My dear, have you taken leave of your senses?

Today, my loves, I had a panic attack.

I always thought I was ‘above’ such things, in some way. However I am not. I am simply a human being.

I suppose it all started this morning. I woke up very early, you see. My alarm went off at 5am. I struggled out of bed at 5:30. By 7:10am, I was pedalling madly towards the coach station because a member of my family had forgotten their phone.

It was hectic. I saw them off. Waved at the tinted coach windows. I didn’t know if they were waving back at me, all I could see were shadows. As I cycled back up the main road, a tall fellow with spindly knees clattered towards me.

He looks like him. I thought. Gosh. Imagine if it was.

As I got closer, my heart thudded painfully against my ribs. Is it? Oh God. It is! His mouth was puckered, his face long. IS IT? It looked like him, but as I neared him I couldn’t look. I was terrified he would recognise me. I hunched my shoulders on my bike, thankfully I was wearing my ugly PJs and looked a right mess. I jutted my lower chin out, and made a sour, frowny face. He wouldn’t look twice if I was ugly. I whizzed by. I don’t know. I felt something. What if he recognised me?

That small incident haunted my thoughts all day, but I got on with it. I tidied up my mum’s garden. I hoovered the house. I hung out the washing and did another load. I made the beds ready and clean for when they got back. I put perishables in the freezer. Then I got ready. I showered and put some makeup on. I brushed my hair. I put on some clean clothes, sprayed some perfume behind my ears and on my wrists.

I went to visit my friend. Her mum made us a delicious luncheon. Her siblings were very sociable, and told me their life stories. It was a very large and bustling family. Things were always happening.

I started feeling weak. I had a strong, black, unsweetened coffee. Then I decided it was time to make a move, and so I got up and walked home. I stopped on the way to pick up some treats for my other family. Why not, I thought, those guys are really nice to me.

When I got home I was feeling a little shaky. I had some tea, and waited to be picked up by Damian and his brother. When they dropped me off at my in-laws, things began to spiral downhill, my dears.

You see, I was shaking some in the car.

It’s alright, I told myself, you just need to relax. Damian was being awfully cold with me since yesterday, when I lost my temper with him. I can be horrendously shocking when I lose my temper. I lose my wits, in a way. I rant a bit, I repeat things. My delivery is ‘bad’, as Damian put it.

I was very upset. I can’t bear him to be upset with me. It hurts me because he is very cold and aloof. It is his way of dealing with it, I suppose.

I tried to cheer myself up, joking with the girls, dancing with the baby.

It didn’t help that I was already feeling a little weak from my period. It’s the first day, you see, those are always the worst. I was also very worried and thinking about my family on that despicable and unsafe plane soaring over the Mediterranean sea. I was nervous.

My heart was racing. I had a spoonful of honey. I lay down a little. Things seemed a little dizzy. I wanted to cry, so I went to the bathroom. Nothing happened.

Dinner was ready. I had no appetite but I thought that I must eat something. I probably had low blood sugar, losing all that blood.

But it got too much. The voices faded to background buzz. The lights seemed bright and dim all at once.

“Are you okay?” somebody asked me. I couldn’t. It exploded out of me. Tears were streaming down my face and I choked on a sob.

“I need fresh air, sorry”, I gulped and crashed my way outside, clumsy, pushing past hands reached out in concern.

It was an interesting phenomenon. I was sad and terrified and I felt so faint and dizzy. I felt a pair of arms huddle around me and hug me close and it was Damian and he hugged me so tightly while I shook and tried to gulp some air in.

It took a while. The heaving breaths turned to quiet sobs, which turned to slow breathing and sniffles. I wasn’t sad. I shook a little but I was alright. I am alright. There is nothing wrong with me, except that I had a panic attack.

I will never belittle those who experience those frequently. Of course you can get over it. But while it is happening, it is the most daunting, frightening feeling. You feel as though you will faint or explode, perhaps both all at once.

Strange phenomenon indeed. What causes one to behave in such an unsociable manner? I have always been of an anxious disposition. However I have always managed to keep it under the surface. Never has it taken control of my senses in such an unprecedented fashion.

It ends happily. My family landed safely in the land of heat and Arabs and tall buildings and gleaming riches. I am comfortable. The baby was a charming bundle of rosy cheeked chubbiness and glorious little baby kisses. She brightened my disposition immensely.

Thank you for listening. Adieu.

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