Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's not a Panic Disorder... It's a Furnace Disorder...

I'm prone to panic attacks, which is no secret. In the past, I would have panic attacks that would last for months, leaving me ravaged, thin, without sleep, and a worry to all around me. (I really miss the thin part, but that's another issue altogether.)

I know that I'm getting better because now my fits of hysteria are few and far between, and typically last an hour. Two hours, on a bad day.

This evening the events of the past month (Which I've no idea how to blog about. I'm thinking on it) and the fact that I've had to cycle around the neighborhood begging rides off people (More on that to follow) began to weigh on my mind and I flew into full blown panic mode. Sweating, freaking out, feeling nauseous and wanting nothing more than to smash my head off a door frame or throw myself out a window.

I used my typical panic attack strategies (Put a name to your emotions! Define why you are feeling what you are feeling! Label it! Label it! Explain it! Focus on the positives! Tell someone how you're feeling! Rah Rah Rah to yourself that you CAN make it through this!) (Sometimes living through a panic attack, as a panick attack veteran, is a bit like having an overzealous cheerleader in your head. She's annoying and you want to punch her blonde, anorexic, full chested self in the face, but after a few moments you realize she may have a point.)

An hour later I was feeling a little better and reading some Marian Keyes, undoubtedly irritating my mother as I read aloud to her the parts that made me giggle.

After I was feeling a little better I realized I was sweating again and thought, Oh, Dear, here it comes again. But the feelings didn't return, just the sweating.

And here is the problem with our house: The staircase is like a wind tunnel, with icy cold air whipping down the stairs and freezing the backs of our necks. After an inordinate amount of time, the furnace catches on to the fact that we're now cold, wrapped in blankets, and contemplating lighting candles to provide extra warmth. Only then will the furnace turn on.

At this point in the evening, the furnace blasts us with an amount of heated air the likes of which the desert envies. It becomes tropical in our house until my mother goes over and adjusts the temperature.

Usually on the way to adjust the furnace (Which happens about five or six times per evening) my mother trips over a dog, a small child, a sword, her laptop cord, my father, or the blankets that have been thrown aside as the heat assails us. Swearing ensues because she is feeling agitated by the heat. She will then re-seat herself and wait for a more livable temperature.

Now that the furnace has been shut off, the wind-tunnel that is our stairs kicks in and we slowly begin putting on our sweaters, wrapping up in blankets, and waiting for the process to repeat itself.

Moral of the story: Not everything in life is a panic attack, but sometimes it takes a minute to realize that this is the case.