Tuesday, October 16, 2007

panic, mania, depression, etc.

depression and anxiety have had me locked away from here for the past few weeks. blogging should not induce panic attacks, but then again, panic attacks aren't about reality and rational fears. most of the time, i'm basically regurgitating news clips anyway, nothing too personal or putting my reputation at stake, and yet...

i've tried to post about 50 times since my last quick blurb, only to either run from my keyboard, avoiding my computer altogether, or begin entries that would freeze me mid-sentence and cause a heart-pounding, head-lightening freakout. ideas would be bursting out of me and then suddenly crash. i'm sure if i looked at my drafts right now, i'd cry.
anyone out there had panic attacks or manic seizes? anxiety attacks tend to begin without warning (known 'triggers' excluded.)

simultaneously trapped within and disconnected from your corporal body, it's surreal and extremely frightening to have to fight for breaths and control of your limbs. hyperventilating is common, but so is that heavy 'i'm gonna pass out or fall asleep right here' feeling. the need to hold on to something arises. you're a helium balloon tentatively tied to a toddler's wrist. beating the air, pulling away, torn back down. at the mercy of the environment, you sway and bounce. the ebb and flow isn't the calm, rhythmic motion of the sea, but an errant toss and jerk, sans direction or purpose. you can't forget to breathe, but it becomes harder to remember as your head grows heavier and the ground seems to tilt. why is one side of your body suddenly a paperweight, while the other half is lighter than air? being vertical seems an impossible feat! how do people do it? as these thoughts burn the edges of your brain, other thoughts are battling for the forefront of your mind, racing at dragstrip speed through your head. everything that could go wrong is currently occurring and you have no way to stop anything. you get over the strangely euphoric, terrible and seductive sensations and are abruptly torn back to reality... a reality in which you're shaking, sweating, tight-chested and nauseated. the tympani of your heart's pound is orchestral in your ears, and that memory of breath suddenly becomes all you want, but cannot have. you'd do anything just to get some air into your lungs, but it suddenly can't go. you try to focus, but all you can manage are shallow gasps for air ~ the rest of you is just too preoccupied with the plethora of problems it's having. you've shattered, and sweeping up the remains is a seemingly endless and daunting task. you don't seem to have a center. there's nothing there to hold you in; you're a million autonomous units that have no operator. you're screaming inside to grab that broom, to reach out, to rally the troops and focus as a whole again. you reach and reach and after an eternity of stretching: you manage. a mantra begins to repeat in your mind: you're gonna be okay, just breathe, just breathe, breathe, breathe.... tentatively, your body responds. your head straightens slowly where it had been tilting more and more to the side. (it no longer seems to weigh SO much.) you're sweating less, your eyes switch into focus. you're still shaking, but you can actually see your hands enough to realize what they've been doing. control of your legs and the sensation of them touching the ground reinstates. blinking a couple of times, you take that one slow deep breath that actually seems to somewhat fill your body. and it's over.

manic moments are different. ideas flow like lava, the world is suddenly within your grasp, ridiculously easy to wield and weld to your command. how do people not get it? you want to share your secret with everyone everywhere ~ they all must know! you rush to tell the universe, or maybe just the person next to you. you're warm, your face is flush, eyes bright and wide with intensity. you begin to speak, but speech is too slow for the fire in your brain. or perhaps you're typing. fingers can't work fast enough for all that's pouring forth. you skip entire words, sentences, paragraphs and ideas, convinced that you're waxing poetic and doing the world a great service. people tell you to slow down as you excitedly meander through ideas on every conceivable subject, topic or issue. vaguely, you notice their raised eyebrow and condescending smile. you stumble on the outpour and are jerked back down from your excitement. why can't people understand you? why doesn't what you just typed make sense? only moments ago you held the skeleton key to life's secrets and it was all too simple! paranoia strikes. you delete sentences, paragraphs, eventually the whole of what you've created out of the knowledge that it's worthless. and not only that, but YOU'RE worthless! how could you possibly have believed you know anything at all? that your creative outpour is anything but garbage? you have no ability or capacity to finish anything, achieve anything. you're a loser. why try. turn off the computer and shut the fuck up. retreat.

this has been my MO for the past couple of weeks. sorry to toss it all out like some tacky salad, but i think it's made me feel a little better. erin, you yelled at me to just 'do it,' and so i did. hurray to a doctor's visit next week.


belledame222 said...

meh, Not Fun. glad you're feeling a little better, hope the trend continues.

Spitfireatme said...

Came across this blog randomly from Google. Your descriptions of mania and panic resonate with me and I'm wondering if there's some sort of connection between the two. In bipolar instances, I'm intuitively guessing that the tension of being on a low creates a desire and biological reality of a high, and that the uncomfortable high leads to a compensation in getting low again - so I'm wondering what the intuitive answer is, because I've tried being in a "steady state" by meditating 3x a day which worked wonderfully but felt like a blunt affect - too MUCH control, like you couldn't be spontaneously emotional. I'm guessing the idea is to normalize some things in our lives while seeking lows and highs in other aspects. Panic/Manic seem to me to be able to be diminished or eliminated by meditation/deep breathing.