This Is My Life
I remind myself to stop at the store as I ready to leave work – I need cat food.
At the end of that thought a pain pierces my chest, cutting like a knife through bone and muscle until it finds my back – thrusting upward into neck, jaw, ear and then my brain; abject fear floods into every cell, every atom of my being.
I think, “What is happening?”
Then I can’t think at all – I am dying.
Rational thought leaves me, distorted instinct moves my hands to spill out my purse – to spill out the aspirin bottle; I see the Xanax alongside it.
I know what a panic attack feels like. This is not one.
I bite the pill in half fearing that I could make matters worse if I take more.
As I climb into my car I tell myself, ” Stay calm.”
The pain is excruciating, unrelenting – the fear, a fire consuming me. I am burning.
Fuck it! I drive through the red light.
I pray to God, asking him for the name of the street the hospital is on – I can’t remember.
Inside the Emergency Room the technician pulls the sticky tabs from my chest.
“Your heart looks fine,” he says, then asks. “Do you have a history of anxiety?”
Still, the pain continues.
I close my eyes and ask myself, “How could this happen? I’m in a good place, now.”
Ashamed – I feel foolish, vulnerable, frail as I work to convince my body that the pain is not real.
Outside, it’s dark, quiet, the air warm; it feels good. I climb into my car, weak and broken.
I remind myself to stop at the store – I still need cat food.
Yup, this is my life. Not often, but every once in a while.
Until Thursday, WRITE ON!
~ K. L. Parry