At the end of my suffering
there was a door.

–Louise Gluck, “The Wild Iris”

There’s this overwhelming sense of dread right now, like a pile of boulders on my chest.  My heart is thudding too fast and too hard, and I can’t breathe.  I feel like everything is about to come crashing down around me, like I’m about to lose everything.

There’s no logical reason to feel like this.  Not now.  I finally found a roommate, so I don’t have to worry about becoming homeless any time in the near future.  I have food.  I don’t have enough money to pay my bills, but that’s nothing new.  It’s not Hormonal Hell Week, so that’s not the problem.  My UC isn’t flaring.  I’m not experiencing any PTSD triggers.  Nothing out of the ordinary has happened.  Hell, I’ve even had a week off from the campaign because they’re getting the coordinated campaign together, so I’m not overworked or stressed by that.

So what the hell is wrong with me?  I’m living on the edge of panic, and there’s no reason, no trigger.  It feels unbearable, to the point that I keep thinking about suicide just to make it stop.  The suicidality at least made sense when I was facing homelessness again.  There was a reason.  But this…this just makes no sense.

I don’t cope well when feelings don’t make sense to me.  If I understand why I feel a certain thing, then I can cope with it.  I need things to make sense or nothing feels safe.  Probably that’s a PTSD thing: I couldn’t make sense of my parents’ abuse most of the time, so I never knew when to expect to be hurt.  Especially with my father.  With my mother, I learned to recognize the cycle: mounting tension, explosion, disappearance, apology, rinse and repeat.  But with my father, I never learned to predict it.  Maybe it’s because I dissociated so much of what he did that I could never connect a pattern, or maybe true psychopaths are impossible to predict because they don’t have the emotional tells that normal people have.  It probably doesn’t matter why because the result is the same: when I feel something and can’t understand why, it scares the hell out of me.

So I obsess over it.  I’ve spent most of the night trying to figure out why I feel such intense dread.  Then my inability to understand it just makes me feel it even more intensely.  It feels like there’s no relief and it will never go away.  I took a bunch of Benadryl to put myself to sleep, but it’s not working.  My body wants to sleep, but part of me is fighting it and winning.  I don’t understand that, either, except in the general sense of not feeling safe.

I could bear it if I just understood why.



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6 responses to “Dread

  1. betweenseconds

    Maybe this is all the disconnected emotions from the past two months? Since things are somewhat settled in your physical environment it is now okay to experience those feelings now.

  2. cantoutsmartcrazy

    I hear ya. I had a panic attack the other night and all I could chock it up to was I didn’t feel safe or grounded. Like I was floating in nothingness. But it wasn’t nothingness, I was just so overwhelmed by LIFE. And scared of nothing. One of my favorite movie moments is from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where Holly Golightly talks about having the “mean reds.” They’re opposite of the blues—you aren’t sad, you’re just scared, and you don’t know what you’re scared of. What I do know is this won’t last forever. Keep writing and you’ll get through this.

  3. I have similar conversations with myself in times of anxiety….like, the last few months, on and off. I go through checklists in my head over things that might be worrisome. My kids? Check. Good job. Check…etc, etc. But it never makes sense. I try to just accept it (yeah, I know…) and recognize that this too, shall pass. For better or worse, nothing ever stays the same. You will not always feel like this, whether you figure out the root cause or not.

  4. I feel like this all the time… why am I feeling this way and then that just makes me more anxious and frustrated and angry. When I know why, even if it isn’t right or fair it’s easier to deal with. Me like you am a very rational person.

  5. I hadn’t had a panic attack in months- the longest amount of time in like, ever, till night before last. Changing of seasons- especially into fall and spring REALLY trigger “unexplainable” anxiety in me. My therapist told me this happens often, and I think the little bit of Chinese Medicine that I studied in massage school supported this idea as well. Especially if you aren’t able to get a lot of sunlight. With my IBD it’s hard to leave the house and I know I don’t get enough.
    I don’t know if that’s the reason in your case, but it’s a possible idea. And I totally relate to the sleeping thing. I can be so exhausted I can’t keep my eyes open, take an ambien, benadryl, klonapin, and a muscle relaxer (umm… I realize that sounds bad. I don’t do it regularly!) and STILL not sleep because my brain just says “Nu uh.” It’s an awful feeling and I’m sorry you are dealing with that on top of anxiety. Wish I could help. 😦

  6. Sending you a hug and hoping the dread lessens for you really soon xx

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