Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Virginia? Oh, I spent a year there one weekend - part 2 so much anxiety...

As you know I spent a year in Virginia one weekend quite recently for a softball tournament. Honestly, I think it probably took a few years of ye old life here.  I stayed awake for 24 and a quarter hours on the overnight drive from Boston, MA to Charlottesville, VA. @lannonball needed a co-pilot, even if his ears were bleeding after 12 solid hours of popprincess' drivel...

Find exhibit A to your right.  That's me at 7:30 AM about 20 minutes before my blackberry took a swim in a toilet at a McDonald's....in West Virginia (remind me again why I'm single)?

Needless to say, my anxiety levels reached an all-time high on this trip.  No, it wasn't because my phone spent 8 hours in a cup of rice, that our hotel room at the Super 8 smelled like an ashtray, that I couldn't catch a pop-fly to save my life, that I got 12 hours of sleep from Thursday to Sunday, or even because our RV broke down at midnight when we were just two short hours away from home after a 3 day bender.

It was because I survived an effing tornado.

The weather for the Softball tournament was terrible, torrential rain on and off for most of the day.  During our second game, while I was killing at catcher (well, 3/5 times the ump threw the ball back to our pitcher for me, but whatevs) the umpire mentions "you know, tornado warnings today".  

Ecu me kind sir? What was that you said? Tornado?

The Wizard of Oz is my all-time favorite movie but that does not mean I want to reenact the opening scene.  I don't want to yell out for Auntie Em and I certainly don't think we're going to end up in Oz if we see funnel clouds storming toward our playing fields. 

I didn't take the umpire's weather forecast seriously until we heard the loud-ass sirens.  That's when full fledged panic set in.  There was absolutely nowhere to go.  I just kept thinking:

Are 5 bud lights going to be my last meal? Am I really going to go out like that?   

I have never had a panic attack, but after googling the symptoms it seems very likely that this is exactly what was happening to me:

"experiencing a panic attack has been said to be one of the most intensely frightening, upsetting and uncomfortable experiences of a person's life and may take days to initially recover from"

You're damn right wikipedia.com! I was 100% suffering from many of these symptoms:
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Nausea
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • De-realization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or going insane
  • Sense of impending death
  • Chills or hot flashes
While others downed beers and played "Rock You Like a Hurricane" as our natural disaster warning anthem, I continued to grapple with my sense of impending death. 

Truth be told this feeling of panic only lasted about an hour at which point the sun shone through and I fist pumped in celebration.  Regardless of the length of my anxiety attack, it truly gave me a whole new outlook on life.

Moving forward, any anxiety I ever have will be measured at the tornado level in the following order:

Tornado Anxiety
RV breaking Down Anxiety
General Anxiety

So anything between General and RV would probably classify as "damn that sucks!" and anything between RV and Tornado are "OMG that is HORRIBLE!!".  Anything above tornado...F your L because it involves death (or at least a sense of impending death). 

So there you have it.  Presentation to do tomorrow? Not as bad as an RV breakdown.  Job interview? Again not as bad.  Hot date? Nope, definitely not as scary as an effing tornado.

There's your new perspective on life.  Good luck and lookout for those funnel clouds.


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