I write a lot of my poetry and angsty journal entries about my anxiety. It is an unsolved thing in my life that plagues almost every aspect of it with a sticky poison that prevents me from enjoying life in its fullness sometimes. Right now as I am typing these very words, I am sitting in my bed freshly showered listening to Jeff Buckley as loud as possible on my speaker. My migraine is still present and there is pressure behind my eyes and ears. The music is not helping its pain in the slightest, but it is getting my mind off of other things. The computer screen has a haze over it and my eyes ache from looking at it for too long.
I’ve had migraines a lot recently and it has caused a major damper on my mood and life in general. My anxiety reaching new heights, the road has been rough these past few months. A week or two ago, I had to leave practice because I was nauseous, shaky, and my head was throbbing. I tried to tough it out, I really did, but it got the best of me and I had to take a break. The school hallway was empty and suddenly my heart rate shot through the roof. When I tried to bend down, my knees gave out and I fell onto the ground. That’s when the tears came.
My pink headphones are my safety. They’re my red hunting cap (Holden would be proud). WIthout them on or near me, I feel naked in the outside world. Putting them on is like returning to a place of solitude. They’re my superpower and provide me with the ability of shutting everything out and controlling myself.
When on my head, I fiddled with my phone until I found music to drown out the thoughts that were flooding into my brain. I listened to a song called “Lua” by Bright Eyes about 12 times before my heart rate returned to a relatively normal speed and I could breathe again.
Panic attacks suck. Plainly. Honestly. Truly. It is the definition of terror to lose control of your body and mind for a period of drowning. It’s like when you want to see how far you can swim in a deep pool and when you get to the bottom, you realize that you are losing oxygen. So, you begin to swim to the surface frantically. Those moments before you get to the top are what a panic attack feels like to me. The weight of the water is suddenly exaggerated. You can feel your racing heart in every inch of you. It’s impossible to breathe. Your body is heavy. Your muscles shake. Your eyes twitch. You just need to get that… much… further… in order to reach air. You keep swimming, but you never reach the open air above.
They’re awful, but the feeling I get after is the worst part. When my body gives its last jolt, breath, fluttered heart beat, and muscle spasm, a feeling fills my stomach. Its sadness. Its defeat. Its exhaustion. Attacks take all energy out of me. I can’t focus after. I can’t think straight. All I can do is sleep. It is utterly draining. But attacks are scattered and chose to show up in my life without a schedule, so I usually have to get through the rest of the day or practice or task. That’s what I expect from myself. I can’t stop them. The more I try to suppress them, the stronger and more frequent they appear. I do expect that I recover. Whether that takes me a minute or a week, I’ll recover and keep going at it.
So come at me, anxiety. I welcome you.
Here’s a playlist of songs I listen to after a panic attack that for some reason or another, always get me up: