All New Low

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
― Philip K. Dick

Be mindful of what you put into your body.

Be careful of what toxins you allow to pollute your mind.

I wrestle with my demons, we all do. But I usually wrestle them in private. The escalation of my mental issues seem to have been witnessed by all when my grandmother discovered me in the throws of a panic attack and called the ambulance.

I’d never been so frightened. I felt like a rabid animal that couldn’t quite catch it’s breath. When the ambulance came, I went wild. All I saw were hands reaching, unknown and unwanted hands that wanted to touch me and pry me from my grandmother’s grasp. It sent my panic into overdrive. They tried to calm me over the din of my own labored breathing. I tried to calm down. Suddenly, I could picture what would happen if I didn’t. I felt on the verge of a psychotic break. They’d carry me to the ambulance, strap me down, and transport me to the hospital. Only the hospital I imaged was an insane asylum. I didn’t want to go there. I forced myself to calm down. They all stood round and watched as I struggled to breathe and reign my panic in. I kept thinking about those hands. Hands that didn’t ask for permission and only took what it wanted, gave nothing back and stole more than a mere touch. Hands that appeared to have stolen a piece of my soul.

I felt ridiculous after my attack subsided and the ambulance left. But the panic those hands had incited lingered. Fight or flight. I was that frightened. I’d allowed him to steal my peace of mind, my breath, the very air I breathed didn’t even feel as if it belonged to me.

One of the EMT had a very calming presence. I felt like he was a godsend. He droned on and on about the medical terminology of why my chest hurt and why I felt out of breath, all while I brought myself under control. No rush. Patience. Useless words my mind didn’t catch on but somehow had a calming affect. I wanted him to talk forever.

When my grandmother first discovered me, she had pressed a cold cloth to my chest and held me against her bosom, like a child. I felt at peace, at home. Anchored. She calmed me, before they arrived with those hands. Grasping hands.

Do insane people choose insanity over sanity? That panic, that mindless panic, felt as if it had a draw and it was sucking me in. I was evading it’s grasp while I clung to my grandmother and then it came in rushing waves when the EMTs arrived. I wanted to give in to it. I wanted to go mad. How much easier the world would be if I were insane, looking at it through the barred windows of an insane asylum. While the walls felt as if they were closing in, I glanced at my grandmother and saw the fear on her face, hand clutched to her breast and grasping my arm in the other. That was what brought me back, the idea of never seeing her again, only watching her through barred windows.

I was so scared and not only that but I scared my grandmother. She had never seen me in such a state. She’s lost so much, two sons and a daughter. I hope she didn’t feel as if she was losing me too. After the EMT left and she asked me if I was okay, I told her yes. But sometimes, especially last night, I feel as if I’m losing my mind.


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