Before starting to ramble through my own words, I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, each one of you who shared their stories with me. It meant a lot. It meant my words had a receiver and that they meant something. Know that you are not alone and that shit happens to everyone. However, it’s up to each one of us to know how to cope with shit. And there isn’t a f*cking shit out there that can break us down. Shit makes us who we are. And the shit that doesn’t kill us, will only make us stronger. Oh, just one more thing. Yes, I am a bit of a narcissist but this photo represented me on one of the best times of my life in my hometown, Funchal, where part of me belongs. OK, enough of this shit.
Having a panic attack was the worst flight experience of my life. I have been through landing in the most dangerous airports in the world, through flying on some pretty dodgy airlines, through eating shitty food in an airplane, through rowing in caves full of bats, through driving in the middle of buffalo herds, through sailing choppy seas, through sleeping and having lions outside our tent (yes, a tent; keep posted for my Travel Mondays here in the blog) and through drinking several ponchas in a row (my hometown’s typical alcoholic drink) and not passing out and I managed to survive them. They didn’t even make a scratch on me. The panic attacks did.
Here I was, a young kid trying to survive in one of the most difficult masters out there (yes, it is pretty hard; I don’t have the exact numbers on how many students leave it midway but trust me, I lost plenty of my colleagues on the way). This was when I really started to take this shit seriously. Being a f*cking stubborn ass, if I start something I need to finish it. I don’t care what it is. If it’s baking a simple loaf or finishing my thesis on antennae for a RFID solution (pretty awesome to have built something that actually worked). I finish it. I didn’t stop until I had my diploma in my hands and my thesis professor says congrats, you are now an electrical engineer (in this country engineer is used pretty lightly but another topic, another post).
However, I did have to go through hell to get it. My first panic attacks started before this but this is when I realized what they were. After going to a psychiatrist and being prescribed drugs (yes, please; depression and anxiety are chemical imbalances in your brain so stop the f*cking judgmental stuff of people taking meds; don’t f*cking talk about something you don’t know shit). It happened during an exam. Yes, in the middle of it. If I got up I couldn’t finish the exam, therefore, I would have failed a subject I actually had prepared and studied for. So, what did I do? I sucked it up. Pretty simple, right? No. Again, don’t judge and comment on what you don’t know shit.
Am in menopause? Am I going crazy? Is the sweat dripping through my back showing on my brand new Zara top (it was a pretty bad ass one by the way)? Is everyone aware I am going through this? Is anyone watching? Does my junk look good in these trousers? Will these in my head not go away? Will I not be able to breathe? Will I not be able to see (it didn’t happen on this one but during my first panic attack I couldn’t see momentarily but if felt like ages)? How do I f*cking calculate the magnetic field of this shit? Yes, this all coming through my head. Yes, I did look good in those trousers. Yes, I finished the exam. And yes, I had one of the best grades on that exam, something I would never ever have considered before this. How do I felt afterward? Like shit. Like a failure. Like Calimero, asking myself why did this happen to me? Like having a drink.
It took me a while for these to stop being business as usual. I remember my last and I now know what triggers them. Back then they were random. I could be on my Zara aisles going through my favourite clothes with nothing to worry about or I could be flying on a tiny, tiny dodgy looking airplane (which had to be replaced as soon as we landed) through Zambia airspace (the pilot, Jeremy, did look good on the eyes, though).
It’s funny how I write about them now. Thank God, I am in a good place now so words slip my mind without a single tear. Back then I couldn’t even share what had happened to me with my parents. I felt like a freak. Now, I feel like I am just someone with shit to go through as everyone else in the world. And we have our good days, our bad days, our kick ass days, our so-so days, our bad hair days, our my-junk-does-not-look-good-in-this-skirt. Still trying to figure out what I am doing here in the world but I surely know that I am here to simplify this mental health shit. It’s just another plain shit some of us need to go through. This is why I want to share my story. And the story of all the loved ones that made and make this journey with me. Without them, I wouldn’t be here writing this. Time for a gin & tonic now. Tomorrow Fashion Friday, people. I will be talking about wedding guests’ dresses. I have two this year so I better start planning.