So I wrote a fb post the other day, and it turned out kind of lengthy and I realized I wanted to write. Where is the place I come when I want to write? Here, of course.
I have so much inside that I want to get out. I internalize things. I always have. If I don't empty out the stuff in my head every once in a while it starts to fester, then I kind of lose it a little.
Sometimes I lose it a lot. Thankfully this time only a little.
I had a panic attack in the grocery store tonight. Well, to be honest, it started in Michael's but came to a head in the grocery store.
I'm having a bad episode of polychondritis and the side of my head is so tender it hurts to turn it. It's a nagging pain that you don't think is that bad, until suddenly it is and you'll do anything to make it stop. I'm in that phase. The dear-lord-please-make-the-pain-stop phase.
I'm in a lot of pain and I got off early and I made the mistake of thinking I could make a "quick stop" at Michael's before I went home. Poor error in judgement on my part. Seriously, who ever makes a "quick stop" at Michael's?
That store confounds me. I mean, I love it there. I'm a crafty person and I like to make stuff. But when I get into that store it's like Narnia. I'm transported into another realm, in which there is just so much to see. So many things to make! I want to make all the things! Roughly half my time at Michael's is spent putting stuff into my basket, and then walking around the store and slowly putting everything back. I did manage to pick up the supplies to make a Christmas banner my sister wants, but everything else went back on the shelf.
I only went there because they were having some daily Christmas deals that were 70% off. Who can resist 70% off? Apparently I can, because I put everything back and left with none of it. There went an hour of my time. An hour. Seriously it's like time slows down in there.
Who wanders around a store for an hour and leaves with only scrapbook paper?
Then, feeling shell shocked from the sensory overload that is Michael's, and still in pain I decided to go the grocery store. Even worse, a grocery store that I am not familiar with.
Furthermore, I had a lengthy list, and planned on buying for the week. Not just a quick run in for dinner.
So let's recap: In a lot of pain, stressful day, feeling overwhelmed, and a grocery store where I don't know where anything is. Recipe for disaster.
I was feeling very on edge when I started shopping and was forcing myself to breathe in and out very slowly. My anxiety was starting to ramp up when I realized my list was quite lengthy and I was going to have to go up and down every aisle because I didn't know where anything was.
Things came to a head when I started looking for the Crystal Light. I went up and down the water aisle. Twice. No Crystal Light. Down the soda aisle. Still no Crystal Light. I asked an associate. Try aisle 2, they suggested. Aisle 2 was the water aisle. Yup, tried there. How about aisle 3, they asked. Nope, not there either I replied. Finally, after asking three times the associate said "If we have it, it will be on Aisle 2".
IF you have it? IF? Of COURSE you have Crystal Light. EVERYBODY has Crystal Light. In fact, I am certain I have bought Crystal Light at this exact store before. All you have to do is figure out where it is and tell me so I can purchase some. Is that so hard?
I may have raised my voice a little bit. The associate may have looked at me like I was crazy.
At that point I was becoming so upset I had to leave the store. That's right. I left the store. I abandoned my cart, exited the store and sat down on the sidewalk out front.
What did I do then? Well I called my husband of course. Because if there is one person on this earth who can calm me down when I am having an epic panic attack, it is him.
So I sat on the sidewalk, and talked to my husband, crying a little bit(actual tears...over Crystal Light. Really?!)
The conversation went something like this:
"Honey? What's the matter? Are you crying? What's happened? Have you been in an accident? No? You're where? Sitting on the sidewalk? How come? No, It's ok, it will be ok. Don't worry about the Crystal Light. I think we still have one pouch here..let me check...yes, we have one more pouch of Crystal Light, we don't need it, just finish your shopping and come home. No, you aren't crazy, don't cry. You're just stressed out. I love you, just come home everything will be alright".
And that is one of the reasons I love him.
So he talked me off of the ledge and I felt ok enough to go back into the store and finish my shopping.
In case you were curious the Crystal Light was on aisle 6. The aisle with the crackers. Not the aisle with the water. Not with the juice. Not even with the Soda. The Crystal Light was on the aisle with the crackers. Who planned that out? Sometimes I think people who plan the layouts of grocery stores do it to mess with people. Mission accomplished.
At any rate, I found the Crystal Light, I finished my shopping, and I drove home.
On the way home I pondered the reason for the dramatics in the grocery store? I've been feeling very good lately and I was surprised about the panic attack. I was able to come up with a few reasons I have been feeling stressed this week.
Money is tight. Especially tight, since my entire Christmas fund went to purchasing a new car window. A car window that I was responsible for breaking.
People are crazy at work(patients). Seriously. I can't even get into the craziness. It's beyond draining.
Christmas is coming. Soon. You wouldn't think that would stress someone like me out, someone who has been slowly buying gifts for months, and even ordered her Christmas cards in July(truly). But it is. Stressing me out. A Lot. I love Christmas. So much. I love it so much, however that I set such high expectations for it that I cannot possibly meet them. I need to have more lights, the perfect tree, send my cards out at the perfect time, purchase the perfect gifts, which are wrapped perfectly(I love giving gifts!) I spend so much time worrying about all of that that I don't stop to enjoy it, and the real meaning gets lost. I really need to learn to chill out about Christmas.
So there you have it. Money, work, Christmas. Normal things that every person worries about.
All of that, and then:
Paris. Bombings all over the world. Isis. Syrian refugees. Dead children. Onslaught of opposing Facebook posts regarding said Syrian refugees.
And therein lies the heart of the anxiety. It isn't about work being stressful, or about money being tight, or about wanting Christmas to be perfect.
It's about so much scary stuff happening in the world and me not being able to do anything about it. I lie awake at night and cry for families who will face this holiday season without their loved ones. I cry about senseless violence and the hate that drives it. I want to help in some way, but feel paralyzed. I worry that something bad will happen to people I love and I won't be able to stop it.
I have so many feelings and thoughts but I don't know how to articulate them so I hold them all in until I explode.
I really must work on this.
So I came home and I told Joe all of the terrifying, worrying, horrible thoughts that had been rolling around in my head over the last week and he helped me sort them out until I felt better. He didn't have all the answers, and he couldn't make any of it better for anyone, but it helped me to let it out in one huge long breath and regroup so that I didn't feel so overwhelmed by all of it.
Everyone should have a Joe in their life. :)
Sometimes you don't even realize you've been holding your breath until you exhale.
Every prayer and good thought I have goes out to anyone suffering in the world right now. I think about you. Even if I don't talk about it, you are still on my mind, and in my heart and prayers. Every day and every night. Until I can figure out something tangible I can do to help, you have my thoughts and prayers. I wish it were more than that.