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Not too long ago, I was driving back from Kentucky having just spent six days away from home. I had been in Kentucky watching my dad die, watching my family watch my dad die, and trying not to lose my proverbial shit. Diah’s death got me slightly more accustomed to public crying, but it’s still not on my list of things I’d write as a turn-on on Incidentally, I also wouldn’t list as a turn-on. That profile was a mistake made in youth that will never be repeated. Where were we?

Ah, yes. In the car, driving back to Nashville. Drained, numbed, tired, and probably unable to breathe through one side of my nose (Kentucky = allergies), I hit Bluegrass Parkway and gave myself permission to loosen up the tight coils that had formed in my spine. As the opening drums of “I Don’t Care” hit me in the face, everything relaxed. I had permission to lose my shit in the privacy of my own car.  

Last weekend, I found myself driving to Kentucky again. A panic attack came out of nowhere, seeping up my chest, speeding up my heart, and making my palms start to sweat. As it so often goes when I travel, I wanted to be home. Right then.  

A girl doesn’t survive with panic on Paxil alone. I have grown, in part, smarter than my brain. I know its games, and I know how to stop them. Its name is Klaus. It is my iPod.

A PBS special called The Musical Mind helped explain it: when you listen to music that you enjoy, your brain impulses light up, turning your skull into Studio 54. Your brain says “yes” and, in so doing, forgets all about whatever nastiness it was conjuring. It’s like seeing a toddler walk toward an electrical socket and distracting said toddler with a toy. (Unless the toddler is screaming, in which case I suggest letting the kid fry.)

For what it’s worth, clicking the iPod to a song I really, really like helps talk me down from a panic attack. It might help you. May I suggest Fall Out Boy’s “I Don’t Care“?


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jul 8, 2009
    • Hi Evilamy!

      Well where do I begin? Do I laugh or cry?  

      I am sorry for the loss of your father and all that you went thru with that. It is hard. I know!

      As for the panic attacks... I had those a few years ago and was prescribed something (can’t remember) but they made me drowsy so I decided to learn to live without. It may have been the stress of things I was going thru at the time but since I have learned to meditate IF I feel one coming on.

      However I agree with you about music as I am listening to Dr FEELGOOD on my itunes.... Music without a doubt has helped me thru soooo many things in my life.

      Thx for sharing this and I am glad to have met you....

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tina Sickinger wrote Jul 8, 2009
    • OMG! I can relate to this on SO MANY LEVELS!!

      Music has been my best friend all of my life! It has helped me get through so many rough times I can’t even begin to count.
      I have found that there is a song to express whatever emotion you are feeling... good or bad.

      So sorry to hear about your Father, sweetie, but I am glad you had that comfort...just as I did when I lost my Mom. It’s always hard to lose someone, but we find our own way of coping, and your way is the same as ROCK ON!!!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janet Wooley wrote Jul 8, 2009
    • Yes, I agree music can be very soothing. As I have learned panic attacks are fear based. I have several people in my life who suffer from this wonderful problem that creeps in at the most inopertune time. I get calls from all of them HELP! and usually I talk them back to reality. I am not belitteling you in any way just trying to put this in a nut shell. It can be crippeling at times and is very real.I truly know how it absolutely cripples an individual and tries to seperate them from everything if you allow it to. The fact that you reach out is a very good sign.Just a thought I find reciting promises that I have found in the Bible help, like God has not given us a spirit of fear but of peace and love and a sound mind. Just a thought. I am sorry to hear about your Father. That trama you went thru probably  triggered your panic. I do not claim to be all knowing, just sometimes you hear something and find a thread of truth in it follow what you know to be true. Good luck hon, talk about it, we will listen and offer advice, what you take is totally up to you.estatic

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