Panic.

I am a little obsessed with sleep. (See: The topic of my conversations every single day.) And it’s no coincidence that my obsession coincides with a run of insomnia. I lay in bed at night thinking that if I could just sleep for a solid 6 hours, then I could function again. I put so much stock in getting a good night’s sleep that (of course) the good night’s sleep never comes.

I have these panic attacks while lying in bed. At least, that’s what I think they are. It is something akin to the ‘going down a tunnel’ feeling – where everyone and everything seem so far away. My heart races, and I lie there wondering if I can just breathe through it. (For future reference, I can’t.) When the feeling of getting far away from everything takes over, I need to anchor myself, make myself aware of the things around me by touching something very solid. Usually that means I lean against my husband or shove a pillow next to me. It acts as a cocoon and helps. A little.

Having a panic attack while in bed is not a very nice thing to go through. It’s very lonely, unless you wake someone else up, and the dark, quiet space is very hard to deal with at that point. I don’t know why I seem to have them, but I do remember having the feeling of going down a tunnel while lying in bed when I was little. I don’t remember how old, but I know I was elementary school aged at least. So I guess you could say I have a history of it.

I’m not one prone to having panic attacks. I get irritated at crowded, noisy places, but I don’t have the heart-racing, palm-sweating feeling. I just get cranky. I did have a panic attack while in the checkout line at the grocery store once. It was in the mid-90’s and I still remember the feeling. I remember what the cashier looked like, and I remember thinking that I was going to lose it if I didn’t get out of there, quickly. I don’t know what brought the episode on. I couldn’t even guess. But it’s there, looming in my mind whenever I have a nighttime episode. And those episodes happened frequently the last few nights.

Well, except for last night. Last night I slept. I was still sleeping when it came time to wake up. And my husband, who is usually the one to sleep in while I get a shower, went and got his shower first this morning while I actually went back to sleep after being woken up. That’s a rarity for me. Once I’m awake, expecially in the morning, I never fall back asleep. Never, except for this morning, that is.

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