beyondpanic's diary

beyondpanic's Diaryland Diary


Panic Attack

My four best friends and I have met every Thursday night at the same diner in the same booth for the past 20 years. Occasionally one of us misses due to illness or graduation of a child or birth of a grandchild or work.

We eat and talk and laugh and cry about everything.

This weekend, I realized that Diner Babes is not about meeting at the diner and eating cheese fries. It’s about being able to count on someone to be there for you when you are at your absolute lowest.

When I realized my husband and daughter were on the way to get the dog, I went into my usual and full fledged panic attack. I didn’t think to call my Mom or one of my sisters. I immediately started calling my Diner Babes, leaving sobbing messages on their voice mails. Finally one of the Babes answered and told me to come over right away.

I wasn’t ready to go over then – I just needed to know that one of the Babes would be there when I finally cried myself out. I didn’t want to tell her where I was because I knew she would try to find me and I wasn’t ready to be found.

Several hours later when the initial panic had fled and I realized that it was dangerous to sleep behind the dumpster at Bennigan’s, I called my friend and told her I was coming. She welcomed me with a hug and the softest sheets that I have ever slept under. We talked for a little and then I fell sound asleep on her couch and I felt safe and no one was crying or mad at me.

The next morning, I woke, had a cup of tea with my friend and then she went on her elusive search for the perfect NJ vacation home and I started roaming again. First, I went to the hairdresser and then I sat in the food store parking lot for an hour watching the happy families doing their early Saturday morning errands. I then went home, hoping that maybe I was wrong, maybe my husband hadn’t gotten the dog.

He did; however, and I tried – I really tried to not panic again, but of course, I did and I had to decide: fight or flight and flight is so much easier so I threw 2 pairs of pajamas and 5 socks in a bag along with my effexor and my dwindling bottle of Xanax and ran to the next Diner Babe’s home. She bought me a coffee and a huge diet Coke and a chocolate chip muffin and we cried and napped and watched MSNBC all day.

I asked the first Diner Babe to call my husband and tell him that I wasn’t coming home until the dog was gone – I knew he wouldn’t yell at her – he has always been kind of afraid of her – in a nice way, of course. And she did call him and now I knew that he knew my terms and I felt absolutely horrible.

And that night another Babe showed up and it was her 60th birthday and we sang happy birthday to her and no one insisted I laugh or smile, but I did because I was safe and then I fell asleep, blissful sleep where no one was crying or mad at me.

Sunday morning I woke up and my husband called and told me that I had to go to the hospital because my Dad had a heart attack and I knew my husband was so sad and that he missed me and he was so confused because I had told him that maybe I could have a dog if he surprised me and he did surprise me and I screwed the whole thing up again.

…and that afternoon my husband called me and told me he took the dog back to the breeder and he’s out the money and would I please come home.

And I went home because it was safe and it was my home again and there was nothing there to be afraid of.

The final Diner Babe greeted me at my desk the next morning with, “Oh my God, what the hell is wrong with you, you look like hell”. And she got to hear the whole story.

And they have all promised that if I ever mention getting a dog again, they will pinch me or punch me in the nose.

16:37 - 2008-03-19


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