Yesterday I had a panic attack so intense that my lips actually took on a slightly purple hue. (I wasn't breathing enough. Holding your breath and barely taking in oxygen will do that.) The real anxiety set in after I noticed this chromatic conundrum, meaning that any real "breathing" had stopped well before I even noticed the panic attack. This panic attack followed hard upon the heels of one from the previous day that was set off by something along the lines of a mess on the floor and husbands who don't know how to clean up the kitchen after they make lunch for themselves, good gravy. This afternoon I was struck with an ongoing wave of nausea so bizarre, coupled with a dull headachey feeling, that I was sure I was either pregnant (am not), or in the early throes of a Migraine of the Century (I wasn't). The nausea and headache were products of wait for it... a to-that-point-unidentified panic attack.
The only thing surer than panic attacks that come in little clusterfucks is this: Around these same days (usually, hem hem, hormonal ones) I cannot get over just how "fat" I am. I walk around avoiding reflective surfaces, entranced by the jiggle and the bounce. I stand or sit perfectly placidly, then suddenly realize that my skin must be literally about to pop open. I feel so intensely uncomfortable and disgusted.
I am never shocked, when I step on the crappy drugstore scale that hides under our bed, to see that the all-hallowed Number hasn't shot up. It's usually quite the same, if not a pound or two lower than it was a week previous (which is "the same" for all intents and purposes). Having been in the same five-pound swing zone for the past four and a half years, I know what's going to pop up on the digital display. Regardless of how accurate the scale's set point is (it weighs our ten-pound weights as 8.8, for example), the point is this: My weight does exactly it's supposed to. It stays basically the same. This is why we have a scale in the first place: So I can check in with reality from time to time to verify that I have not, in fact, gained or lost any weight (because the funhouse mirror can squeeze both ways).
It should be a given that, when I start getting these clusters of panic attacks, I must immediately stop looking in the mirror, just for a few days. I understand why the one event is comorbid, so to speak, with the other. My issue is that, hormones aside, I never see this coming, don't know what triggers these half-week-long episodes, and would prefer to REMEMBER for a change next month.
You know. So I can write "Breathe" and "Wear Sweats" and "Don't eat frosting right out of the can" on my To-Do list. Anyone want to send me an email about that in three weeks or so? That would be greeeat.