A lot of this blog has been about the traumatic experiences my partner and I have endured due to being “outed” as poly at my place of business almost 4 years ago. I have documented the events at times, the struggles to rebuild our lives, the emotional pain of losing my family. I wanted to share with my readers about my struggle with panic attacks that have been plaguing me for the past year or so as the stress has at times become unbearable. I started having these last summer after another huge crisis that was fallout from the initial one hit. My 12 hours days became 14-16 hour days last summer, then eviction, then another lawsuit as I was sued by my powerful landlord.
There have been moments when I seriously thought I wasn’t going to make it. I hope that others who have experienced symptoms of PTSD or panic disorder can find promise in my story. Promise that it will subside. Promise that it can be overcome. Chin up, friends. Chin up. And, remember, you can control this. Your body is okay. It really is. You must learn to control your mind.
March 15, 2017
It’s a nice, sunny day. Warm for March in Seattle. It’s time for me to make my monthly trek to Redmond to drop off a payment at my attorney’s office. I never dreamed when I made that first payment of $2000 back in November of 2015 that I would still be making these huge payments every month. It seriously never occurred to me that I’d not win the lawsuit. What those people did to me is so horrible I thought there was no way a jury wouldn’t agree with me and award me at least something. Unfortunately, the jury never even got to hear my story.
I’ve just left the office. As usual, there was no parking in the lot so I parked across the street near the bus terminal. As I’m leaving the building, I’m suddenly overcome with anxiety. I start to panic that it’s happening again. I start to feel numb, my heart suddenly starts to race, and I feel like the world is spinning around me. My mind is overflowing with their faces, with memories of events that occurred, with words that were spoken about me that were untrue. I am not sure where I’m going. I can hear sounds around me but they seem very far away.
I start to cross the street. There’s a crosswalk here, isn’t there? I’m confused when suddenly a hand grabs my arm. “Miss…Miss…” from a stranger. “You’ll walk in front of that bus. Come back.”. I can barely hear him.
A man I don’t know is pulling me back to the sidewalk. “What is wrong?,” he says. I stare at him blankly. “I don’t know,”, I mutter. “I can’t breathe.” As I say this, I bend over, trying to catch my breath. He bends his head near mine, trying to make sense of what is happening. I take a few gulps of air and straighten back up. I have to stop this. I’m going to die. I can’t die. My children. And…they would win if I die.
“I have to get to my car”, I say as I again begin to cross the street. The mans runs after me, “Let me help you there. Where is your car?”. I absently point at my jeep as I take deep breaths, reminding myself that I can breath, that this is just in my mind. We make it to the car and I climb in as I say thank you to the man. I close the door and remind myself again that this isn’t physical. This is my mind doing this to me. It’s from the trauma. I have made it this far. I can make it home.
I turn on the engine, part of me fearful that I am in no condition to drive but I can only picture home in my mind and experience the intense need I have to get there. At least if I die, I don’t want it to be among strangers on the sidewalk in Redmond.