Pre-Panicking for the Busy Professional

wackystuff - flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0This morning,* I was at my computer, trying to get some work done.

I started freaking out.

I wasn’t breathing right.

My chest hurt.

I was dying. Totally dying. Right there. Right then.

Imminent death.

Except I knew I wasn’t dying.

I felt like I was dying. I was convinced I was dying.

Except I knew I wasn’t dying.

That’s the joy of a panic attack. Once I had enough of them, my brain whispers at me that I’m not actually dying. That’s it’s my brain and my body ganging up on me and trying to trick me. That it’s not real, no matter how real it feels at that moment.

Of course, my brain also tells me that maybe – just maybe – this time it’s *not* a panic attack. Maybe this time it’s for real. Maybe this time I’m going to die.

My brain really, really hates me some days.

I did what I could to hold it together, bothering some friends in a FB chat, squeezing a little squeeze toy that looks like a penis (yes, it’s awesome), and trying to distract myself.

Eventually, it either worked or the panic attack ran out of energy. Either way, I calmed down.

I had no idea what had triggered it, and I wasn’t sure if it even mattered. Sometimes there is no trigger, and I wonder if my brain and body got bored and wanted to mess with me.

Then I figured it out. I was pre-panicking for the afternoon.

Today was the last day of ESY (Extended School Year) for my son. (Check out the blog about him here…)

For those who don’t have the time to read it, here’s the summary:
ESY is Extended School Year. It’s provided for kids with special needs who would regress if they were without schooling all summer. Excellent, right? Except that, this year, it’s only four weeks long, over a twelve week summer. On top of that, it’s only four days a week. And three hours a day. So we’re looking at a whopping 48 hours. Yeah. Better than nothing, though.

Well, my son does not do well with a lack of school. He loves ESY especially, so when there isn’t any, he gets pretty upset about it.

But back to the story.

I had done a pretty spectacular job panicking for a while in the morning, so in the afternoon, once my son was home and having his own meltdown, I was good. He got upset, he wanted to go out (multiple times), and he asked and re-asked a lot of questions about when ESY would start up again.

I knew I had things to do, and I was stressed about getting them done, but overall I survived without freaking out and managed to get some hours of work done while I dealt with the semi-mass-hysteria.

Now, I’m not saying that I have precognition, but maybe my panic attacks do.

*To be fair, this was written over a week ago. So whoops. But busy. And crazy.  

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