Manic Panic and McNuggets

Manic Panic and McNuggets

It caught me off guard.

They always catch me off guard, despite 6 years of experience.

I thought, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

It doesn’t make a panic attack any less frustrating. less annoying. less inconvenient.

I googled “What to do when you have a panic attack at work” (because, yes, after 6 six years of this shit I still don’t always know what to do). It’s hard to tell yourself “breathe, take a walk, relax” when your¬†thoughts are going so fast you can’t comprehend what’s wrong. I texted James. I ignored the tightening in my stomach. The lump in my throat. The quickening of my breath. I started at my computer screen and willed my brain to keep working, keep plodding. It’ll go away.

Spoiler alert: They never go away. It’s like ignoring a scratch.

Then the crying. Is there anything worse than crying at work? (Okay, yes, TONS of things, but it still blows.) I stay silent and face away, hoping no one hears me or sees me and comes by my cubical. (Cubicles are not ideal for panic-attack crying jags)

I try a quick journal, but it backfires (negative self-talk permeates my panic attacks).

I email my¬†manager and I say I’m not feeling well. I did not say “I’m having an anxiety-induced panic attack about what a failure of a human being I am.” Somehow, I don’t think it would come off as well.

30 minutes later, I’m sitting in a grocery store parking lot as I furiously eat 20 McNuggets and listen to my audiobook. My favorite coping mechanism. (Notice I did not say my healthiest coping mechanism). I drown out the rapid-fire thoughts in my head, reminding myself it’ll be over soon.

I get home. It’s over. I pet Guinness. I fire up my laptop, put on the Princess Diaries, and begin working.

James comes home, bubble tea in hand. He hugs me and says he’s sorry.

I breathe. Another day.

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