I have panic attacks. I’ve had them for my whole life. When I was a little boy, I used to chew my thumb until it bled. I have an unnaturally high pain tolerance, so it didn’t seem to hurt, much. In the rare event that the pain in my thumb was too great, I would switch to my index finger…. My trusty stand by. I don’t know when or why, exactly, but I started to lose the sensation in my left arm. I have full use of my hand, but I, often, don’t realize when I’ve hurt myself. I don’t know why I want to share this with you, except for the fact that my panic attacks have been happening, with, dramatically, increased regularity. I don’t, always, know what causes them, but I would assume that there is some combination of causes. The scary part is that I don’t show any signs. My pulse quickens, my adrenal glands kick into overdrive, and nobody can tell. I’ve been hiding panic, for my whole life. I, also, spent the best part of the last seven years operating under extreme pressure on a daily basis, so my tolerance to adrenaline is nearly as high as my pain tolerance, now. The only time I display my panic, is when I reach critical mass. I like to think of it as the perfect storm. This stress factor converges with that stress factor, and I explode. Panic is extreme fear. I, like most of my family, do not respect fear. So, when I explode, it comes out as rage. When I rage, small African villages are destroyed, battleships are sunk, and russian missile silos detonate, simultaneously…. Or, at least, it feels that way. If I feel this “perfect storm” coming on, I run away. I try to get somewhere that I can be alone. I want to be as far away from anyone else, as possible. I hate to lose my composure in front of anybody. I never talk about it. To talk about my panic, would be to reveal a weakness. I don’t do that… Ever. Today, however, I broke protocol, and discussed my feelings of anxiety with my mother. As it turns out, this was a great decision. I can’t say, for sure, that I’ll make the choice to share my tension, every time it happens; but it’s a start.
On a lighter note, I am coming up on my 27th birthday, and, despite the fact that I haven’t accomplished as much as I’d hoped, I’m still looking forward to it. I’ll be accepting gifts in the forms of cash, credit, and freshly baked cookies.