I have recently started experiencing panic attacks. It’s a horrible experience and I’m not sure what to do about them or how to deal with them. But I have figured out one thing, and that’s what causes them: thinking about my life. Contemplating all the horrible things that have happened. Thinking about how broken I am. Thinking about how messed up being broken has made me. How it has destroyed my life. Thinking about the obstacles I have to overcome if I’m ever going to experience anything other than depression, struggles, and pain in life. Thinking about how alone I am and how alone I’m likely to always be. Because I’m such a mess. Thinking about how different I am. How deficient. Thinking about how big of a financial hole I’m in and how my binging and purging is only causing the hole to get deeper (groceries are expensive…I’m basically just throwing them in the toilet). Thinking about how badly I’m performing at work because of depression and medical challenges related to anorexia, depression and stress. Thinking about how bleak the future looks. I can’t see anything changing, except, of course, changing for the worse. I could go on and on, but you probably get the idea. Thinking about all of this hurtful, frightening, overwhelming, nightmarish STUFF becomes suffocating. I become so thoroughly terrified, it paralyzes me. I panic. I spin into this deep, dark, scary place that is bottomless…and there’s nothing to grab on to as I fall endlessly deeper into the pit.
This challenge was totally unexpected. I’ve spent most of my life not feeling much of anything at all, well, other than depression. To have emotions that are this overwhelming is completely petrifying. I don’t know how to deal with them. I can’t process them or contain them. They just…ARE. And they are…HUGE. Frightening giants. They dwarf my defenses. They lay me to waste. They terrify me.
I need to be able to feel, but it seems I don’t have a working regulator or insulator. At this point, it would seem I’m either not going to feel anything other than depression or I’m going to be completely and totally overwhelmed by pain, hopelessness, despair and terror. My natural tendency is to shut everything down quickly. Pull the plug! I’m trying to fight that defense mechanism, but it’s extremely difficult when my circuits are overloaded and being fried by an emotional surge. And forget about sorting anything out! I can’t even being to grasp a single thought or emotion from the midst of the fireball of emotions that are flooding my senses.
This is one of the most painful experiences I have ever had. Maybe I’m finally beginning to feel a little piece of the ocean of pain that has been buried inside of me since I was abused as a child. Whoopee, right? A little late. Kind of far down the road. But I have always said I’m a late bloomer. This isn’t exactly what I had in mind when it comes to “blooming,” but maybe it’s a critical step. I hope there’s something worthwhile on the other side of all of this. I hope there is something out there -PERIOD- on the other side of all of this. That there really IS another side. Something worthwhile would be incredible. I could sure use a glimpse of the future because getting through the pain and the terror is going to be a tough, rough, disorienting ride. Assuming there is a bottom to this pit. Assuming there is an end to the pain. Assuming there is something to hope for. Barely able to hope.