Friday, 23 August 2013

Vignette: frozen grin anxiety

Last weekend I had an anxiety attack. It came out of the blue and struck like a hammer blow.

We'd already gone to bed, when suddenly I start imagining that S doesn't want to as much as touch me. This happens a lot when I crash out. So I nudge away, and then my emotions just go into free fall. Horrified with myself and the audacity of daring to stay in the same bed as S, I sneak out. I sit down on the floor, trying to collect myself. I eat a banana because I realize, intellectually, that this might all just be blood sugar. And I take care of putting more clothes in our hampers, so it's all ready for the laundry early next morning.

Through all of this, I feel a fuzzy, ill-defined utter terror. I feel a deep and consuming despair. It gets strong enough that I can feel my face contracting into a grinning rictus of horror. It'd be hilarious if it wasn't so bad.

I sit there for quite some time. 10 minutes maybe. Maybe 15. Then suddenly, as if a light switch was flipped, my face relaxes, my whole body relaxes, and I am able to move again. I go back to bed, sit on the edge. S stirs, asks me how I am.

And I explode into hulking sobs. It takes me several minutes to even get any words out.

This one was scary.

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