I remember my first anxiety attack. I was about 12 and I was by a sister's friends house. They were talking about lynching, there was some sort of exhibit on lynching or something of the sort. I remember we were on or way out the door.
My family has an interesting habit of starting up conversations when they or the other party is leaving. This was one of those moments. I was by the door waiting and I don't remember if I started sweating which I usually do before I have an attack, but I'm pretty sure that I lost my vision -which also is characteristics of my final state before blanking out and fainting.
The last thing I remember before passing out on the ground is seeing a scooter. I remember it so clearly as if it was my eyes final attempt to hold on to sight. For a few seconds I completely lost my consciousness and fell down to the ground. Recalling it now almost brings tears to my eyes. But being who I am I can pretty easily separate myself from what happened to me. I see her (me) falling but I try to see it from the outside.
I was on the floor sightly aware of what happened, not knowing what to think or save. I remember my sister taking me outside on to the steps as her friend got me so water. I remember her mother thinking I trip over the scooter. Its funny because the way you fall when you trip and when you faint is completely difference. The somatic response to losing your consciousness is a complete failure of the mind to control itself and its followers (body parts), their no using your hands to break your fall -you completely lose control. I guess that must be what it feels like to die but I digress.
Every time I have fainted with the exception of one have to do with something negative being discussed. The one exception was at my sisters graduation. We were in a crowd of being waiting to get in and be seated. This time I believe I was able to catch myself before I fell though I'm not sure. I do remember knowing that it was about to happen and being able to tell my mother my vision was blurring or something of that nature. The next thing I remember is that I had to be brought in to someones' office and I was freaking out.
After that long day me and another sibling of mine were back in Brooklyn walking home I suppose from the car. I remember that I laughed about something having to do with my attack. I recall her saying 'your laughing like its funny' I remember shutting up and not saying much else about it.I know now that she could never understand what it feels like to be in such a weak position. Laugh, cry, scream it wouldn't have mattered because nothing could have expressing adequately the way it feels to fall.
I' like to think that over the years I've been able to control my anxiety but it really isn't true. Its only by the mercy of Allah that I have not fainted in years and that my response to anxiety is less ostensible then before.
The last one I had were I knew it was coming on was last year. I was at a conference about slavery and the many issues plaguing blacks.At the end we all held hands and said some kind of pray. Needless to say it lasted to long. It could have the conversation, the holding of hands, the pray, the length of time, etc.that caused me great trouble. But at some point in the pray I began to feel weak, sweaty, my vision began to blur. At this point when my vision blurred I kept telling myself (something like) 'not not here,. I remember trying so hard to open and close my eyes to keep my vision from failing me. Somehow by the end I was still standing, I took a breather in one of the chairs and then I went home.
I thought about getting some counseling but my mother told me it wasn't necessary and my father told me to say some pray which our beloved (peace be upon him) told us to say in time of anxiety. I took their advice and moved on. Sometimes I wonder if my parents were inefficient in not taking me to a doctor to figure out the cause of my anxiety and prescribe some kind of cure, why didn't they take my condition more seriously?
I'm not sure. But who's to say that talk therapy and drugs would cure me faster then the prophets pray and kind words. Whose to say I'm meant to be cured at all.
I saw the movie Control about a band called Joy Division. The lead singer acquired epilepsy early in his twenties. Every time he had had and attack I knew how he must felt. My attacks (full attacks of blurred vision, sweat and then ultimately falling) probably happened less then five time and watching someone experience epilepsy made me realize that I was rather lucky to fall and quickly regain my consciousness rather than shaking uncontrollable on the ground.
Alhumduillah its when you look at people in a worse condition than you that you realize how fortunate you are. I don't know if I'll ever have an attack again, I don't know how often it will happen but I realize an important lesson; its really only an illusion -I can't lose control because Allah is the only one who really has it, Ameen.