Here’s the Thing

Last weekend on our way home from the family reunion, PD and I stopped for dinner at one of our favorite little places in a town called Punxsutawney. While we were dining, I felt a little spell of mild anxiety coming on. (something not entirely unusual for me after a few nights of not sleeping well.) PD knows to talk to me to give me something to concentrate on until it passes. It did.

Back up a second… A cousin of mine at the reunion had a really nice canopy (such that you would put over a table outside for shade or rain protection) that PD decided we must have. When PD inquired where my cousin had purchased the canopy, he was told (surprise!) Walmart.

So after dinner I drove up the road a bit and contrary to all that I stand for and abhor about the fucking place Walmart, we went there to look for a canopy. Walking back into the bowels of the store, something had caught my eye and I asked PD to hold up a second. I didn’t hear him say, “I’ll be in Sporting Goods.”

When I finished looking, I turned to see that PD was no longer standing in the aisle I was in. I walked to the main aisle. No PD. I looked down the aisle to my left. And to the right. No PD as far as my eyes could see. This is when the Thing occurred…

Instant, full-body panic set in and took up residence. For that matter, dug it’s heels in and ordered cable and new address labels. An overwhelming sense of non-reality kind of took over and the only thought in my head was Got. To. Find. PD. NOW. I quickly moved to the end of several of the side aisles and looked down them, hoping against hope that he would be standing there and I would be okay. After several of these it became more and more apparent to me that I would never see him again and I would die a slow, painful, torturous death right there in the middle of the place (only second to the dentist’s chair) I detest most in the world. I’m not sure how much time had passed. From what I’ve read, panic attacks only last (at the most) half an hour but to the sufferer, seem much longer.

I felt compelled to yell and run. I wasn’t aware of anyone near me noticing anything strange about my behavior. I say that in hindsight, as at the time, I doubt anything as trivial as that would have concerned me. I fought the urge to yell for PD. But only for a time. I did indeed, yell his name, at first mildly loud and when he didn’t answer, increasingly louder. And louder. Still not aware of drawing any undue attention. Which, had someone looked alarmed, I don’t know what my reaction would have been anyway. I do remember at some point hoping that no one would approach me and offer help because I couldn’t remember my name or why I was there or even what I needed help with.

After what seemed like an eternity, I saw a man way, way far away who (Please, please, please, God! kept running through my head) appeared to be PD. I took off in that direction and God help anyone who would have gotten in my way. I walked and walked faster and faster and it seemed ages before it seemed that I was making any headway. So I ran for awhile. Yeah, really.

When I finally reached PD, judging by the look of alarm on his face, I must have appeared quite a sight. I started crying at some point, not sure when. When he saw me, he reached out his arms and held me until I got settled down and choked out an explanation for my behavior. Needless to say, we left the store shortly thereafter. PD, who should not drive, insisted on driving home. We were about an hour from home.

Okay, I’m tired typing now and not all that comfortable relaying and reliving this experience. But I wanted you to know the Thing that prompted this upheaval of sorts that you’ve been reading this past week. Later I will tell you about my trip to the doctor.

12 responses to “THE “THING”

  1. God, I feel for you and certainly can sympathize. I’ve been there alone and I’m glad PD was there for you.

  2. Hazel, I can’t imagine… *Sigh* I know you’ve struggled with the same issues as me. Being that Mom went through this years ago, do you think we have hereditary chemical imbalances or something?

  3. So sorry this happened. Glad PD was so supportive. Sounds like he did us men proud. I’m sure in the future he will make sure you hear him.

    I hope this doesn’t happen again.

  4. Mark, yeah, PD is great We kinda take turns leaning on each other. I’m sure you are an equally terrific hubby.

  5. As for this being hereditary, I don’t know, maybe I should do some research on the matter. I’ve never felt anything that I could mistake for a panic attack and if it were passed down, I think I’d be sure to have at least a mild case since both you and dad suffer(ed) from them. Wow, half an hour seems like a very long time to suffer through one. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this awful feeling!

  6. Been there done that and can understand the all-consuming fear. Thankfully I haven’t had a severe attack in some time. Mine would usually come in the middle of the night, when my brain had too much time to trip over the various worries that plague someone with depression. Do you have anything to take for these occasions, just in case one lasted longer than a few minutes? Obviously there’s Xanax but there are probably other things on the market today. Luckily PD was there to catch you on that one. Hang in there!

  7. could it be a side effect of your new meds? i have lots of anxiety and always have. it’s frustrating if you’ve been a “together” kind of person for most of your life.

    now how about you looking into one of those kid leashes?

    hee πŸ™‚

  8. Ju, considering some of the stress you’ve endured and the lack of sleep you’ve managed to live without, I’d say-if those are triggers- you’re safe πŸ™‚

    Brian, believe it or not, it really helps to know others have been here too. The doc offered me something but I want to try to get to the bottom of this without meds, altho if it becomes necessary, I’m not completely against the idea. I used to carry Xanax with me for mild anxiety, but never used the whole Rx. Thanks πŸ™‚

    Piglet, I don’t think it’s a direct thing but I haven’t had good sleep (thank you hot flashes, you bastards!) and that IS definitely a factor.
    I know what you mean, I miss being “all together…”
    Leash… lol πŸ™‚

  9. I too hate wal-mart, I blame your panic attack on that hellish place. I think one of the demons there was trying to live in your body. It is a good thing you made it out OK.

  10. TC, well that’s definitely one way to look at it. I prefer that explanation, cuz if I just stay out of the evil dungeon of a place, I’ll be cured and not have to worry about it. Except that after the cursed place puts every other store in the country out of business, there won’t be anywhere else to buy crap. And then what will I do?

  11. I really know where you are coming from and as someone that is under treatment for panic attacks that 1/2 hour crap is for the birds! Try being afraid of staying in your house and better yet leaving your house for days at a time. It’s not pretty to say the least. Even under treatment there is no solution. You bite down hard and stay as long as you can without freaking out. You were brave, I would’ve bolted to the car and cried.

  12. Hi Otterman, Nice of you to visit. So, so many people I talk to have so many of these same issues. I wonder if it’s our lifestyles, ie., the daily stresses we face, all the chemicals in our food, lack of sleep, etc. that contribute to these. My dr. seemed to insinuate that once I discovered my fear(s) and faced it/them, that would solve the problem. But he didn’t come right out and say it. I don’t want to go on medication, that would only be a quik-fix that doesn’t address the cause of the problem. Brave, no. I don’t think I had enough control over my thinking at the time to find my way out of there.
    Again, thanks for coming by.

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