When I was 24 I had an epiphany. This was a real epiphany, complete with severe physical manifestations, belief bending recognitions and the exposure to emotions that I never contemplated existed. This epiphany had the power to change my life and provided a pathway to living a more joyful, fearless, expressive existence.
But that was not what I chose. And that was not what I had help choosing. Do you want to know what I chose instead?
I chose a “Panic Attack”. I chose fear and labeled my experience and when I reached out lost, for help, those around me labeled it the same. Yes, that’s what happened 23 years ago, right around this time, Spring into Summer. I had a gift “happen” to me and I labeled it a Panic Attack and from that point on I did what anyone who is under Attack must do.
I’ve been exploring this part of my life lately. It’s not a small part. Although my “Attacks” were somewhat brief, ranging from 10 minutes to a couple of terror filled hours, the effects of the “Attacks” were persistent and required of me a changing of my personality to avoid ever experiencing them again. I was somewhat successful in this but because this story is a story about mistaken identity, many of the words that are used can also be mistaken. For example when I write I was “Successful in this…” above I mean I was able to mute myself, my excitement, my feelings, my emotions, my thoughts, my expressions; I was able to avoid, reject, judge, get mad at and discount my way around the sensitivity of my soul to protect it from any further “Attack”.
The no bullshit way for translating this is: I completely changed everything about me and about my life and about my passions in order to never experience the terror of that first Panic Attack again.
23 years later I recognize I can put that weight down. I recognize that there was no “Panic Attack”. Instead there WAS an explosion of perception, an explosion of emotions, an explosion of thoughts; I was privileged to bear witness, however uncomfortable to the infinity of life but this explosion of humanity inside my body was more than my innocent perception could handle. So I decided, along with everyone else, to put a label on it, make it bad and treat the effects of it.
This journey into writing now, is how I’m coming to terms with a rebirth, a blossoming of my soul after decades of self induced captivity. I started this writing journey a few months ago but I’ve been on the journey now since that fateful day so many years ago.
I am writing, as well, for you. For any of you who have experienced, for yourself or through a loved one, the thing that everyone comfortably labeled as a Panic Attack. I’m writing for me, because it is cathartic and sometimes it’s just what I want. I don’t have Panic Attacks anymore and for those of you “in the know” that’s an impressive feat, what would your life be like if you knew you wouldn’t have another Panic Attack ever again?
I think it’s possible for anyone because I know it’s possible for me. I hope, if you decide to read some of the poetry in this category, you will find some common experience, some togetherness and a person holding the torch, and waiting ahead in the darkness with a light, because that’s what I want to be.