There are exactly three times in my life where I experienced panic attacks.
The first one happened at the Boston Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. (I really want you to listen to the music from Les Parapluies de Cherbourg as I tell this story) I got sober when I was 26 after a tragic relationship with a girl from New Jersey ended. I had been pretty sure she was cheating on me (like she told me she would on our first date). I was pretty sure I knew who she was shagging too. It was a mutual friend who was a marketing associate. But I never got the chance to find out because I went into rehab. When I got out, sober after a few months, I ran into her and the marketing associate at the Film Festival. When I saw them together, I shocked myself by running away. I ran away! And into a coffee shop in Harvard Square. When the friend I was with caught up with me, I burst into tears.
The second attack came ten years later in Civil Procedure. We were having a review session, and I had the startling realization that I didn’t understand the other students’ questions, let alone the professor’s answers. Once again, I felt an incomprehensible compulsion to run. And I did. Right out of civil procedure. Dramatic, eh?
The very last one was today! My gay and lesbian group had a fashion show and I told the guy running it that I would stop by. But unbeknownst to me, the fashion show was combined with a talk to the 1Ls about their 2L job search. I listened to the director of the CDO say all those words that I had listened to with such earnest last year. All about how you have to paint a comprehensive picture for your employers, and think about your financial needs, etc. etc. And all of a sudden I had this urge to get out of there. But not like, “Oh, this is a waste of time.” No. It was like “My skin is crawling with legions of microscopic bugs.”
So. I left. Seriously, I fought the desire to run away the rest of the afternoon.
You might be wondering, but haven’t I had job issues all year? And didn’t I just get an internship. Yes. But I am also having some issues with my dad’s estate that are freaking me out. I would tell you all about it, but members of my family have asked me not to talk about family matters on my blog. It’s not that I believe that anyone has the right to tell me what to talk about. But my relationship with them has deteriorated to the point that I don’t want to hand over ammunition.
At any rate, in case you didn’t have it handy, here is the music to the Umbrellas of Cherbourg.