Day 48 Healing Work (Fighting a Panic Attack at Work)
I think the best I'm going to do today with this posting is complain. I try not to whine with these blog postings. I try to learn something by digging deep and sharing things I have kept concealed. But, today, I am not in that space. Today I am afraid. I feel weak. Broken. Small.
I didn't really sleep last night. I had nightmares and just tossed and turned.
This morning I had a good conversation with the gynecologist. I let her know I don't want my letter to be in my file. She considered options so she could read it in advance but protect my privacy. We agreed I will drop it off for her on Wednesday in a sealed envelope marked, "confidential." The conversation and her tone felt very normal. She seems very open and understanding about the whole thing.
But, I still had a difficult time keeping my anxiety under control today. Usually once I get to work I am OK. I am busy. I can immerse myself in the needs of the day. I can consume every ounce of my energy and attention with the tasks at hand. To that end I tend to keep my calendar 100% booked. I don't leave any blank spots because I could end up at my desk sitting quietly, exposed to my mind. The thoughts in there are sometimes too loud to ignore. They make me want to take actions that are not healthy just to shut them up. I feel the need to escape or claw my brain out of my head to make it stop. But, of course, none of that is visible on the surface. I would never let anyone see any of what's going on inside. I'm not really in any danger of doing anything harmful because that would mean someone would see. My commitment to keeping my secret is stronger than my need to stop the noise in my head.
But, the noise in my head is usually drowned out by the consious activities of work.
Today, not so much.
I could feel the clamoring all day long. But, I was busy. I was able to ignore it, like the way you don't hear everything being said around you when you're standing in a crowd. I had an open spot in my calendar. At first it seemed like a good thing. I could catch up on emails and tasks I needed to do at my desk. But, my noisy anxiety finally won out and got a strangle hold on my attention. I couldn't work.
I realized a panic attack was forming.
The good news is that I recognized it before it took hold.
I posted a status here in Pandy's about it, which helped me feel like somebody knew; I wasn't alone. Then I found a co-worker and invited her to take a walk, to get a brain break. At first she asked me what was wrong. I was taken aback for a second. How could she possibly know something was wrong? But, I realized that my getting up in the middle of work to go for a walk was a bit unusual. So, I said that my brains were scrambled and needed oxygen before the next meeting.
That explanation was sufficient and off we went. We talked about our projects and her studies. I kept the focus on her. Focusing on someone else's needs really helps me distract. As we walked I wrestled back control over my brain. We got back after about 20 minutes and I was able to work. But, by that point it was time for the meeting so I didn't have to sit quietly in my office any longer.
Coming home I had more work to do. I finally made it to Pandy's where I could tell my truth and release some of the pressure.
I feel now that the panic attack has been averted. I just need to keep myself occupied until bed time.