I’m off work at the moment. The break began unofficially last week when, due to severe pain caused by an abscess, it’s location, and my required working position, I requested to work from home on Thursday & Friday… but I had this week booked off already, and my GP appointment all lined up for yesterday. Everything planned – part of my coping mechanism.

Two days working in comfort got me in a good headspace, and come Friday evening I found myself back in an old safe place – the local music festival. I’ve been involved in it in one way or another for years – more or less my entire adult life to be honest, and thus it holds no threat to me and it’s just one of those places and points in time when I know I can be comfortable – a safe place surrounded by close friends. It was a good weekend – it was good to spend time with friends who I’ve inadvertently chopped off of late due to the combination of depression and abscess-related physical issues, and to do something I enjoy doing. Part of the realisation that I had a problem was that I’d gradually chopped off all my hobbies and socialising and had become a hermit.

Through this whole process of discovery, theChimp decided that she needed to rent some studio space for her to write in… she needs space and separation from domesticity to be able to get in her creative headspace. Today she took me to have a look at it. This morning, when i awoke, I took my first antidepressant. With some slight cynicism I popped the small white pill on my tongue and gulped it down with a mug of coffee and paused for a moment… y’know… just in case the world suddenly got more light and vibrant, or my head exploded. Meh. Anticlimax… one can hope. But I digress…

We drove into town, parked up in the nearest car park, and wandered round to the new studio. It’s a cute place – tucked away in a huge wood-lined rabbit warren – easy to lose yourself in there. I’m very pleased for and proud of her… she’s always at her best when she’s being creative, and my issues have taken their toll on her over the years so I’m happy she’s doing things to rectify that even if taking matters into her own hands is her only way.

Afterwards, she wanted to head to a local charity shop to scope out some furniture. Here’s where trouble begins. In my head, I’d already been working up to it. The thought had crossed my mind to go back to the car and drive round to the nearest car park to it.

No. Face it.

We walked from the studio down through the heart of town, through the old shopping centre… as soon as we set off, triggers were thrown. As we headed down through the pedestrianised area, a few chavs (meant in it’s generational/lifestyle choice sense as a word to represent cap wearing gangster looking typically intimidating [to me] groups of any age, not as an insult) appeared to be heading towards us. Panic. They shouted across us to someone else to bum a smoke in that overly confident, overly demanding, intimidating kind of way. PAnic.

We passed them and headed on. Next up, Greenpeace. The town centre was covered in a liberal sputtering of Greenpeace canvassers and Big Issue sales folk. Sods law that as myself and theChimp tend to give off a hippy kinda vibe, we attract the overly enthusiastic, overly friendly, overly confident university-student-on-summer-break who attempts to engage us on the move in an attempt to get us to sign up. PANic. theChimp brushed him off with a smile and a lie… “we’ve already signed up mate” …PAnic.

Into the old shopping centre… with it’s nice airy bright entrance. Down the escalator and into the claustrophobic gloom. It angles round corners rather than sweeps – people appear unexpectedly in front of you, leaving no choice but to slide along the walls to avoid tumbling over oncoming traffic. PANic. Down another set of escalators and destination in site, I breathed an inward sigh of relief.

[interlude: I’m typing this accompanied by shouts from an irritated Chimp upstairs at the moment, demanding that flies evolve enough intelligence to work out how to fly down through the gap in the open window]

Anyways, we mooched about, looked at some furniture, came to the conclusion that it was pointless getting anything until she’d got the lease sorted for the studio, and thus set off back whence we came… same route. PANIc.

We swung into Morrisons. PANIC. My god, the aisles get narrower every time I go. Sorry world, Sainsburys wins every time for me, for one reason – aisle width. At least at our nearest, which happens to be the world’s largest Sainsburys store.

All the way back through town, passing the same people… PANIC

Back to the car – concentrate – relax – drive home.


Fighting off a panic attack is no easy thing, and my problem tends to be I can hold it off when having one is likely to induce another… it’s once I get back to a safe place and relax that the panic starts to physically take hold. Shaking, sweating, & numb I headed straight in the front door, straight out the back door and into the garden and thank-[randomdeityorscientifictheory] the pond needed filling. 

It’s the little routine things that rescue me. Grabbing the hose I proceeded to top up the pond, then watered the hanging baskets… all the flower beds. Ooo the grass is looking bit yellow – I’ll give that a once over while I’m here… and the rose bush round the front DEFINITELY needs a drink…

15 minutes distraction later, I finally head back indoors and plonk down onto the sofa with a coffee theChimp has knocked up, and a cig.

Just the rippling aftershock to deal with now. A wave that comes on after successfully fighting off a panic attack. It’s not a nice thing, but nor is it a particularly nasty thing… it’s just the realisation that I’ve just had to fight off a panic attack. A wave of emotion – tears trying to break free.

Deep breaths. Shudder. Hug from theChimp. Slight headache. Find the next distraction…

*logs in to WordPress – time to blog…*


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About apatchworkboy

Aspergers dad to a severely autistic non-verbal boy

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