New Years '08

An hour to the new year, and I’m in the train sta­tion.

Trying not to throw up. Trying not to think about meet­ing new peo­ple. Trying not to think of hav­ing to see peo­ple I hate.

One of the sta­tion doors is propped open, but there isn’t a sin­gle per­son inside. The sta­tion, nor­mal­ly bustling, is emp­ty, with just the buzz of the lights to fill the emp­ty space. Not even a wait­ing taxi out­side. Everything ster­ile as a hos­pi­tal. I want­ed to take a pic­ture, but I could bare­ly move, so I pulled out my note­book and man­aged to scrib­ble two words:

It's quiet

Another debil­i­tat­ing pan­ic attack.

Pat and Jen’s par­ty was post­poned, so I had already decid­ed to stay home. It was ten when Aaron called me to go over1.

Halfway through the bus ride, I was filled with a sud­den rush of anx­i­ety. Maybe it was the peo­ple on the bus, or the fact that I was­n’t men­tal­ly pre­pared to be at a par­ty. I could­n’t breathe, yet I was hyper­ven­ti­lat­ing.

I had to get off at the next stop, which turned out to be the train sta­tion. As I sat inside, the anx­i­ety would pass in a cou­ple min­utes, then come back in a wave as strong as before. I called Aaron and told him I was going to head home, but he insist­ed, so he sent Rob and Doug to pick me up.

I arrived drained and exhaust­ed. It was a hell­ish night.

I can only hope the rest of the year goes bet­ter than this.

  1. The only way I found out about the New Year’s par­ty was from Rob’s com­ment. Aaron nev­er told me about it him­self, so I was­n’t going to pre­sume that I was invit­ed, because I nev­er take my friend­ships for grant­ed. []


  1. harsh!
    I’ve had some anx­i­ety attacks in the past (when I was feel­ing com­plete­ly over­whelmed) but noth­ing to the point of fight­ing nau­sea.
    Interesting how the mind/body ‘plays’ tricks on you…cause in ‘real­i­ty’ there was noth­ing around to threat­en your life, but yet your body reacts like it’s life or death.

    read any Tolle yet?
    i’ve read every­thing I could get my hands on by Eckhart Tolle, then moved on to Deepak Chopra. His books, “Synchrodestiny” and “How to know god” and “pow­er free­dom and grace” are also on my ALL TIME best books list.…along with Tolle, and Hawkins.

    these books have real­ly helped me, this past year.…
    you should go to your library and check them out!

    no snow here, but we did have a love­ly snow­fall on christ­mas DAY!!!!!

    hap­py new year!!

  2. Interesting. I always think to myself, I’m just fine, I’ve dealt with such things, I’m just fine. Then it comes out on my skin instead of a hyper­ven­til­la­tion attack like yours.… wierd bumps, spots, incred­i­ble itch­ing, you name it…

    Yours being more acute presents more dif­fi­cult chal­lenges imme­di­ate­ly. Mine just turns me ugly and then I end up hav­ing to explain to some pedi­cure per­son that they have no cause to freak out them­selves.…

    I don’t like all this alone­ness for you. It does­n’t serve you well.

    I’m curi­ous to know what you find actu­al­ly helps you when these things hit — I want to know what has the best result, if I need to com­fort some­one. Do I leave them alone? Stay with them? Offer any­thing dis­tract­ing? Back off? What helps?.

  3. @amy — I’m cur­rent­ly going through an assort­ment of Taoist lit­er­a­ture, but Tolle is still on the hori­zon. I thought that Taoism helped cure me of my pan­ic attacks, but I sup­pose it was just a while since my last one (or maybe it’s helped, instead of cured me). And I’ve heard much about Chopra, so he’s on the list as well.

    Snowfall on Christmas day makes it all worth it.

    @xibee — I wish I could ratio­nal­ize the sit­u­a­tion dur­ing a pan­ic attack, but noth­ing makes sense, even log­ic.

    During this most recent attack, I real­ized that I need a friend avail­able to me all the time, yet not mak­ing a big deal about it, car­ing but not wor­ried. Certainly a del­i­cate bal­ance, like walk­ing a tightrope, and too much either way can set you off. And I’m cer­tain­ly not in the mood for any kind of jok­ing.

  4. Tolle seems to offer quite prac­ti­cal (not mere the­o­ries) ways to cope with anx­i­ety.

    Backing off may cause the feel­ing of lack of care. Staying with the sub­ject may make him become depen­dent. I would go for dis­trac­tion. Whenever I feel phys­i­cal dis­com­fort I would do some­thing I enjoy doing, that’s dis­trac­tion. Doesn’t Tolle talk about con­cen­trat­ing on “now” when one is anx­ious about future unknowns?

  5. Distraction def­i­nite­ly helps. For me, it’s play­ing a game. No mat­ter what kind of pain I’m in, play­ing a game can com­plete­ly remove me from the sit­u­a­tion, and it’s the only thing that works.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know any­thing about Tolle, so I can’t answer your ques­tions, but per­haps Amy can.

  6. Tolle, is all about NOW.…
    so if you’re in a ‘state’ , he’d prob­a­bly say some­thing like: go to your body, be aware , be the silent observ­er of your­self as you watch your ego ‘act out’ or ‘react’ ‚just stay with it…don’t try to escape, or distract..but be aware…for instance..or in this aware of how such anx­i­ety man­i­fests in your you sweat, tremble…WATCH as your mind races, heart races..FEEL it, but don’t iden­ti­fy with it..that’s not YOU (he’d say it was your ‘painbody’)…how does the anx­i­ety show it’s self…that’s stay­ing in the NOW..but be care­ful not to draw judge­ments or is what it is…but stay­ing present and aware is they key.

    some­thing along those lines. I’ve read alot of Tolle, but I’m not claim­ing to be an expert..I too, often remind myself to just watch my ego (painbody) react, act out, and remind myself NOT to judge myself, just embrace this moment…because that is all there IS..right now..

    Chopra would prob­a­bly say some­thing sim­i­lar about stay­ing aware of how every­thing man­i­fests in your body. the body is the con­duit between this 3 dimen­sion time/space world of form and the realm of non­lo­cal UBER intell­gien­ce that is spir­it.

    I’ve also begun read some on Tao…the tao mas­ter Mantak Chia. My own ‘guru’ told me of him and how he’s reveal­ing tao ‘secrets’ giv­ing insight into ancient knowledge.….MOST fas­ci­nat­ing stuff!!

  7. That’s inter­est­ing, because I feel like Taoism teach­es the com­plete oppo­site of being aware of your state. We’re sup­posed to for­get every­thing and not ana­lyze, because it’s point­less to do so.

    I don’t trust Mantak Chia myself. I’ve glimpsed at some of his works, and he seems very com­mer­cial. Also, I’m not sure if I believe in Tao “secrets”.

  8. The first time I read the Tao it was like a flower of bliss open­ing with­in me. This read­ing came on the heel of a cou­ple oth­er books which led me to it. Regardless of the trans­la­tion, there is infi­nite wis­dom in the Tao.

    Having said that, it is no answer. It shows you a Path. YOU are the answer. You are the path. I don’t fol­low your blog reg­u­lar­ly, but when I’m here I always enjoy what I find. I don’t know where you are on your jour­ney toward free­dom from the anx­i­ety you expe­ri­ence. If you haven’t yet, I strong­ly rec­om­mend look­ing into med­i­ta­tion and mind­ful­ness — even if your spir­i­tu­al lean­ings don’t tend toward Buddhism. A great “starter” book is Thich Nhat Hanh’s “The Miracle of Mindfulness.”

    Skip Tolle and Chopra for now. Return to them if you like. Read Thich Nhat Hanh’s book.


  9. You’re absolute­ly right Michael. I’ve been look­ing for an answer in phi­los­o­phy or reli­gion, but with Taoism the answer has always been myself. Funny that I nev­er real­ized it until you explained it.

    Thanks for your rec­om­men­da­tion, I’ll be sure to check out “The Miracle of Mindfulness”.

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