Anxiety for me is a large, encompassing mass. It has many forms for in my life. A simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a panic attack before I even get out of my car. A family outing to celebrate a birthday can come to an abrupt end when I have to be escorted out by my husband because I am trembling with fear and unable to walk out on my own.
I can remember the first time my boys (14 & 16 at the time) witnessed one of my panic attacks. They were mortified and embarrassed because they had no idea why I was all the sudden crying and hyperventilating in the middle of Peter Piper Pizza. They had just ordered pizza and were ready to sit down and enjoy it when I was paralyzed with a fear I could not explain. In my head I kept telling myself to chill out and I was okay. I remember thinking I just needed to get up and go to the bathroom until I could get myself together but I couldn’t move. I was yelling at my body to respond and it just sat there shaking. My older brother looked at me and asked me if I was alright but all I could do was shake my head no. Then my oldest son walked up, took one look at me and knew I was not okay. He tried to get me to talk to him and all the while in my head I was responding with, “Please help!”. He could only see the message in my eyes. He went running for his dad and the mere fact that he left me, even to get help, sent me over the edge into a full blown, hyperventilating, sobbing uncontrollably, panic attack. Everyone surrounded me wanting to help but that just made my need to escape, to hide, even greater. Finally my husband was by my side, lifting me out of my seat and pulling me towards the door. My boys followed and I collapsed just outside the doors into a ball. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see because I had my eyes so tightly closed and they refused to open. Somehow we made it back to the car and I sat there as my sweet, gentle and patient husband buckled me in even though I had my legs pulled up into a ball. Continue reading “What anxiety looks like for me and a bit about my journey…”