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Day 1300 • Right about Writing, or Write about Righting?

My wife tells me I'm not writing enough. My first impulse was to resist her telling me such a thing, but instead, I'm trying to listen.

This is the woman who would ask me,

"Have you been taking your DHPs*?"

just a day or two after I had not, whether from forgetfulness or stubbornness. Now she's lovingly asking whether I've been writing much, even though she knows that I haven't.

For the last few weeks, I've been 'taking a break' after more than two years of intense soul-cleansing and daily addiction-chasing keyboard plucking; it was my therapy and my way forward in the midst of great pain and uncertainty about many things.

During this recent 'down-time,' we've lost a beloved family member to dementia, we have both been down with COVID (again), and now we are wrestling with the discovery of my mother's cancer diagnosis. Sure, that's all tough stuff, but I'm not necessarily making the connection to my not journaling, so why is Miss Perception calling me on my sentencing vacation?

According to Dr. Google, I've been experiencing nocturnal panic attacks the past few days. I've been abruptly awakened — maybe a dozen times — with my heart racing, my breathing labored, my arms and legs transitioning between tingling and numbness, and my mind terrified to the point of being afraid to open my eyes. It only takes seconds to recognize my surroundings and begin to settle down, but it takes several more minutes for the physical to calm and longer for my brain to relax. The first time was funny in a morbidly curious way. But the next few times — every time I would nod off or fall asleep — were more and more frightening as I began considering every possibility, from strokes and tumors to insanity.

I've only experienced anything like these symptoms one other time in my life, and that was thirty years ago, about a mile underground while watching my son and my brother trying to climb a sheer cliff during a spelunking trip. That anxiety was justified; I thought they were going to fall, and I was going to have to drag their damn bodies out of the cave.

But this recent weird collapsing of mind and body was uncalled for as far as I can tell. The internet assured me that I was in no mortal danger, that I was not alone in my frustration and in coming to terms with how my brain was reacting to... whatever.


I don't usually interrupt my own emoting, but the truth is that this bizarre body-and-soul retching just happened again. It's the first time I've experienced a panic attack — if that's what these incursions into my psyche are — when I'm awake. It was very uncomfortable, but it passed, so I'm getting back to life.


I don't know what the hell is going on, but I trust this woman's voice in my life. She has proven she knows me more profoundly than I ever knew. I will release this to her wisdom and to my Higher Power and will attempt to trust the experience of others about this apparent manifestation of the battles in my brain. I will do my best not to isolate in this discomfort and thereby make it worse than it is, as I have often done with my addiction and other problems over the years.

I'm not sure what the answers are, but I'll not be in a hurry to bypass the questions, and hopefully, we can navigate this together and openly until we emerge from the cave of this new challenge.

In the meantime, I do need to reengage the keys on my board, even if that is not the answer to this particular problem.

I used to hate it when she was right.

*DHPs: Damn Happy Pills, or anti-depressants.



She can move you and improve you

With her love and her devotion

And she'll thrill you and she'll chill you

But you're headed for commotion

–Kiss, "Firehouse"


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