Thursday, June 3, 2010

PANIC


I am thrilled and freaked about my upcoming work-related trip.

I am heading back down to Mobile, AL and Pensacola, Florida to tie up some loose ends on a few media sponsorships.

What I am panicked about are..

The Bridges.

If you guys recall in earlier blog posts back in April - I had a HUGE panic attack crossing Mobile Bay.

I have driven across soooo many bridges in my life. BIG bridges. Long bridges. Never once have I panicked like this.

There was one difference - I was alone. Nor was I expecting the bridge to be as long as it was.

Back up even more - I have a little problem.. it's called Panic Disorder. Thank God, for the most part, I rarely have panic attacks. However, they can creep up from time to time.

Ever since I found out I would be heading back down there - I have been worrying about crossing that big bridge again.

Please note: none of it is rational. I am not afraid of the actual bridge. Nor am I afraid of driving off of it, or it crumbling into the sea or anything like that. I am afraid of having a panic attack. Why? My main fear with panic attack is that I will faint. Please note.. in the 31 years I have suffered from panic attacks I have NEVER fainted. But of course, in my mind - this would be the one time and I am driving.

WHY does my body do this? I have battled this for sooooooo many years - and yet that little demon rears its ugly head from time to time.

Some of you may not be familiar with Panic Disorder. Here is a definition I found on the web: characterized by chronic, repeated, and unexpected panic attack bouts of overwhelming fear of being in danger when there is no specific cause for the fear. In-between panic attacks, persons with panic disorder worry excessively about when and where the next attack may occur.

Bingo.

Check out that last sentence. I see that bridge, I know I freaked a little last time - and feel as if I will freak out again.

Now here is what is interesting about the whole "freak out" thing. You would never know I was having a panic attack.

Every one has different symptoms. My symptoms are usually the same - I begin to feel dizzy and I feel as if I can't breathe. Not actually hyperventilating - but as if my lungs are full and can't accept any more air.

I will begin to cough a little. I think the odd breathing forces me to yawn sometimes. When it gets to an absolute hard core point, my heart races a bit. Not always.. but sometimes.

Now - if I am driving across the bridge the first thing I will notice is how many cars are on the bridge and how long it is. Well, my friends, this bridge is over 7 miles long over a body of water. The traffic is usually heavy. Once on - you are stuck. See that word? Stuck. Nothing a person with panic disorder likes to feel. Well - then I will begin to breathe a little more shallow.. then I will get dizzy and then, in the most irrational way, I will begin to think something is wrong and that I might actually faint.. then crash.

It is a horrible way to live.

Luckily - it is rare I have these. RARE. But sometimes, they do appear. The last really bad one I have had in many, many years was on that bridge in April.

What does a person with PA fear the most? A recurrence of the same feeling in the same place.

Well my friends - I have to face this monster. I will do it. I will cross the bridge and then come back through and cross it again - alone. I will make it across.

My question is - will I contain myself and enjoy the view, or will I freak out?

Lord have mercy...

2 comments:

Heather said...

Remember - I'm a phone call away just like last time :)

Kir said...

I just happened upon your blog this evening and had an OMG moment when I read this post! I live in Florida and totally understand your fear of bridges. We have a bridge in St. Pete called the Sunshine Skyway and it scares me to death, but like you, I faced my fear and knew I had to do it or the fear would rule my life. You can do it! Just BREATHE and stare at the lines on the road if you panic!!! I think I'm your newest follower! Stop on by my 365 day project if you want any "Sunnysides!" LOL

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