Browsing Tag

panic attacks

Personal Development

He Didn’t Trust Me Because I Wasn’t Trustworthy (and Other Tales of Self-Blame)



Once – and only once – upon a time, a man left me. He left me after I swallowed the second of two pills that effectively ended the possibility of us being united for a lifetime with a child. He left me on my knees, crying and begging for him to give me one more chance, to forgive me for some imagined hurt, to hold onto me. I needed him to stay so badly that I didn’t care how foolish I was acting or even how foolish it was what I was asking of him. I mean it when I say I begged: I was on my knees on cold hard tile floor, with my hands in prayer to him, tears streaming down my face and snot pouring from my nose.


As shameful as it is to share this story for the first time and so publicly, my closest friends (and many friends along the way) would not be the least bit surprised if I had told them. I obsessed over L since the moment I met him in college and after a calamitous affair that ended in him being forced to cut all ties with me, I never really let go. I wrote hundreds of thousands of words of prose about him; I fell apart on every floor of every library trying to make sense of my feelings for him; and, after being reunited six years later, I dropped my entire life in D.C. to move back to a place I swore I would never return (my hometown) to be with him. As I wrote long ago, I felt like I would run out in the middle of traffic to save him from harm. I had never experienced that intensity and desperation of feelings for anyone before, and I believed for years and years that I would never be able to feel that way again.


Almost immediately after we reunited and entered into a real relationship with one another, he began to alternate between making me feel like the most beautiful human being to ever exist…and the worst human being to have ever been born. When things were good, I had never been happier with anyone. He showered me with attention and affection like crazy; he reminisced on our years apart and his mutual obsession for me; he memorized my work schedule and would call …


Community Support, Panic Attacks, and A Visit to the Mercury Cafe for Drunken “History of the West”



First, it’s Friday night and I’ve spent the day fighting a panic attack. I left work early, laid down on the floor of my bedroom and cried. In a private local women’s group on Facebook, I posted to express my current anxiety and my unease with how to deal. I’m 35. I can’t bang my head into a wall so hard I see stars; though it would certainly shake me out of the madness, it wouldn’t help halt my mounting list of concussions. What can I do during a panic attack that doesn’t require harming myself? As I submitted the post for approval, I heard back from Embur with her address to come see her.


I met Embur back when I first moved here when I had attended an event thrown by the local circus community. If friendship-at-first-sight is a thing, I felt it for her. We’ve crossed paths in smaller settings since that time and shared brief moments of acceptance and admiration for each other. Somehow, I knew I could turn to her. As I made my way toward her place in a few layers including my winter coat and fleece-lined leggings, I was greeted by her on the steps outside her apartment building wearing a hoodie, short shorts, knee-high leg warmers and the barest feet. She took me in and asked me to tell her what was going on with me; she looked me in the eyes and remarked on how beautiful she thought I was; and she talked to me about me moving into a downstairs apartment like I was her best friend and she wanted me near.


She shared what was going on in her life, too. She cried and I laid down against her leg and held her just so slightly that she would know she was safe to keep talking. We didn’t speak too much about our community or about our shared passions with circus even though that’s how we came together. Our sharing of interests in shared space, our sense of community toward one another, developed a foundation for friendship. It made us not strangers in a world of strangers.



Then, it’s Saturday night at the Mercury Café – inside the entrance, I’m greeted with choices: ahead of me is a staircase and on the door to my left is a sign about “the show outside and …