oh, I don't know ... a blue moon.
and really, I'm teasing the fates with that title because it's only sunday morning. it's more like a saturday without panic, which is the real achievement.
and really, it's not a saturday without panic. it's just a saturday without getting swept away by panic. but that's the achievement.
so ... notice the panic arriving. that's best done by noticing a tightness in my throat, spreading to my shoulders, and a desire to run. literally run. or jump up and down. or throw things. trying to talk myself out of it or hold it down leads to wanting to cut myself or start drinking. it's a full-body tightness where all of my energy is focused on holding myself in place, and I can't tolerate being touched or distracted because that redirects the focus and I just want to scream.
but what I did this time was notice the panic pretty early on when it was just a tightness in my throat and a restlessness in my mind. oh, it's panic, I said to myself. I am aware of it. I am not it. so I can watch it and see what happens.
the panic is a 2-year-old, overtired and maybe on a sugar high, more energy than he knows what to do with. he needs to go somewhere and run it off.
the panic is a 2-year-old at a playground, and the awareness is a compassionate stranger who sees that the panic is on the edge of being out of control and keeps a nonjudgmental, kind watch to make sure the panic doesn't get hurt with all of his running around and climbing on monkey bars or slides (it's an old-school playground with dangerous equipment). the awareness is not responsible for the panic, not a mother or babysitter or other person who is worried about how the panic's behavior reflects on her, but just a woman on a bench watching the children, and the panic in particular.
and if the panic gets hurt, she'll be there and talk to him and apply the band-aid of living-kindness and do whatever is needed to make it better.
which made it better.
next up ... what brings the panic out to play?