There is an Alien in My Body

An Open Letter to the Lady Who Gave Me A Gigantic Stick,

Last night I found myself wandering on the street not exactly sure where I was going because my vision was tunneling and I couldn’t see through my tears. Then I asked for a stick, and a very kind woman handed me one.

In the last couple of months I have been through a lot of life changes. Most of them good. I also have several major life changes on the horizon. Also, most of them good. It’s no secret I suffer from panic attacks, but I also deal with depressive tendencies. There are some days I don’t think I can get out of bed, there are days I curl up in a ball in a dark unused office and hope I can start breathing normally again, and there are days I leak tears while riding the bus home at night and strangers hand me tissues. On good days I remind myself of the Teachings of The Bloggess, and I repeat over and over that depression lies. I listen to her/myself and I do the things I need to do to reduce the possibility of panic attacks and I wade through the days until the depression leaves, because it does, even if though it tries to convince me it wont.

But on the bad days, my depression feeds my panic. Like last night. After ignoring warning signs, ignoring the fact that I had dealt with many triggers, and ignoring the fact that I right now there are some major stressors in my life, two dogs started yipping at me, and I broke. My thoughts went like this: Two adorable animals hate me, they are yelling at me that I am a failure, they are screaming at me that I’m worthless. And they are right. 

Here’s the thing about a full blown panic attack, it feels like an alien has taken over my body and does what it wants. It makes me say things, it makes me react a certain way, and I can’t get it to stop. I see myself reacting, but I can’t get back into my own body, the alien is in control. The frustration of being out of control, and knowing it, add to the panic and things spiral quickly. I was wondering into the street because I couldn’t figure out how to use a crosswalk when a woman called out after me, followed me across the street, and grabbed my hand and brought me back into myself.

However much I know intellectually, and believe wholeheartedly on the good days, that there are people who love me and care about me, in that moment of panic I was convinced, because a couple of dogs barked, that I wasn’t worth much. It took a simple act on the part of a stranger to remind me, that those thoughts were lies. After suggesting I sit down for a minute and get my breathing under control, she walked me home, gave me a hug and recommended I drink some water, eat food, and take a calming bath. All three things I did, and they helped. But what helped the most was the fact that a complete stranger thought I was worth the time to stop and care for.

When she grabbed my hand and she gave two things: a connection to this world that forced the alien to the recesses of my brain and she gave me a gigantic stick to beat back the lies.

Thank you so much!

Eternally Yours,

Jami

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7 thoughts on “There is an Alien in My Body

  1. Glad that there was someone there to help out…generally I think most people are d-bags..but happily there are exceptions to that rule 🙂 btw totally understand..I used to hyperventilate before tests or exams when I was in school.

  2. Wow, Jami… that’s an incredible post. It’s hard to know how to respond to it… except that I admire you, sincerely, for having the strength and the courage to be so open – and by doing so, you stood up to your depression and your anxiety attacks.

    I’m not going to say “I know how you feel” because I don’t – and the last thing I would do is lie to you. But I’ve been depressed too… to the point where I was getting drunk and hoping I would die in my sleep. I’d watch the news, weep at the killing and the dying, eat my dinner, go to bed and hope I wouldn’t wake up.

    That went on for about about 5 months, I think. Truth is, I don’t know for sure because I’ve tried to forget about it.

    I will say this… once I started to pull myself out (without meds… I refused to go to the doctor about it) I never looked back… but it’s not easy.

    I still get that voice talking to me… telling me I’m no good. I get it a lot. Sometimes I listen… but I’m lucky now… because when I do, there’s usuallly ten times as many voices – real voices, in the real world – telling me that those negative words and beliefs simply aren’t true.

    So… if you ever find yourself listening to those negative words and voices again… don’t be afraid to reach out to me and I’ll give you some real words to help you come back to reality – thelastsongiheard “at” gmail.com

    You’re a gifted, talented young woman and the world is a brighter place because of you and your blog. I mean it.

    Look after yourself 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your kind response. I definitely understand what led to my panic attacks and I’ve taken immediate preventative measures, including some diet changes (I discovered some interesting things regarding serotonin levels and people prone to panic attacks) that have helped a great deal. I too have positive people in my life that have been encouraging and supportive, and I appreciate your support also.

      I felt that if I gave a voice to those fears and the day that happened and that I found this beautiful woman who was willing to help a stranger, I could share that there are still good people are there, and that those moments of depression or panic pass. Which was the lesson I took away from the experience.

      I’m just very thankful for all the good things in my life and that I have far more good days than bad days. 🙂

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