I find myself coming to a screeching halt as my first day back to work looms nearer. I thought I would use this time to ease my body back into use (I have been doing more stretching and yoga, but only one workout this week, so far), but instead, I find myself sinking into the couch, wrapping my hands around yarn and wooden needles, and finding even more reasons to love Downton Abbey, the 7th time through. As the world comes together in solidarity for the injustice facing so many Americans, I am shoring up my energetic resources.
See, I had my first near fainting panic attack since high school/college. I self talked and played games on my cell phone while waiting to cash out at the grocery store. I had fewer groceries than I had planned on getting. I knew better than to go to the store without a solid plan. At least right now. When I have to wear a mask. When everyone else’s emotions are so raw and tangible. I went on auto-pilot unloading my cart and paying. As I tried to calmly push my cart out of the store, I began to hyperventilate. I managed to hold the tears back as I loaded up my car and then sat in my air conditioned car and let myself panic. Just a little.
See, I can’t tell myself it’s all ok. I can’t tell myself to calm down. It makes me panic more. If nothing is wrong, then why can’t I breathe? I turned my stereo on. Music is always soothing. Driving helps too. So I drove and stopped to buy my first drive-thru coffee since this whole thing began. It was wonderful. Then the panic returned. The rest of my day was an ebb and flow of different levels of panic. My husband sat with me. He often leans on me just enough to give me that pressure comfort without making me feel trapped. We went for a walk in the woods. By the end of the day, I was so wiped. I had forgotten how exhausting these days are.
So, I’m managing some of the movement self-care. I did do some yoga before the walk, so I would be ok for the car ride (we drive to the woods). As I thought through what may have triggered me, I recognized a few things that I can do differently next time. Being better prepared with a list and a plan is always important for me. It was also interesting to notice part of what started my spiral was everyone’s good mood. After all the fear and anger that had been escalating these past couple months, and now with police response to peaceful protesters, and the looters and rioters with their own agenda, it snapped me off balance.
As I prepare to return to massage therapy I need to find my balance. I am very excited to be returning; it is part of who I am. The unknowns of returning to work may be a bit panic inducing for me, but when it comes to the actual massage, I’m better at it than I am at breathing.