak by ever so slowly, that I battle with and have difficulty enduring. Hopefully, this too shall pass with a bit of freedom. I know I’m more than due.

I finally talked the Old Man into taking me to the bar so I could try out my new, pool cue. Well, okay…it wasn’t necessarily me, but Kristy did. (Little FYI: If you want your Old Man to do something that he doesn’t want to do, have one of your friends put him on the spot and ask him. For some reason I find that most men–not all, but I do believe most–will go out of their way to appear to be the ‘nice’ guy around other women, no matter how much of a selfish prick they are at home.) I’d begged and pleaded with him to take me to shoot a game of pool after he gave me ‘Monkey’ for Valentines Day. The first weekend after I got her I practically got splinters in my knees from graveling on them for him to take me out. My pleas went unanswered. Then we go into the store a couple of weeks ago to pick up a few things, Kristy is working, and all it takes is her telling him that she thinks it would be fun for us to get together with she and her boyfriend and he’s all agreeable. Huh? No graveling needed? WTF? See what I mean? Men like to appear to be Prince Charming to everyone but the little princess they actually have at home. Good thing most of us women realize it, don’t buy into it, but rather use it to our advantage when need be. As I’ve said many times before, I’ll take it when I can get it, and little is beneath me at this point.

We had fun, and I have to admit that playing with Monkey did improve my game… a little. To be exact, during the window of time between my first few drinks and my last one hundred and fifty! Only a slight exaggeration there. In my defense I hadn’t eaten anything for nearly two days, was drinking on a completely empty stomach–and I might add having no problem playing keep-up with everyone–so yeah…I was blasted! I paid for it, don’t think I didn’t. I paid for it all the next day when I lay over a bowl with a wet rag on my neck. Of course I’m not foolish enough to promise I’ll never drink again, but I do believe I told the Old Man that I’ll never drink on an empty stomach again. Yeah, that one really tore me up!

I finally swallowed my pride last week and asked for a little help. Which is something I would rather gnaw off my own arm than do. I hate inconveniencing anyone with my needs, and don’t like to put myself in a position where I feel obligated to someone because they’ve extended kindness my way. This has happened to me many times when I’ve relied on friends or family for a hand-up/hand-out. But I did. I finally asked my daughter if she would mind giving up one of her days off from work to drive all the way out, pick me up, take me in to the DMV, and let me use her car to take my driving test so I can get my license back. I knew it was time to break free from the shackles that bound me and get mobile again.

I rode out all the emotions that comes with fear of failure. For several days I studied–because I don’t give myself enough credit that I have any brains at all–fought through the panic attacks that were trying to manifest themselves, and made myself go. To say I was scared shitless to take the written/driving test was an understatement. It’s been three years and eleven months since my dui occurred and I’ve been behind the wheel of a car. Three years and eleven months that began with guilt, anger, and self-loathing; ending in depression once I realized I had put myself in a monetary hole that I couldn’t get out of. This hole and depression ever widening when Beth took her life five months later. Three years and eleven months of trying to dig my way out of the monstrous financial and emotional mess I made of my life with a teaspoon, all the while confined to this house in the country with no means to leave without assistance, no way to make money to pay restitution; dealing with dead-end after dead-end. Three years and eleven months of waiting, praying, and pleading, and I finally got there. Know what happened? I passed the written test only to find out I’d have to make an appointment to take my driving test. WTF? I can’t even come up with a reasonable scenario to compare this level of sadness/pissed to. Dammit! It took everything I had to get there in the first place and I had to go back? DAMMIT AGAIN!  

Well I went back. Like I had a freaking choice, right? I knew unless I wanted to sit in this house forever and watch the cobwebs grow out of my ass I had to get back in motion. So anyway, I made an appointment, the Old Man took a day off from work, and borrowed his buddy’s car so I could take the driving test with it. (My car hasn’t been plated for some time and the Old Man’s work truck just wasn’t going to pass inspection.) I fought through anxiety attacks on the way there and was barely able to find the courage to walk  back in. I made myself do it. Which for anyone battling anxiety/panic attacks is a great feat in itself. My mouth went dry, my heart started beating rapidly, my hands shook, but still I walked out to that car, keys in hand, with the driving instructor at my heels. I CAN DO THIS! I CAN DO THIS! I CAN DO THIS! We started going over the inspection of the car first and….the horn didn’t work. What? Yep, we were to find out later that his buddy had taken the fuse out, because apparently the car alarm kept triggering the horn. You know the rest of the story don’t you? Without a horn you can’t pass inspection. Without passing inspection you can’t take the driving test. Yeah…I walked away from that car with the heaviness of disappointment hanging over me, sans a drivers license. I’ve always said, if it weren’t for poor luck Pissy would have no luck at all. 

I sobbed all the way home; at one point asking the Old Man to pull over to the side of the road because I had to get my emotions together. I got in my pajamas, crawled on the couch, and pretty much laid there for a couple of days. I dealt with the phone calls and texts from well-wishing family and friends who wanted to know if I passed the test, and upon finding out that I wasn’t able to take it tried encouraging me not to give up but go back in. I kept hearing the same thing over and over again: “Don’t give up. You’re stronger than this. Keep the faith.”  I knew each and every one meant well, but there was something that no one was taking into consideration…I become frozen with fear; paralyzed by these panic attacks that are occurring again. It took everything…literally EVERYTHING...for me to overcome the fear enough to go in the first time, let alone the second. The fear shook me to the core, and the disappointment overwhelmed me. The thought of having to put myself through this again is terrifying me. I’m just not ready yet. Maybe in a week, or a month, but not today.

For those of you unfamiliar with what a full-blown anxiety/panic attack feels like: Picture yourself driving a car, and imagine the emotions you would feel if you saw a car at high speed coming straight at you and you knew a wreck–possibly causing your death–was inevitable. The fear would come over you suddenly in a landslide; your insides would feel twisted, your hands would grip the steering wheel tightly, your heart would feel as if it were going to beat itself right out of your chest, and your thoughts would be completely muddled. This my friends is the equivalent of a full-blown panic attack. It feels that real. It feels that threatening. Which is why none of you should be surprised to learn that those of us who actually suffer from them will do pretty much anything possible to avoid the triggers that set them off. I hope knowing this you’ll understand how difficult it is for us to just ‘face’ our fears. It takes much more than you realize.

To end this post I should tell you that today I am in a better frame of mind. The weather has been unbelievably agreeable for this time of year, which enables the dogs to play outside longer, and me to obtain a bit more peace inside. The Old Man and I are getting along incredibly well, and things seem to be moving along relatively smoothly. Other than that bit of sidetracking with the DMV nightmare, all is going smoothly on the home-front. I’m just taking one day at a time–though moving at a snail’s speed–and pacing myself till winter is finally over, the warmth of the sun can once again fill me with Vitamin D, and this damn Seasonal Affective Disorder has finally passed. I miss all of you. Miss the conversations we used to have. I just have little to give right now. Hopefully soon. Godspeed.