Lady Macbeth had it easy. She just saw spots on her skin because of her guilt. I have panic attacks for no reason other than… well because I really do not know.
When she had her bout of hysteria (which by the way, a synonym for hysteria is panic), Lady Macbeth literally went into hysterics and saw spots on her arms and hands because she felt guilty for the murder of King Duncan committed by her husband to gain the crown in Scotland at her urging and devise.
I on the other hand have a husband who has not committed murder – or anything for that matter – for gain; yet I still have panic attacks. Hmmmm…. I wonder….. Maybe, like Lady Macbeth, I create my own fear. Maybe I ‘let’ myself have these panic attacks to fill a void for something that I’ve never had before and therefore cannot explain my fear. Lady Macbeth then created her hysteria because of her guilt and was so stressed by the fact that she is the instrument of a King’s murder, she sleep walks and hallucinates seeing blood on her hand, startles at the clock striking and remembers her husband’s reluctance at her idea of regicide.
Let’s entertain a thought for a moment: Lady Macbeth is a prominent figure in Shakespeare’s play of the same name (surname that is) and backs her husband fully in his iniquitous deed. Well, she actually nags him into committing murder. I mean, she lays the daggers for him and his men after drugging King Duncan and his men at a banquet. But later in the play, performing her job as hostess for her husband’s men, at a similar banquet that King Duncan was killed, she is nervous. She becomes “stressed” for lack of a better word. Does she propel herself into hysteria? Or does Lady Macbeth have her first panic attack in the middle of the night?
Could it be that my panic (and subsequent attacks) and Lady Macbeth’s hysteria are one and the same? I mean, not in the sense that I’ve committed murder, or am going to for that matter. But same in the sense that my panic and Lady Macbeth’s hysteria is self created? That we cause ourselves our own stress?
Master Shakespeare, I thank thee for you maketh me understand myself.
So, again, last night I had a mild panic attack – but it was still an attack.
I suffer from heartburn once in awhile and anyone who suffers from heartburn or acid reflux knows the pain I’m talking about. Well, that set off another panic in me that it was my heart; that I was having a heart attack. It felt so real. My heart started to race, I started to get cold, clammy and sweaty. I felt dizzy. I thought for sure this was it, that my number was up. I would drop dead in my kitchen while I was cooking tacos and my husband wouldn’t notice because the tv was too loud.
I had to sit and be quiet. I went into the living room with some cold “Feeling Calm” tea that I had made earlier in the day. I sipped. I wished it was gin. I sipped again. Nope, it was feeling calm tea. I took my pulse. I felt my forehead. That darn muscle in my back – the one over my left shoulder blade, – started to spasm.
My husband came up from the family room. “What’s wrong?” “Nothing.” I said. “Are you mad because I’m not helping to cook?” “No” “Then What’s wrong?”
Oh how I wish others could understand the fear that goes along with panic attacks. Think of the most scariest thing you ever went through: being locked in a port a potty; losing your child in a department store; going to a funeral where there’s a viewing; getting ready to abandon ship that you thought was sinking when really the ship had only ran aground because the skipper got drunk and fell asleep at the helm. Whatever! But think of a scary moment.
Think how you felt. That is a panic attack. Now think how you would feel if you had one of those every day, or every couple of days. Think how frustrating that is. You cannot control them and to fight them, well, don’t even both trying. It just makes it worse.
Now do you get my analogy of fighting my way out of a wet paper bag? Because that’s what it feels like every time I have a panic attack, but the paper bag is winning.
So I don’t know if anyone out there will read this blog, but I feel that I need to write it. I suffer from Anxiety and Panic Attacks. I have since I was 8 years old and feel that now, in my mid-thirties, I need to connect with others out there in this world who suffer from this – what I call – affliction as well.
So, are you out there? Is anyone listening? Or I should ask, reading?
Do you dread getting on the bus? Going into large stores? Have you had to run out clutching your bag, purse, wallet, purchase like a wild animal escaping its cage? Would you fight savagely anyone who tried to stop or push you? I know I’ve felt this way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very normal. I’m a professional who works in the public service and had some high profile jobs thus far. But really; I suffer from what my doctor says most professional women my age suffer from – Anxiety.
My last panic attack was on the bus two days ago. I got on feeling fine – perfect in fact. I was on my way home from work. I felt pretty good. I got on the bus and started to feel odd. My skin started to tingle. I got a lump in my throat. I began to sweat. I could feel my skin blanche. I start to shake uncontrollably. The nice little Chinese lady sitting beside me asked as we neared every stop, “You get off? You get off?” I had to shake my head or whisper ‘no’ about 10 times. I thought I was going to die.
So what is it? What triggered this attack? Really? I couldn’t tell you. It came out of the blue. I’m tired of feeling tired of feeling tired of feeling like this.
Does anyone else feel this way? Do you feel like you’re fighting your way out of a wet paper bag and the bag is winning?