Last night I woke about 2:45. I felt off, as if there was a huge weight on my chest. I'm a body sensitive with a dose of hypochondria so I did a body scan. No pain, no shortness of breath, no sweats. no nausea. I got up and got some cold sparkling water and took it into the living room. The four cats gathered around, two wanting petting, two just watching.
And then my old friend panic strolled into the room. He came over and sat on me and for the next 25 minutes, I had rolling waves of panic attack, adrenalin surging through my body, rising up in my throat, hot sweats and then chills, and then blessed fatigue and I was able to go back to bed and sleep soundly for a few hours.
Panic hasn't visited in several years. He was a constant companion in the months after my mother died, so constant that I sought help from a therapist who specialized in panic attacks and phobias. I did some of his exercises but I think time was the biggest healer.
Now I'm preparing to part from my sweet girl Nellie and after the first days of diagnosis and overt grief, I had gone back to life pretty much as usual. On steroids she acts close to normal and it's been easy to pretend that she's getting better. But there is no getting better from what is consuming her and yesterday I realized that her departure is imminent. And that heartbreak came over me in the night, the aloneness of life, the finality of death, and the powerlessness to stop the train she's on.