Looks like Messie here is gonna have to go back on some Prozac…and she’s not at ALL happy about it. Not one bit.
I had another panic attack when I got in the car earlier to go to the store, my second in a week. I was being proactive after the one I had earlier in the week and remembered to leave some paper bags in the console, just in case. Didn’t think I’d actually have to use them, though. I’d hoped the earlier one was a one-time deal. That it was just some shot nerves left over from the hydroplaning incident last weekend. I assumed wrong, apparently. Obviously. Yeah.
I’m thinking that it’s the weather’s that’s triggering them because both of the times they happened this week it was raining…just like it was doing that morning when I hydroplaned. I figure the rain has to be it because I’ve driven a few times after that when it wasn’t raining and I was fine. No panic attack. No hyperventilating episode. Nothing.
It’s so damn frustrating, you know? I feel so stupid and ridiculous for having the damn things. It’s embarrassing because it really is THAT ridiculous. It wasn’t that bad. I mean, it was, but it wasn’t…if that makes sense. By that I just mean that it absolutely could have been much, MUCH worse than it was. I could have died. It’s not an exaggeration. It did happen and it was that close. I can still picture it in clear detail, same as when it was happening. Spinning towards that concrete wall, catching glimpses of those tractor trailers speeding towards me as I was spinning across the three lanes of traffic. Everyone keeps saying how brave I was for keeping my wits about it when it was happening, long enough and smart enough to know that I had to turn the wheel in the direction I did to keep from hitting the median…but they have it ALL wrong. There was nothing brave or smart about what I did in that moment. I wasn’t brave and I sure as hell didn’t keep my wits about it or stay calm. I panicked. Full-blown, too damn scared to even scream, panicked. That’s what I was. And turning the wheel like I did wasn’t smart at all. It was reckless and dumb. You’re supposed to turn INTO the skid…I did the opposite. I freaked and turned the wheel OUT of it and away from the direction of the median. That shouldn’t have worked. It’s simple physics. It should have sent me right into that concrete median. By some freak, dumb luck, it sent me in the other direction. If the traffic had been just a few yards closer, it would have been an absolute disaster. There’d have been a pile up, for sure. And I’d be dead, I don’t that for a second. Chances are, I probably wouldn’t have been the only one. Is that bravery or courage? Absolutely not. I wonder what they’d say if they knew what really happened in that car…if I told them how after I turned the wheel–more sharply than I should have, I might add–and saw those trucks while I was spinning out of control across those lanes, how I did what was probably the worst, dumbest thing I could have done–I closed my eyes. I wonder what they’d think if they knew that. As crazy as it sounds, it’s the truth. I closed my eyes. Honestly, I didn’t know what else to do. It was the only thing I could think to do in that moment. I knew those trucks were coming and that they wouldn’t have time to slow down. And I knew that I was spinning too fast and too out of control for the wheels to catch traction in time for me to get out-of-the-way. So I did what any sane person–one would think–would do. In those few split-seconds, I accepted that I likely wasn’t going to make it out of that situation alive and that my fate had been sealed the moment I got into the car that morning, and then I closed my eyes and prayed like hell that it’d be over quick and no one else would be hurt. Smart move? Probably not. But my logic in that moment was pretty much summed up by the fact that even though I was probably going to die, there was no way in hell I was going to keep my eyes open and watch while it happened. Hell to the no. It’s one thing to accept that you probably might die…another to be, literally, an eye-witness to your own death. Some people might think I’m crazy for closing my eyes, but if they’d been there in that vehicle with me in that moment and saw what I saw–I’m pretty sure they’d have closed their eyes, too.
Was it scary as hell? Without a doubt. But I was beyond lucky to have walked away with just a few bruises. I’m alive. I shouldn’t be. According to the Laws of Physics, I should most definitely be dead right now. The fact that I’m not is a good thing. Better than good, in fact. I cheated death. I can’t tell you how or why it happened…or if I deserve to be spared–especially considering all the mistakes I’ve made in my life. I can’t answer those questions…and believe me, I’ve tried. It’s all I’ve been able to think about, to be completely honest. I know it’s probably not the healthiest thing to be questioning why I didn’t die when I definitely should have–and that I should just be grateful and thankful that I didn’t…but I can’t help it. I don’t understand it. Some people might say that I had to have a guardian angel or something looking out for me that day–or God himself–but since I don’t exactly believe in God, that explanation doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe it’s as simple as pure, dumb luck…some cosmic alignment or whatever that saved me that day. I don’t know.
It’s weird, but I feel like something’s–I don’t know–off, you know? Like something in me changed that day. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. I just know that something is different. It sounds crazy, but it’s like I’m numb and can’t feel anything. I don’t mean physically–my collarbone is feeling better and the bruises are fading so physically, I’m totally fine. Emotionally…not so much. I think maybe it has to do with the fact that I really did come thatclose to dying. I mean, once you’ve pretty much accepted that you’re going to die, it’s like there’s nothing else really left to be afraid of, you know? It’s like when you hit rock bottom. Once you’ve hit it, you know you don’t have to worry because it’ll never get worse than it is in that moment. I kind of feel like that.
It’s a strange thing to say, but it’s almost a little ironic. I mean, I’ve never really been afraid to die before. I guess I’ve always just accepted that it’s going to happen and there’s really nothing you can do about it, so there’s no point dwelling on the fact. Not to mention, there’s the times when I tried to speed it along, so to speak…and nearly succeeded. Like when I slit my wrist years ago. I know there are people who wouldn’t hesitate to judge me for that and would jump at the chance to label me “crazy”, but the truth of the matter is that I was no more crazy for wanting to die that night than a person that wants to live. It sounds strange, but it’s true. Society puts this big stigma on death and suicide and no one wants to talk about it because they’d rather continue the illusion that as long as they don’t think about it or know when it’ll happen, then they can live happily-ever-after in some blissful unawareness that, if you ask me, doesn’t realistically even exist. Our lives…time…it’s all an illusion. What I find absolutely ironic though, in this case, is that even while I was essentially bleeding out that night years ago, I wasn’t really afraid to die. I wanted to die. I wanted to be non-existent. I saw no point in living. Life held no meaning for me at that point in time. There was no pretty eternity I was anxious to find waiting for me on the other side. There was nothing…and that was the crux of it all. That nothing…that peace…that was what I wanted. So why didn’t I let things play out that night–why didn’t I die as I intended? It wasn’t fear that stopped me. Rather, it was the guilt. You see, even though I wasn’t afraid to or cared if I died or not, there were people who did. People who loved me and to whom my life meant something. I just find it so strange–so ironic–how in the past, I’ve had moments where I would have welcomed death…but when I was in that car last weekend and spinning towards what I thought was my inevitable death, I was literally and absolutely terrified. That’s the part I don’t really understand…how I could be ready to die that night, and yet feel absolutely helpless and scared now, a few years later.
I’d like to think that it’s because things have changed since then…that I’ve changed. I’ve come so far from that girl sitting in my family’s driveway with a blade in her hand, covered in her own blood…not caring whether she lived or died. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, and godknows all the screwed up, fucked up things that I’ve done, but I’d like to think that I’ve also done some good. It’s weird, but I feel like my life actually has meaning now, unlike how I felt back then. Not that my family wasn’t enough back then for me to have felt like my life had value–they were–but I feel like they mean more to me now. A lot of it is the kids, my nieces and nephews. They make it all worthwhile, you know? They make me want to be better…to do better. When I think about how close I came last weekend to losing all of that–of never having the chance to say goodbye or tell them how much I love them…not being there to see Angelina become a teenager and graduate high school, get married…never seeing Ava and Emma do those things…never seeing my little Twinnies again and knowing that they’ll never know who I was or remember me…it literally breaks my heart. It’s terrifying. Hell, it makes me sick just thinking about it.
That’s probably the greatest irony of it all. Now that I actually have something to lose, I have no choice but to join the ranks of the rest of the world that are afraid to die. So I guess the real question is whether the fear is worth it. Eight–maybe even five–years ago, I probably would have said no. But now–now I definitely would say that it is. Those kids, these people I love, this new start and life journey that I’m embarking on down here in Nashville…it’s worth it. So, so, worth it.
Now if I could just get those images out of my head and be done with these ridiculous panic attacks, that’d be great. Maybe my subconscious will get the hint…and soon, I hope.
‘Til Next Time,