Today’s daily prompt is Panic. Initially I wasn’t going to write anything about it, because I was mortally afraid to succumb to descriptions of complaints and nightmares, while thinking that I am actually writing about something profound, like life choices and important decisions. However, I like the challenge. If I really want to write, self discipline is very important, I am told, so Panic it is for my today’s post.
I find that whenever I panic about something, I try to rationalize it. I am not panicking, I am just being realistic about my prospects, right? And if I am afraid that something is going to happen as a result of my choice, it’s only because I understand the repercussions, and have to weigh all the possibilities, right? Oh, God, I am panicking now, and I am not even sure why!
All right, let’s be serious about it. Panic is, I find, one of the primary responses of my body to a new, unpleasant, and utterly unfamiliar situation. Depending on whose theory you’d like to follow, this either means that I have an excess of estrogen surging in my body, or that am not disciplined enough to think things through without hysterics, which also seem to suggest that my femininity is to blame. I firmly reject both notions. In my mind, I am simply thinking too far ahead, thus getting overwhelmed by possibilities.
I find that in really perilous situations I usually behave pretty rationally and calmly, probably because I realize that panicking will make it much worse. I also find that if I am really afraid of a particular outcome, it weirdly helps if I picture it in details beforehand, and somehow assure myself that this is not going to happen.
For example, one of my most recent panic attacks had to do with my impeding back surgery. I was scared shitless. I was in pain for too long, and by the time the surgeon told me I had to go under the knife, I already suspected that this was something I had to deal with willy-nilly. But I found, that suspecting and hearing the statement point blank are two completely different things. No matter how much I tried to persuade myself that everything is going to be fine, my vivid imagination kept drawing horrible pictures of bed pans and wheelchairs FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE! I run away from the doctor’s office, only to be marched back by my husband, who, luckily, was present during the discussion. I researched the surgery and the surgeon ad nauseum. I watched the videos and read the blog posts of the people, who survived it (big mistake, by the way! Very few positive outcomes are being blogged about, and people mostly write in great detail about various things that went wrong after the surgery). The level of panic, exacerbated by non-stop pain, strong painkillers and alcohol was through the roof. Somehow I lived though pre-surgical days and nights, and by the time I had arrived to the hospital, I was ready for the worst, secretly hoping that it’s not going to happen, because, obviously, my Karma would protect me from it.
Needless to say, everything went fine. The surgeon was great and the whole experience, while, understandably, very scary and unpleasant, was made as painless as possible under the circumstances by the great staff at the Hospital for Special Surgeries in New York. Nine months after the surgery I am about 80% back to normal, albeit at a much slower pace. Gone are Zumba sessions 4 times a week and weight lifting classes. Forgotten is the Tabata timer on my phone. Covered by a layer of thick dust are the Jillian Michaels exercise videos in my perpetually renovated basement. As the good doctor says, I can only return back to my usual level of exercises a year after the surgery. Before that I can do only Pilates and swimming. I am not impressed by Pilates and I hate swimming in the pool. Now I am panicking about never being able to get back into the shape.
I guess panic is an integral part of my life… Since there is no way to fight it, I might as well embrace it. My Karma protect me from the aftereffects, right???