brick-brain, frayed-nerves, drenched shirts

I hate it when Anxiety freezes up my mind.  It’s like my brain goes from being a functioning (happy) organ to a brick of cement … frozen, immobilized, in hyper-defense mode, preparing for the world to attack me.

Sometimes the transition from normal-brain to brick-brain is instantaneous.  Sometimes it’s more gradual, which is actually pretty scary.  Imagine slowly feeling your brain harden from front to back and down to the base of the spine.  At the beginning I know what’s happening and doom fills me for what’s coming.

Then my throat clenches up.  It’s physically hard to talk.  It feels like I am crying, but the tears are pouring fire out of the backs of my eyes.

Then all the nerves from my shoulders up feel like they are frayed at the end.

It is a truly weird, terrifying, and sad place to be.

Writing about it helps me through such an experience.  Typing the words of my feelings seems to somewhat detach part of myself — my body and mind — to what’s happening in the rest of my body.  And then, as if that part of my body and mind is on a raft, I envision it floating away from me.

As I am typing, this is exactly what I am experiencing.

Ah, the strange therapy I create for myself.

Forgive me for sharing.  That also helps.  But sometimes I fear I am oversharing.  Oh well, I think, the discomfort I create for you can be nothing compared to the physical and emotional yuck I am experiencing.

Hey.  You chose to read this.

I want that panic raft to continue floating away, so I am going to keep writing.

Let’s see, how about I share what differing levels of Anxiety are like.

Let’s imagine a 1 – 10 point scale.  “1” is “super”; “10” is “I want to die this panic is so bad.”  Let’s say “6” is “I’m pretty stressed out and I am beginning to feel my judgement and actions are just starting to get impaired because of it.”

Right now … or I should say, 15 minutes ago … I was experiencing a “7.”  I’ll label that as “Michael, supplement your regular meds with a bit of an extra chill pill.  If you don’t do something, your day is going to be ruined.”  This happens at least once a week for me, sometimes twice — I try to be on the lookout for these experiences so they can happen, get managed through, get over with, and I can go on with my day.  It’s usually accompanied by some real stress.  But today that’s not the case.  There really feels like no real reason I should be feeling this way.

Last week, in “through the panic” I posted what an “8” feels like to me.  An “8” is “Michael, get away from anyone and everyone.  You are going to make a fool of yourself and you are no help to anyone or anything.  Get away.  Quickly.”  As I shared last week, “8s” don’t happen regularly, but they are not rare either.

Thankfully, “9s” have rarely happened in the company of anyone other than my wife, Rebecca.  They usually happen in the morning just as I am getting ready to leave for work.  In addition to physical / emotional experience shared above, I often get drenched in sweat.  I mean that.  Rebecca’s seen this happen.  I go from slightly agitated to completely freaked out.  My shirt clings to my upper body because of how wet it is.  The upper part of the back of pants and the full waistband become damp.  I must change shirts.  It’s a judgement call on the pants.  Brick-brain and frayed-nerves accompanied by clothing that clings to my body feels disgusting and terrifying.  I hate myself.

“10s” have not happened for a very long time.  I don’t want to write about those, because there’s no reason for me to visit that place until it happens.  Let’s hope never again.