What is it about anxiety that is frightening and uncontrollable?
Maybe it is the constant questions that rotate in my mind, or the lack of breaths I take because worry consumes me. Experiences that have caught me off guard, and are harder to just ‘get over’ than people typically advise me to do, generates the fear of knowing that I will live with this for the rest of my life.
The other day I had an anxiety attack, and it allowed me to learn more than just what it feels like, but the importance of comfort when going through it.
– – – – – –
It all happened at once. The rush of emotions was surreal. One minute I was tearing up because of frustration, and the next I was laughing because of how ridiculous I was being. It was as if I was conducting two different symphonies. One was playing the music of my heart, and the other was playing the music of my mind. I couldn’t tell which one I felt stronger, but both were fighting for my attention.
I struggled to take deep breaths so I could determine what I wanted to feel. I was frustrated for so many reasons. I was tense and stressed because I had cleaned all day so that Brian and I could have friends over to hang out. I was upset because I wanted Brian to be done with homework and yet on the other hand I was irritated with myself because he had told me earlier in the day that he would be busy with assignments that were due by midnight; so how was I then so impatient with other expectations?
He had worked all day, had been at the temple at 6 a.m. to help out with baptisms for the dead and had class to attend. Where was his chance to stop and recuperate? He didn’t have one.
Even then I was sitting on the couch feeling grouchy because we weren’t going to have the exciting Friday evening I had expected.
That’s when the thread started. All of the sudden it was a journey down this power rushed river of emotion. I had expressed to Brian how I was irritated, and then I began to feel selfish. I was a selfish person for not letting him take the time to study for his test Saturday morning. I wanted to support him, and help him achieve the success he was aiming for, yet I wanted an evening of fun. I was expecting an evening of games and movies with chocolate and popcorn. I was tearing myself apart feeling both extremes, that every 30 seconds I was going back and forth on what I wanted.
I couldn’t control it, even when Brian turned on the Bluetooth speakers and pulled me off the couch to dance away the frustration. That didn’t work. I became pathetic. I cried on his shoulder while he twirled me around the living room. It was a smile one second, and a brush of a tear off my cheek the next. Brian was so good to me. He held me close and tried to have me verbalize what I was feeling. The thing was, that I didn’t know how to express that myself.
I gave him a hug and then went to our room to just let it out. I kneeled on the floor with a box of tissues at my side and curled up to have the tears come flowing out. I was whimpering like a dog, heaving like I had ran a lap around an Olympic track, and had my eyes shut tight to close off the rest of the world.
My kind husband came into the room and enwrapped me with his arms. He held me close and expressed how this wasn’t my fault. I was not to blame, and I was not responsible for his grades in his class or how the evening was supposed to go.
I trust him. He holds my trust more than any human, and yet even as the words slipped out of his mouth, the thread was continuing and my mind would not shut off. I began thinking of things that ‘he might be thinking.’ Ridiculous thoughts such as ‘I can’t believe I married into this mess,’ or ‘she is going to be another person I have to take care of,’ and even ‘I could be studying for my test.’
I couldn’t let it go. That’s how the thread works, it just keeps unraveling and twisting off the spool, and there is no snipping it from its root.
Brian took me to the bed, and we laid intertwined in fetal position. All of his soothing words finally began to take me over. “You are not a burden Corinne,” “You are my wings,” “I am getting through this life because of you,” “Proposing to you was the best decision I ever made…the best decision I EVER made.”
I tried gathering up these thoughts as they dropped from his lips, and heaped them into a basket of protection for safekeeping. His words are soft like a blanket, and they comforted me as if I was covered in a physical quilt.
Realizing that what occurred tonight was an anxiety attack is mesmerizing. Not in a glamorous and beautiful way, but rather a paralyzing reality check; knowing that this could happen again, and it will just take time to pass.
Wedding receptions, birthday parties, baby showers, those happen all so quickly and are enjoyable to be a part of. Anxiety attacks happen all at once, yet the emotion is contrary to the listed celebrations.