maybe this will explain it

Ive been having quite few discussions with Linette and my parents lately about panic attacks, what they are, how they feel and why I seem to give into them so easily. We have these discussions every year or so, every time I start that familiar and exhilarating decent into anxiety and depression.

Anyway, I can never explain it so that it makes sense. I mean, I think I can explain the fear, but I dont think I can explain the really illogical part why it is that every time it happens Im convinced that Im dying, or going mad, even though the same thing has happened to me a few hundred thousand times before without leading to that outcome. They just dont get it, and I cant explain it. I like to think that Im a fairly bright guy, one whos able to learn from events and adapt, but, when it comes to panic, I just cant seem to. 36 years of experience are nothing against this feeling of dread.

Ive debated whether or not I should get into more detail as to what my fears are and what triggers them, but I cant. One of my fears, you see, is that someone out there in the audience is keeping notes and might one day use that knowledge against me. As with all of my fears, I know that itll never happen, but that doesnt keep it from eating at me. As long as theres a .0001% chance, Ill worry about it.

So, this afternoon, after work, I went jogging through the woods. Its the first time Ive been able to do it since last fall and Ive missed it. Running through the woods is meditative for me. Its where I get some of my best ideas. Well, today, as I was running, it occurred to me that something Id seen the night before on television might serve as a good analogy for the panic I share my life with. The show was Angel and last nights episode dealt with, among other things, a character that had been sentenced to an unusual kind of hell. In his hell, everything seemed perfect on the surface. He had a lovely family, a nice home, etc. As we found out though, things werent always so good for him. Every day or so his beautiful wife would ask him to go into the basement and get something for her, like a light bulb. Hed start to panic at the thought of the basement, but he wasnt quite sure why. Hed think of ways that he could avoid going into the basement, or delay it, but eventually hed have to go. He knew it was unavoidable.

Then, once hed get to the basement, the reality of the situation would hit him. There was a large, grey humanoid creature waiting for him. This thing would then tie him to a table and go about the business of splitting his chest open and tearing his heart out. As wed find out, this same thing would happen repeatedly. Once his heart was removed, a new one would grow back and his chest would heal. (There was a large pile of hearts on the floor, next to the table, so this had been going on for some time.) Hed eventually get up off the table, trying to suppress the memory of what had happened, and make his way back upstairs, to his perfect family, where hed stay until his wife needed another light bulb.

Maybe the analogy isnt perfect, but it seemed close enough. Logically, it seemed as though, at least to me, hed know that his heart was going to grow back, that his chest was going to heal and that, in just a matter of moments, hed be back with his family. Knowing that, however, doesnt make the pain of having your heart torn out any less painful though.

So, that is what Id like to offer in the way of explanation Yes, I know that Im not dying, but that doesnt make it any less painful.

Actually, this analogy isn’t right at all, but I’m tired and I want to go to bed, so it’s going to have to do.


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