I am doing okay. Kind of. I guess.
I’m pretty sick of all of this. The anxiety. Talking about it. Thinking about it. Worrying. Worrying worrying worrying about it. But I think that in the spirit of openness and honesty and this cool thing where maybe one day I can look back on this entry and go “hmmm” or “blah” or “Eureka,” I should write about it a little.
Just a note, I blogged about my first panic attack, and you can read about it here if you like. You know. For kicks.
I mean, I guess there isn’t much to say. Just that I was sitting in a Masterclass not feeling particularly stellar and then in mere moments I was outside the UW Humanities building hyperventilating in ways I never thought possible. It was worse than the first time. But eventually my breathing evened out enough that I was able to make my way to our temporary apartment, equip myself with water and some things to eat, and then I went to the most seclusive and people-free place I could think of which happens to be on top of that Alumni Building where I’ve recently been leeching internet. I talked on the phone with Erica and Tim and Michelle, bless their souls, to try and concentrate on short-term occurrences and objects in front of my face instead of various unpleasant thoughts such as “what if I need to leave?” “what am I going to tell my parents, who are paying for all this shit, if I leave?” “what will other people think if I just take off?” etc., that were causing me to push further into a frightful and panicky state.
Eventually I calmed down enough that I was able to breathe relatively normally and cease the random sobbing, at which point I went for a walk with Mark who, bless his soul as well, talked to me and kept me from doing anything ridiculous like motoring out of Madison as fast as my feet and my very dusty car (SO dusty) would take me.
So why did this happen, particularly now? I don’t know. I could list off maybe 50 things I suspect might have been contributors in some small way or other, but it’s possible most of those had nothing to do with anything. All I know for certain are these three things: I am having problems coping with being around so many people so much of the time. I feel guilt and pressure relating to my future with the cello and classical music. I don’t feel truly comfortable with my surroundings. And those things plus the possible slew of 47 others caused a slow burn of anxiety that built up to the point where my brain and body could no longer cope.
The thing that actually struck me the most about the aftermath of this panic attack was just how uncomfortable and threatened I felt by my surroundings. When it happened at Orchestra Hall, we left Orchestra Hall that night and I wasn’t left to dwell in that place or feel threatened by it. But that couldn’t be the case here in Madison, so two days ago it was truly all I could do not to simply leave. I later came to realize that there isn’t really a place I can go around here where I can feel really comfortable, unless you count out in an open field maybe 2.5 miles walk from here. The place we’re staying is honestly not the most comfortable, though it’s well worth the money we’re paying for it and the convenience it provides for us. And the Humanities building where the entire workshop is taking place? Was built to withstand an Atomic Blast. And I don’t know, I just get feelings about buildings, and this one happens to give me less than happy ones.
Also frustrating is how long it has taken for my body to be less on edge. The following day I felt a little like a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off, and perhaps didn’t put myself in the right situation for regaining my composure. Just a note, it’s never small groups of people that make me freaked out, as I can handle one or two other people at a time and usually feel dandy. It’s always the large groups that do me in, which was kind of the situation I found myself in later that following day. Apparently too many people, especially those I don’t know or feel comfortable around, cause me some serious CRAAAAZY. But apparently it can be somewhat remedied with a good solitary walk, some R.E.M., Abraham Lincoln and some quiet sitting-time by the lake. Hooray for that, I suppose, but I still worry. It makes sense that I worry. Having had one panic attack while playing the cello, for a while I associated panic attacks with performing and became so worried about having one while playing the cello that I probably almost gave myself one just from thinking about it whilst on-stage. I’m doing a little of the same with social settings here, which is, you know, frustrating.
I guess I just need to pay attention to how I’m feeling and do something about how I’m feeling instead of wait it out. Which might require me to become a hermit. Or maybe it won’t! I seem to be doing pretty alright so far. Er. Kind of. Bottom line: do not wait it out. Just go be alone if it’s what you need, self.
So there you go. It sucked. I feel tired just thinking about it. I know I should be thinking about what’s best for me and what’s going to put me in a better place and how I can do those things for myself, but on the other hand I feel needy and annoying and burdensome to the people around me, even if I’m not talking about the way I feel at every free moment. There are moments where I wonder why I can’t just let go of any care that’s ever entered my mind, but I’m pretty sure that’s now how it works.
And here is where I shut my pie-hole about the entire matter.