Sunday, March 19, 2006

Why the "Postcards" title: part 1

When I was 22 I had an experience that changed my life and has taken me to some of the lowest points in my life. I was delivering furniture (my job at the time) and I became lost in the country while trying to find a house. Whether it was the fact that we (two of us delivering) were behind schedule and I was hurrying or the fact that there was nothing around in the way of landmarks to guide me, but for whatever reason I had my first full-blown panic attack then. At the time I didn't know what was happening, I hadn't even heard the term "panic attack" before then. All that I knew was my heart was racing, breathing rapid, I was shaking all over, and worst of all, I felt completely out of touch with reality. It was as if my common sense had been replaced by terror which I couldn't get under control. I don't think the person I was with had any idea this was happening to me. It felt as if I needed to get out of the truck and run around screaming, but I kept that feeling inside me and didn't say anything to my co-worker.

That incident started what turned out to be a life of isolation and fear. You see, after that first panic attack I avoided driving to places that I didn't know, eventually quitting that job and taking one with no traveling required. It was during that time that I decided to seek professional help with for my panic and the almost daily anxiety I was living with. My first choice of treatment, however, turned out to be not the best direction for me to go. I walked into the local Mental Health Center and asked to speak to someone. I did get to talk to someone and told her about my problem and how I thought I was going crazy. She listened with a sympathetic smile and told me that I needed to get out more and go places to do things that were fun. That was good advice maybe, but she offered no answers as to why I was having these feelings. I set up several appointments and saw her again, however, one thing from that first session stayed with me and added to my feelings of actually being crazy. When I came outside from that first session I noticed a sheriff's car parked at the entrance. At the time I thought little of it, but a short time later I found out that it was their policy to call the sheriff anytime there was a new walk-in, in case they were violent, I guess. I only went back there a few more times and no progress was ever made. So for the next several years I lived with the anxiety growing in intensity, but the panic attacks less frequent. This was because I had so much fear about driving someplace that I just didn't go anywhere. I was restricted to driving short distances from my home. If I went any farther than I was used to - even by a hundred feet- I would feel the urgent need to get back to "safe" ground. During this time I had married and started raising a family, just like any normal person would do with one exception.... we didn't go anywhere.


Post a Comment

<< Home