I've had an emotional day. It started out with me feeling a little off this morning, a little fuzzy and unable to concentrate. As a sensitive, such changes in my world tend to make me anxious and can even push me in the direction of worst-case scenario (here: the beginning of cognitive decline like my mother had). But I breathed my way through the anxiety, noted it in my journal, and went to breakfast with my good friend Isabelle.
We've been meeting for several years on Thursday mornings for pancakes at Sanborn's. I debated with myself about the pancakes--was this intentional sugar? Are pancakes the same white flour hit as a big biscuit (probably)? Honey or jam (definitely not syrup)? I decided to go for it and enjoyed it a lot.
After breakfast we sat talking about various things and then something she said about a student's difficult experience, completely unrelated to anything I'd been experiencing, sent me into a full-blown panic attack. Before I knew it, I had laid my head down on the table and fainted. Second time in my life. Curiously I went into a dream space with colors and people and conversations. I was surprised to come to in the restaurant.
Then I got really sick and really scared. I felt out of control, I felt so much old anxiety and fear and grief well up in me. Isabelle, who is a nurse practitioner, was great; she didn't freak out, just went into professional mode, and helped me. Eventually we were able to get me home and I took a shower (I'll spare you the details why) and went to bed and slept four hours. Now I'm tired and headachy. Been drinking water to rehydrate. Being really gentle with myself.
According to my good friend Barbara Joy, such reactions are common in people who are processing old grief and anger. The emotions are stuck in the body and looking for a bodily way out. That was reassuring and I stopped feeling so crazy.
After I woke up, I was very emotional, weepy, unhappy, and I really wanted something to take the edge off: like a valium or a stiff drink or a half-gallon of ice cream. I needed soothing big time and I was glad there was nothing here to use, and bit by bit, I rode it out and tonight I'm feeling more normal. I think a whole other level of sobriety is opening up. And today it sucked.