A few days ago I was fairly sure my head literally exploded. No worries folks, I can assure you that it did not literally explode, not even a tiny bit.

I can’t say 2021 is any better than 2020 for me personally, and the past few weeks for me have been hellish in several major areas of my life. In a relationship ordeal that thankfully for you I will keep to myself, I was in an emotionally charged exchange. Then a thing was said to me—and then one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me happened, and I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty scary stuff in my life.

I saw white starburst explosions. Saw them. Like fireworks going off in my eyes. My entire body was wracked in searing pain. It felt as if I had been hurled against a brick wall at 60 mph. I snapped. Apparently I continued to talk somewhat coherently, and because the confrontation was over the phone the other person did not know my head exploded. Apparently I became a raving, scary bitch. I say “apparently” for a reason. I don’t remember much of anything after the bursts of light. I recall a few bits and pieces, but my mind is completely blank for several hours afterwards. Apparently I talked to a friend, also over the phone, and relayed somewhat accurately what was going on. I don’t remember that, either.

When I finally came out of it, enough to barely function, I was afraid I had had a stroke. I suppose that is possible. What I think actually happened was that I had the Anxiety Attack from Hell.

So, that happened.

I’ve had panic* attacks before. Not often, but a few times. Usually mine have been associated with going up or down stairs because stairs are linked with a traumatic fall. I’ve had the shortness of breath, pain in my chest, and dizziness. I thought I was having a heart attack. Nope. Anxiety attack. Those attacks don’t last very long, and often if I recognize their approach I can work to avoid them. I don’t get anxiety like that, badly enough, to even have any medication for it in case it does happen. This anxiety attack was nothing like those.

Yes, that attack had major repercussions. Even though I don’t remember it, I said some things you just can’t easily walk back. The other person triggered the attack with words that are not easily walked back. Emotionally I’m still in its thralls, although it is abating. Mentally, I’m still in brain fog.

It sucks.

Nothing about that could possibly be good, right? Right?

I’m not so sure.

Since I’m still having brain fog I realize that this next bit may not make sense.

If you’re introspective and/or self-aware, you probably recognize things about yourself that need to be changed—things where you could do better. And how often are those things quick fixes? In my experience the answer is rarely. Maybe you need to stop smoking. Not easy. Maybe you need to be more organized. Not easy. Maybe you have developed anger issues and need to stop the behaviors. Not easy.

Generally these types of things take time and work, and you suffer setbacks and have to restart. Rarely is it as easy as just, “Oh! I recognize that is a problem for me! I will now just stop!” and you just…stop.

Enter the Anxiety Attack from Hell. The aftermath feels like Sherman’s March through the south—a scorched earth policy. I feel like a phoenix arising from the ashes. I feel like Daenerys emerging from the incinerated hut!

Or this could just be brain fog and delusion. I don’t know.

But I rather feel like the magic wand touched my forehead, and maybe just maybe, instead of having to do the whole time and work and setback thing, that in one of those rare events it just happened. I was jump-started into some weird epiphany, and that is going to allow me to STOP! what I need to STOP! I feel like I’ve purged some demons. Even if I did, I still will need to do the work and put in the time to solidify this. I honestly hope this is what has happened. It was a revelatory experience. Or hell, maybe it was a stroke. I dunno. Maybe this is what really crazy feels like.

I’ve had problems relating to my PTSD, things like being on hyper-alert, over reacting (often in anger), and I’ve been really working on those things, using DBT methods, for a few months. I don’t know how to explain it, but those things just feel… gone. Can extreme trauma be used to combat extreme trauma? Is this just a temporary lull? Who knows. Seriously, who knows?

As interesting, intriguing, and actually hopeful as all of that would be, it has also left me in a complete, frazzled mess of tangled up emotions, with aftershock-like mini panic attacks. This is not fun. I want this to end right now. There have been moments of calm, and hopefully they will increase in frequency and duration as I move away from The Event. I do think the clarity, the scorched earth is there, it is just surrounded by chaos.

Daenerys is walking out of that hut, but the hut is in ruins, people are dead, she’s a mess, but damn, she has an adorable baby dragon on her shoulder! Hm. Perhaps the metaphor doesn’t quite reach to the right ending, but you get my drift, right? Of course you do. I write perfectly coherently during brain fog [sarcasm font].

Time will tell.

And this was such a good scene. I hope that is really me there, coming out of the flames. It would be nice to think something positive came out of such hell. Plus, in more ways than one, if this is me then I look hot!

As for the other person in the conflagration? I don’t know. That’s another time will tell thing. I don’t think he got a consolation baby dragon. I sincerely, truly wish for both of us to have come out of the inferno wiser and evolved and healed. Peace, even.

* To the sticklers: There seems to be a difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack. I’m not writing as a clinician, and to me the words are interchangeable.


  1. The brain is clearly a complex thing, which I’ll certainly never understand. But you seem to have described what happened very calmly and eloquently, so that’s surely a good sign of things heading in the right direction. 😊

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