Unfortunately, just prior to leaving our house for the Mendhi ceremony on Saturday, I had a bit of a trigger-based panic attack: and I ended up shouting at Mary 1 when she tried to help. I always seem to be the most ill at the most public and crowded and official of events. This fact was in the back of my mind of course, that the environment might become a trigger but not prominent until it was exacerbated by thoughts like:
‘I’ve got to be really present for this.’
‘Everyone will DEFINITELY be looking at us, and at me.’
‘I look bloody awful. Whatever I do I look bloody awful… I really don’t want to do this. With people and cameras and noise…’
The day was very humid, to the point where I’d be putting on my makeup at the top of the house, by the window, and feeling like it was melting off. Successful Adulting meant that I did of course use primer AND powder for the first time ever. Extremes of temperature and fluctuations in adrenaline are not good for bipolar people. I started to fan myself with a fan from my birthday party.
The thoughts that fuelled the panic attack got worse:
‘Thank God it isn’t your wedding… you’d never last.’
‘No-one would be able to handle you being like this, your own mother can’t reassure you. Everything she’s saying is just unhelpful noise.’
‘I don’t know what to do… I just don’t know what to do to feel better. No one being is strong or gentle…. no one is wise…’
Cooling down, being more comfortable and focusing on breathing (although I wasn’t hyperventilating) was key. It’s having something, just one single thing to focus on when the room is either smothering or swirling. I hate being told to calm down. Calm is conveyed through routine, pattern and touch. Not words.
Words are dust during a panic attack.
In time, after shouting at Mary 1, I cried a bit, said sorry, did a bit of careful preventative dabbing at my eye makeup and we all got into the car. At the event apart from incessant photographers, thankfully all went well. The food was good, we had enough supplies of everything, none of the other thaals with dangling ribbons caught fire on this occasion… thank God, so overall it went well.
~ Pola ~