Sunday, November 12, 2006
In my early twenties, I suffered from panic attacks, not the sudden kind that leave you panting and confused, but the slow steady jungle drumbeat of anxiety that built until I felt as if I would not be able to breathe. Unlike a lot of people, I never mistook these episodes for heart attacks. I knew what was happening which made it worse. I lived with my then-betrothed in a one bedroom apartment with walls so thin that you could feel the wind blow through them and roaches that would not die, but instead dropped from the ceiling into food and clothes and hair despite my constant search for a better pesticide. We shared this palace with his bonsai trees (thank God, there wasn't room for a real plant) and all our stuff, which lined every available surface -- many books, pictures, the troll dolls that were ever so popular at the time -- my favorite was a blonde bridal troll doll with a horrified expression on her face. I'd always been a minimalist, but the clutter made me feel better in some ways, a padding of sorts against the horrors of the world because God knows our door didn't -- I saw a police officer lean into the locked door of one of the apartments when someone died in one of them and entered in less than a minute with one stiff push from his hip.
When I was alone, my mind looped to every bad thing I had ever known or seen -- one of my particular favorites was a high school cheerleader who'd been stabbed forty-three times while babysitting (the kids were asleep) in my hometown by an obsessed weirdo wearing a Jason mask, who kept saying over and over, I love you, you stupid bitch. She crawled to a neighbors and lived through it. I'd often felt a similiar anxiety as a child and would try to visualize the happiest scene I could think of -- fields of tulips. Of course, it wouldn't take all that long before a man wielding an ax came to the tulip field. I didn't even try that technique as an adult -- instead, I'd sit in a fugue state with the television turned up high. Sometimes I'd start to relax a little, especially when watching something funny, like In Living Color. Until a roach fell on my head and startled me, sending me into a fury and panic. If I could have stepped outside of myself, I would have laughed. Other people's suffering can provoke that response if you're not careful.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Every day above ground is a good day." Scarface
Drinking movie suggestion: Midnight Cowboy
Benedictions and Maledictions