The first time. I was 9

My memory is just awful these days. I mean really shocking. Honestly, I thought (and still do) perhaps that I had some signs of early onset dementia. Recall is something best left to my son. He has a mind like a steel trap – and I’m thankful for this (at times).

However, some recollections are just as strong as if the event has just happened. My first panic attack *shudders* is one such memory so vivid, I frequently revisit at the behest of this baffling brain.

It’s daft really looking back (this is why this writing thing will be quite cathartic I hope) when I do think about it. I was 9 and lying in bed, thinking about a boy I liked at school. I won’t name names. Oh sod it, his name was Paul Marshall. It’s not likely he would ever connect this to him or indeed be reading!

Anyhoo, being alone in bed allowed me to spew my words of devotion to this young beau and I could speak without chaste. I professed my love, my dreams and dare I say it, my desires to the boy who stood before me – by virtue of my imagination at least.

Admitedly I was getting rather carried away or as much as a 9 year old in the 70’s did. I told my dream boy when he died, I wanted to also………..

Fuuuuuuuuucccckkkkkking hell! And I mean literally! F-U-C-K-I-N-G HELLLLL!

Who knew that this stupid profession of my ‘undying’ love would mean the unlocking of that area of the brain that allows the power of a full blown panic attack. Years and years of panic attacks; suddenly bolting upright in bed; heavy breathing; a sudden desire to turn a light on to stop the darkness from further enveloping me………..and a bucket load of throwing the word ‘shit’ repeatedly out until I actually located the light switch.

I have had them during the day and they are probably the worst. These situations cannot be rescued by turning on a light. These are a breathe through the pain. Rapidly. As quick as the lungs, or the environment, will allow. It’s just not funny having one at any rate but in a meeting it’s damn near impossible to do without drawing attention.

This first time was also an eye opening about my relationship with my mother. I went to her scared witless about what was happening. Petrified and unable to calm myself sufficiently, I went downstairs. Looking for comfort. The kindness of a tight hug that makes everything ok. You know where this is going, you’re clever enough to understand that this wasn’t going to happen. She blindly sent me back to bed and let me know in no uncertain terms, do not come back down as I was being stupid.

I couldn’t calm myself. The attack was gripping my throat and heart so tight I felt close to passing out. The door to the room my sister was embedded in was ajar. I entered. She stirred. Without explanation, I begged her to slap me in the face. After her initial confusion and further, whispered but desperate pleas, the request was answered. A grand crack. Left cheek. I thanked her and returned to my room.

For several years after this was means to ending those attacks. Mother was never asked again.








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