The Anatomy of an Anxiety Attack

December 13, 2011

In the past few weeks, I’ve really been working on stopping thoughts that spin out of control into full blown, “OMG RUN FOR COVER WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE” episodes. It’s hard to catch them because often I don’t even realize I’m thinking/playing the scenes in my head until I’m distracted.

But yesterday, I had one. And yes, this is all going to sound irrational to most of you. Bear with.

I’ve been putting off canceling our insurance with State Farm for around 3 weeks. After dealing with them for months on extra charges, miscalculations, etc., Sam and I had decided to look around. We found a lower price and went with it. I had until the 16th of this month till the new insurance kicked in.

I finally worked up the nerve one day, after getting another screwed up bill in the mail detailing how we’d suddenly owe more next term, to call them and cancel. Calling was easier than going in. If I could have texted it, I would have.

But all I was told was that I’d have to come in and sign the forms to end the insurance.

I’m sure at this point, most people would just go in and sign the  forms. Instead, I procrastinated on it day after day until I’d built it up in my mind to be this monumental, insurmountable task that I wasn’t able to do. I knew I had to by the 16th, but each day brought another reason it couldn’t be done.

– It was hard to bring Bella.

– They’d ask for forms I didn’t have.

– They’d get mad at me.

– I would get in a car accident on the way there.

– I’d mess it all up.

– I’d do it and they’d charge me anyway this month.

On and on. Yesterday Bella woke up from nap so early I didn’t have reason not to go. So I grabbed the new insurance forms, old insurance cards, made sure I had my ID (because, you know, random people cancel other people’s insurance for fun), got snacks and water in case she freaked out, then got water for me, put her in the car, GPS’ed the location in case I missed it (4 miles away), and headed out.

As I drove, I got more nervous that when I got there, they’d refuse to let me cancel. Or worse, they’d talk me out of it and I’d end up having to cancel with the new insurance and we’d already paid a premium to them.


I played out a full scene of the person helping me calling in the owner to explain what was going on and both of them getting upset. Demanding I pay them money I owed (I didn’t) and threatening to cancel my insurance immediately.

Pulling into the parking lot, my hands were clammy and I felt short of breath. It was like everything was going to fall apart the moment I walked in that door. They’d all know, just by looking at me, what I came to do. What if they got mad at me?

Forcing myself to take several deep breaths, I grabbed Bella, walked in, and calmly explained I needed to cancel. When I asked why, I told them the reasons. They compared rates and told me my current one was the best they could do. I signed two forms and left.

That was all. 3 weeks of thinking about those few moments every day. :/

This is why I go to therapy. These are the things that I don’t want Bella to have to see me do or deal with like they are now. I want to be able to look at a situation reasonably and take it from there. I want her to have the same ability as most people do. To not over think and stress on the unknown until it becomes something out of control.

I go to therapy for her. For me. I’ll never be a different person, because anxiety is part of who I am. But it doesn’t have to be who I am.


  • Stacy

    December 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I understand completely. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Tabetha Smelser

    December 13, 2011 at 11:08 am

    This is literally the story of the past few years of my life. I have anxiety like this in the most ridiculous moments, like ordering food at restaurants or generally dealing with people. In a way, I’m so happy to know I’m not alone, but then again, I would never wish this on anyone. But we are not alone and things will get better for the both of us, and everyone else suffering from anxiety. Thank you so much for sharing and being so honest.

  • Heidi K.

    December 13, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Me, too. Me, too. You (and I) are not alone in this.

  • Nicole

    December 13, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I am in the same boat! I go into left field panic-ville about the most random things and at the time they FEEL like the end of the world. Being aware has been the first step for me to calm down. My DH will say something or I take a deep breath and step back but once I get myself to that point it’s hard to realize everything is ok. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Keep your heart up.

  • Samantha

    December 13, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I struggle with this all the time. Thanks for sharing.

  • Daneilia

    December 13, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I honestly think the same way. I didn’t take my husband serious when he would say I’m flipping out over nothing when I would tell him things like this. But I realize this is something serious. I wish that you didn’t have to go through this, but then it wouldn’t make someone else like me realize I’m not alone. There are definitely pros and cons, but its definitely something to work through. The Almighty God is watching us 😉

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