Posts Tagged ‘Anxiety’

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Panic Attack

10 February, 2012

Trigger Warning: Anxiety

I was heading out to my support group meeting when the anxiety hit. It was triggered when I entered the hall and saw my kitty-corner neighbours talking and drinking in the hall. They are the neighbours I believe to have defaced my door. And they were just standing there, five meters from my door and twice that from their door. Standing between me and the elevator. I would have been forced to go by them to leave. I knew I had to go soon, but I could not just go by them. I was immobilized and the panic was welling up inside me until I felt like I was going to vibrate into a trillion pieces if I did not do something.

I could not go forward; I went back inside. I needed to feel sheltered, to feel safe. I laid on the floor between the ottoman and the couch with the lights off, the blinds shut, and the cat sitting on my sternum purring. After a lot of deep breathing and what felt like decades, but was less than thirty minutes, I began to feel better but it was too late to make it to my meeting.

Now, I am trying not to be down on myself. This was not my fault, I did not choose to have a panic attack, but I still feel guilty for missing group.

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Lounging Minds Want to Know

8 June, 2011
High Anxiety (album)

Image via Wikipedia

As I have gone through life the place where I feel the most anxiety has shifted. (Well, technically the place I feel the most anxiety is in my body, but that’s a technical quibble and we’ll just go with physical location in a broad sense of the word.) As a student, it was often at school but when I hit my teen years it was at home. Later it became the job site and as a teacher it has often been the classroom. Lately, however, it has been the teacher’s lounge. And we’re talking serious anxiety here. Palm-sweating, stomach-twisting, lunch-losing anxiety. Just walking in the room is enough to set my teeth and the fine hairs on my neck on edge. The reason? When I walk in there I no longer feel like a whole person and that experience is indescribably disturbing. It’s like existing in two world simultaneously, one with oxygen and one without; you never know if your next breath will fill your lungs or cause them to collapse.

Over the last several decades I have grown accustomed to feeling one thing and being perceived as something else. I have also gotten to the point where I am no longer caught off guard by someone actually referring to me by the proper pronoun (feminine pronoun). What I am not used to, is the strange new gender middle ground I exist in. Some still see me as and refer to me as male, some see me as male but refer to me as female, some see me as female but refer to me as male, and still others see me as female and refer to me as female. When I step through the door of the teacher’s lounge at lunch I am stepping into a world where all four possibilities assail me simultaneously and render me a quivering mass of nerves with a tremendous case of social phobia. I’ve actually slated writer’s club meetings every day this week during lunch, just so I can avoid feeling that anxiety–an anxiety that has been slowly eroding my self-esteem.

This, of course, makes me appear stand-offish and only serves to further alienate me from colleagues who already see me as having flipped my lid.

::sigh::