Today was a bad day. You know earlier, I mentioned that the ‘numb’ was slowly wearing off? Yeah. I don’t like that. It really really sucks. Getting up this morning was harder than usual, because I had dreams again. I miss not having dreams the first few weeks. It was blissful and quiet. Now I have dreams every night; almost all of them are of Brandon, or of me being with someone else and not even remembering him. I don’t remember what last night’s dream was about anymore, but it affected me mentally and physically. It was just a discomfort and pain that lingered long after I woke up…a drowsy, deeply sad feeling I couldn’t shake.
Work started off normal enough (as normal as “normal” is these days, anyway). The routine was a comfort. Eventually, I saw that something needed to be sent out by UPS. Brandon had worked for UPS for over 7 years, was a part time driver, wore UPS shirts all the time, brought home UPS paraphernalia…point is, to me, UPS = Brandon…Brandon = UPS. Every time I pass a UPS truck on the road I break down. So, I noticed that my heart started beating more rapidly as I was getting the information and packing together. As I walked over to write down the phone number to call for a pick-up, it got hard to breathe, and I had to breathe through the mouth. As I looked at the phone, I started to tremble. I have called UPS for a pick up dozens of times, of course, all of them before finding my best friend dead. I realized that I would have a difficult time with the call this time around, so I put it aside and started to work on other things. Yet the rapid heartbeat didn’t go away. I still had to breathe deeply. But it helped to do something else. After a while, I knew I couldn’t put it off much longer. As I approached the package again, I felt a tightness and pain in my chest. I had to fight back tears. I had to work extra hard to breathe. I felt dizzy. My vision blurred.
I knew then I couldn’t make that phone call, just couldn’t, so I gave the phone number and package to a coworker and asked her to please call them for a pick up. Immediately I felt like the walls closed in around me, I couldn’t breathe, I was shaky, my chest hurt, my vision blurred, my heart was beating like an imprisoned bird. I ran to the corner, I remember I had to put my hand over my heart because it just wouldn’t stop thundering and hurting; I had to try to hold it in, keep it from exploding. I remember I sagged against the table, started to take deep breaths, hyperventilate, maybe. My supervisor, who was in the vicinity, immediately came to my side, put her arms around me, held me. I started to cry and gasp for breath. I sobbed. I felt like I was dying. My heart hurt…it was such a sharp, piercing pain. There was a roar in my ears. I couldn’t catch a breath.
As it turns out, friends, that was my first ever panic attack. My supervisor has had them herself, so she recognized the symptoms. She took me to a nearby office that was empty, made me sit down, instructed me to put my head down towards my knees, breathe. In. Out. In. Out. After a while of that, my breathing evened out a bit, I was still shaking and my heart thundering, but the breathing part got a little easier. She told me to sit there a while, get myself together. I’m not sure how long I stayed in that dark, empty office. I remember once my chest stopped feeling like it was going to explode I just sat there and cried. I remember I kept repeating out loud, “Brandon is dead. Brandon is dead. Oh God, Brandon is dead…” over and over again. I just sat there, cried and cried and cried. Repeated those words over and over.
Eventually, I went back to work. The routine helped. The rest of the day passed in a blur of routine. When I walked up to the car, Brandon’s car, after work, the tears and chest pain came back. As I sat down behind the wheel, the hyperventilation came back. I sat there for a long time, crying, shaking, strange sounds coming out of myself, not being able to breathe, hugging the wheel Brandon’s hands touched so often…feeling like I was dying again. It would appear that Mr. Panic Attack decided to stop by for another visit.
I have never had a panic attack before. I’ve read about them during school. I never experienced one. Yet I was graced with two of them today. I hope I don’t keep having them; I don’t know how many I can survive. They are terrible. This is terrible: sitting here, alone, drinking wine (more than I usually would…knowing I will be getting more when the glass is empty), barely listening to the TV, sharing my thoughts with a computer instead of Brandon.
Also, panic attacks suck.