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Panic Attack 1 of 3

September 3, 2016

prelude

I’m sitting here in my perfect apartment. I just rearranged the furniture. My desk is perfectly placed. There is natural light pouring in from everywhere. My photos and painting are all over the walls. Photos of friends and family are tacked to cork board, laughing faces and wonderful moments. This is the place of my dreams. When I was stuck in that awful house on Ridge Road, married, raising children…..this is the life I dreamt of. 

And I’m not sure I really want to be alive. 

Once again, the insidious monster has found its way into my brain. Despite the cocktail of meds, the exercise and all that bullshit, I find myself once again in that place where everything is stupid, where I am a waste of space and living is painful. 

I hate it. 

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I never thought of myself as an anxious person, or someone who had panic attacks. Depression was always my mental illness of choice. When I’m not depressed, I think I come off as pretty relaxed or at least as someone who doesn’t give a fuck. But my therapist keeps telling me I’m having anxiety attacks. Depression, anxiety, mood disorders……it’s all just our collective psychology, making sense of the fact that being human is bullshit, isn’t it?

But I had a couple of incidences recently…..and I think she might be right.

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1. The Check Requests

I have to do a lot of administrative paperwork at my job. I don’t really understand why they give an artist like me this responsibility. I suck at it, as I have proven over and over. Once my boss said, “We can’t have one person in the organization who knows everything about the budget.” Isn’t that what an accountant is? I thought.

Anyway, this year, after our major fundraiser, which was pure hell, I was determined to get those fucking check requests right. I made sure I had all the invoices, checking with our vendors’ bookkeepers. I painstakingly divided up the charges according to the correct GL codes and class. I even used a goddamn spreadsheet to get the math correct. It took me a day and half just to get all the proper forms filled out for one vendor.

This is where the A-student in me comes out. I’m not a perfectionist and I honestly don’t give two shits about this stuff and I absolutely don’t think it should be my job……but I want to get it right. I want the A. Not the A-, not the B….the A! I want to be above reproach.

I looked over my pile of stapled forms and invoices, did the math one more time, shuffled them together and put them in my boss’s inbox and walked away.

Later that day, she called me. Her office is in the next room, but she calls me.

“Marie….uh just so you know…so you can fix it on the server……you used 6330 printing for the GL code…….”

“Oh, God, I’m sorry…..”

“We have a special code for signs……”

“Yeah, of course…..I know that.” I’ve filled out about 10 million check requests for signs. I know we have a fucking special code for goddamn fucking signs!

“Yeah, it’s 6331….printing and signs….”

“Ok, sorry. Yeah, I’ll change it on the server.”

Son of a Fucking Bitch!

My shoulders slumped. I put my head in my hands. I felt tears welling up. I started to cry. I got up and walked to the other side of the floor. The building we occupy used to be a clinic so it has lots of rooms and nooks and crevices. I went all the way back into a room where we store supplies, closed the door, locked it, sat on the floor and cried.

I cried over a fucking GL code. I sat there thinking, What the fuck is wrong with you? I can blame it on the passive aggression of my boss but this was clearly an over reaction to a minor mistake. I don’t even care what she thinks of me. Why was this so upsetting?

Wait. I’m having an anxiety attack! I thought. Shit, my therapist was right. 

Great. Fantastic. One more thing wrong with me.

I took a few deep breaths, went to the bathroom, washed my face and went back to my desk and began searching for the various folders in the labyrinth of the server where the wrong GL codes sat dangerously uncorrected.

 

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