I had a panic attack today. It has been over a year since I’ve had one. It was brought on by what is known as a “trigger” in the grief community. The things you learn on this journey…
Will and I were watching a TV show, and one of the main characters was very brutally murdered. I teared up at that. The next thing I know, her husband is shown coming home, about to find her dead body. Instantly, I wasn’t on the couch sitting next to Will anymore. I was coming home, about to find Brandon dead. That night and all of the emotions I had slammed into me in seconds. My heart begun beating so hard inside my chest, I physically felt it thudding in my chest. Its beating thundered in my ears, tears started streaming down my face, and suddenly I couldn’t breathe…I started to see my vision go black at the edges.
As I watched the character’s husband come in, call out to her, it was me coming home, looking for Brandon. Neither one of us knew that our life and everything we knew was about to be destroyed, that these were the very last normal moments we had. When he saw her lifeless body on the flood covered in blood, I was seeing Brandon. I couldn’t stop shaking and crying, trying to catch my breath. Will just held me, saying how sorry he was. I think he was even tearing up, though I’m not sure if it was for me or because of the show.
Eventually I got my breathing under control. And just as quickly as the attack came, it went away.
I never knew that a TV show could trigger something so terrible in me. I bet the writers were just trying to write a good, emotional scene, and they weren’t thinking about what this would do to someone who has actually been in that very similar situation. How could they? Normal people don’t think about death. That always happens to others, not them (right?).
Anyway. I don’t have a whole lot to say. I just hate having these panic attacks. They’re exhausting. I hate remembering that night, I hate seeing his dead body in my mind. I try so hard to get away from that nightmare, but it’s a dark beast that is always stalking in the shadows; eventually, when you least expect it, it jumps out and growls its hideous sound, reminding you that it is always near.