And Just Like That It Happens

Spring Balcony

I’m relaxing at home. Sleep in. Move the recent yard-sale find (matching table and chairs) into the kitchen and the much-used folding chairs out of the way. Feeling drained, I toast a bagel for a late brunch, garnish my cream-cheese schmeer with redbud blossoms. The cats are playing on the balcony, so I join them until the fine mist falling around us becomes rain. Warming up inside, I congratulate myself on recovering so well from yesterday’s series of unfortunate events. I begin reading posts in a Facebook group to which I belong.

Of course, I knew about the Planned Parenthood vote schedule for this day. No, I am not surprised at the result. Of course, I post my opinion in a group of mostly like-minded people from around the globe. But then . . . someone has the gall to disagree. And not just disagree (Even my casual acquaintances know I’m cool with differences of opinion.) but to quote false news and make up their own facts. Of course, I take the bait, but unlike the professional, kind person I can be in most circumstances, I resort to unnecessarily saying that I really think (i.e., if you can’t be bothered to read the facts from original sources, keep your ignorant opinions to yourselves). Certainly not the kindest or most professional manner of communication. I don’t know the dissenters in person, but to my credit I’m not burning bridges–yet. Then suddenly, I want to burn bridges. I take a deep breath and walk away.

I’m hungry. Indian food leftovers lie waiting in the fridge. I warm them up, mix an orange blossom soda for myself, sit down to a gastronomically pleasing supper. After a few delicious bites, my hand begins to twitch. Then both hands. I’m shivering, shaking. “Take a clonapine, E. Just breath and go to the medicine cabinet and take one.” Still shaking, I do this.

What on earth happened there? Indian food is the most calming of all vegetarian culinary delights. What . . . ? I remember why I walked into the kitchen in the first place–the Planned Parenthood debate, my frustration over people who absolutely will not believe the facts. People on any side of any issue who insist on believing the worst about everything–whether or not the facts back up those beliefs.

Sure, this is annoying to me, but who on earth has a panic attack over it? Someone living with complex PTSD. The good news–this time I didn’t pass out or fully dissociate. This time I was aware of my mental and physical response to the situation. This time I recognized the trigger. My rational brain even acknowledged the lack of immediate danger. And so I journey onward, hoping to someday rewire my brain to avoid this type of panic altogether. It can happen. It just takes so very many baby steps.

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