Select Page
Manic Panic

Manic Panic

Storm Before the Calm

Storm Before the Calm

Panic Without a Prelude

 

Panic attacks are like the first blustery wind of an unexpected storm. They come from nowhere, with no warning, and no indication of how long they will last, or how severe they will be. It can happen anywhere, or anytime. You can be in the worst of moods, or the best—it does not matter.

When it happens it is like somebody flicked the lights off and then used the cover of darkness to punch you in the gut. I understand that’s an odd analogy, but it is exactly how it feels.

 

Wrong Without Warning

 

Imagine you are moving along through your day and (without warning) everything is suddenly wrong. You can’t move forward. You can’t move backward. All you can do is stand there and wonder what happened. You feel nauseous because you cannot put your finger on it, and you know the people around you can see something is wrong. You know that someone will ask you if you are okay—and you will say “yes”. You are not, but it does not matter because you couldn’t explain what was wrong if you wanted to.

The feeling of helplessness is vicious and feeds upon itself. Your heart rate increases, palms start to sweat, your chest tightens up, and a little voice in the back of your head tells you that you’re having a heart attack. The rational side of you says you’re not, but the truth is there’s no way to be sure. The lack of certainty sends your thoughts spinning. Should you go to the hospital? If it is a heart attack would you make it in time? If it’s not will the doctor’s laugh at you? Does your daughter know how much you love her? Will she be okay when you’re gone?

Each thought cripples you a little more. It’s a cascade of irrationality fueled by the reality that all of the things you are thinking—while maybe not true in this exact moment—are completely plausible possibilities. People die of sudden, massive, heart attacks every day. Why not you? Why not today?

 

My Panic, Not Yours

 

This is what a panic attack usually feels like to me. If you see me standing stuck in a moment this is what’s going on in my head. I do not know if it is the same for everyone. For me the attacks vary by degrees—sometimes they are small and last seconds, other times they are massive and consume my day. They were less severe when I was younger, and have grown exponentially over the past couple of years.

Oddly enough, the heart attack scenario represents the best case for me. Arguing with myself whether or not I am having a heart attack is at least tangible. Sometimes, the attacks do not present a reason for attacking. Sometimes they are just a sudden onset of terror and an inexplicable surety that everything is not okay. There is no discernible cause—just a hopelessly empty feeling and sudden desire to be anywhere other than where I am. I have left family events, work, even dates when one of these empty moments struck. I have had times when even the company of the person I love most in this world—my daughter—was not enough to make me feel anything other than lost.

 

Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble

 

I do not exist in a bubble. I deal with these panic attacks much like you might deal with a sinus infection or a broken arm. I adjust and power through it. If you know me then you have most definitely spoken to me while I was in the midst of one of them. Ninety percent of the time you will never know. The other ten percent? Those are the times when I inexplicably disappear. Maybe I told you the truth. Maybe I made up an excuse. Either way, it was necessary to remove myself from whatever situation I was in and deal with the darkness that had descended upon me.

 

Silence Kills

 

I am grateful that I understand what is happening now. Like so many others I suffered for years in silence. Now that I know it is real I can deal with it. One of the ways I deal with it is by writing. If you are dealing with the panic attacks please share how you deal with them below if you are so inclined. If you need someone to talk to but do not want to do it publicly you can reach out to me at eyeofh@gmail.com. I cannot give you answers, but I can listen—and sometimes that helps.

 

Best,

Dave

Writing For God – From Horror to Hope

Writing For God – From Horror to Hope

Writing For God

I have not written anything of substance in quite some time. Now I begin again with this statement: I am writing for God.

It is a simple declaration with a not-so-simple backstory. The people that know me will, most likely, be confused by it—those who have read anything I have ever written before, even more so. The following essay is intended to explain that decision and the path that led up to it. It is also my attempt to pull it all together in my own mind so that I can move forward, and accomplish what I intend to with this website.

The early years

I have been writing since I was about ten years old. No matter what has been going in my life I always found my way back to writing. It felt like a calling of sorts—like something I couldn’t, and shouldn’t, live without.

What I wrote was always dark. Hell, I don’t even think ‘dark’ covers it. Twisted. Masochistic. Misogynistic. Those are probably better adjectives to describe the stories I was telling. This was all intentional of course. I loved horror and that is what I wrote.

For some reason, it always seemed to me that the best way to find the truth about a person or a situation was to torture it until it screamed its soul out. Fear and destruction were the only lenses through which I could see anything. I could be walking into a church and see a simple—even beautiful—situation that my mind would immediately twist into the most terrible story possible. For example; I was driving down the street one winter day and happened to pass a home with a large picture window out front. I glanced as I drove by and saw a mother and daughter happily decorating their Christmas tree. Instead of appreciating the beauty of the moment my mind immediately asked the question ‘what if the husband/father was being murdered right outside that very window? What if his throat was slit and his blood washed upon the window that framed that perfect scene?’.

Where I was

That is where I was—Living that kind of life, with that kind of internal monologue. In retrospect, I realize that I had subconsciously trained my conscious mind to find the horror in every situation. I am sure there are some people who can handle that. To be honest, it was an empowering feeling to have the type of imagination that could write stories that would make people feel all types of ways—none of them good! Stephen King, Clive Barker—They were my heroes and I wanted to be them.

The Problem

The problem was that I could not. Even though I loved writing those terrible stories there was always a battle going on in my subconscious mind—I felt guilty for putting such negativity into the world. I would have an idea and table it for months. Part of me just wanted it to go away. Another part of me had this insatiable desire to write—no matter what the cost. I tortured and destroyed myself over and over just like the characters and situations in my stories. Eventually—or maybe always—it all started to spill over into my personal life. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, divorce, custody battles, breakups—every single thing in my life went to shit.

The In-Between

So there I was in my early 40’s—twisted, broken, filled with self-loathing, and self-pity. Sounds like a great time to make a major life decision right?

Instead of clearing the negativity from my mind I doubled down on it! I decided that I was going to self-publish some of my earlier work and start working on a novel that I had been thinking about for years. It was a terrible decision that, in hindsight, produced a miraculous result.

Two things

Two things needed to happen in order for me to move forward. First, I needed to re-read all of my previous work in order to prepare it for publication. Next, I had to sit down and actually outline the novel that had been a mere buzz in the back of my head up until that point. Both of those tasks combined to form the seed of the person that is writing this essay right now. It is so very easy to see it in hindsight, but at the moment there was nothing but darkness.

Editing the past and outlining (what I then considered to be) the future showed me something I never expected to see. There was a spirituality to everything I had written. It was well hidden to be sure—drenched in the blood and excrement of words I had chosen to tell my tales of terror—but it was there. I had always considered myself a ‘spiritual’ person but, for some reason, had never connected that spirituality (and God) with my actual life, or the words I was writing. It sounds ridiculous to say. I suppose the only thing I can chalk it up to is that sometimes the hardest thing to see is that which is right in front of you.

Realization and the wrong tales

What I finally realized was that I was telling the wrong tales. My heart and soul wanted to be writing for God, spirituality, and the connectivity of everything under the sun. My mind—covered in the thick dross of accumulated experience—only wanted to write stories that tortured the characters within.

That day had started out absolutely terrible. It was as if all of the negativity that I had put out into the world was crashing down on my head all at once. I felt beaten—full of self-loathing, self-pity, hopelessness, and completely out of control. It was in that moment that I decided to give up writing horror forever.

Decision & sacrifice

That decision (to give up something I had loved for the majority of my life) was terrifying but was the exact sacrifice needed to bring me back to God and change my life forever. It was my ‘come to Jesus’ moment, and it changed every single aspect of my life in a split second. I wiped the tears from my eyes, took a deep breath, relaxed, and felt at peace for the first time in a very long time. I said the words ‘Please guide me Lord’ out loud, and moved on with my day.

Divine inspiration

Moments later—amidst all the chaos of the surrounding me—I had a sudden desire to read. It seemed inappropriate considering the things I needed to deal with, but my mind would not let me rest until I did. I had started two books on my Kindle already, but neither of them seemed to be the right ones to read at that moment. I logged into Amazon and looked at my ‘suggested reading’ list. I saw a book there that I had glanced at on numerous occasions, but had never purchased. I bought it immediately, and my world changed!

A Book full of breadcrumbs

The book I bought was Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike. It was a laborious read and I almost stopped after the first chapter. Something inside me pushed me on though, and I finished it over the next couple of weeks. I plan on chronicling the ways in which it changed me in a later post, but for now, it is enough to say that it put everything that I had experienced in my life thus far into perspective. Suddenly the decision to sacrifice the thing I loved to do most (writing horror) was rewarded with the idea of what to do next—write for God!

The Dilemma with writing for God

Now here was the big dilemma: how does a person that doesn’t go to church, and doesn’t identify with any particular faith, begin to write about God? The more troubling question, perhaps: does that person even have a right to? These questions and fears stemmed mainly from my memories of—and questioning mentality with regards to—the church (any church) and organized religion in general.

Where I Am Now

Over a year has passed since I made that decision, and bought that book. I have come to realize it was just one, of many, waypoints in my spiritual journey—like breadcrumbs on a wooded path leading me home.

As I said, in the beginning, I have not written anything in a long time. I struggled with the questions above and let them hold me back. I held onto, and trusted, that moment I had asked for guidance the whole time though. In doing so waypoints (obvious ones) began to show themselves more and more along the way. It was not easy (our spiritual path never is), but it was always filled with joy, appreciation, and a way forward.

The answer to the dilemma above? Have faith and move forward with the complete certainty God will show you the way. That is it. That is what brought me to write this essay. That is what stirred my soul to create this website with the hope that someday it might be a spiritual waypoint for someone that was lost—just like me.

Pin It on Pinterest