My Story Part 1: My First Panic Attack

I’d like to tell my entire story of how my panic got to be so bad, so I figured I’d start here. I’m not going to write my entire story out in one blog post, because I honestly feel at this point I could write a book. So I’m going to attempt to break it up into pieces.

So, I’ll start at the beginning – my first panic attack.

I was a few weeks away from turning twenty-one years old, and I had just embarked on what would be a three month long road trip from California to New York and zig-zagging around states in between.

I’d driven up to Oregon, and then was going back through California to stop in my hometown for my birthday before driving to Roswell, NM for a UFO convention. I figured on the way I would stop by this huge festival that was going on in Santa Rosa.

My friend and I found parking, got out of the car, and walked to the festival entrance.

There were all these dirty hippie kids gathered around outside. Nothing I was unfamiliar with. Hell, they could have been people I knew, except I didn’t know them.

They were passing around suspicious looking drink containers and talking about drugs.

I didn’t touch anything, but I suddenly became acutely aware of the amount of drugs (specifically hallucinogenics) that were around me. I began feeling strange and shakey. I was overcome with a feeling of unease and dread.

Something was wrong with me… but what?

I told my friend I wasn’t feeling well and needed to go. So, we went into downtown Santa Rosa.

The feeling didn’t go away, and I became convinced that somehow someone had slipped me drugs. Or that I was dying. Or both.

I spent hours walking around, feeling as though I was completely disconnected from reality. I felt short of breath, I felt, well, all of those awful panicky feelings that I’ve come to know so well.

I was just looking through my photos and realized I have pictures from that day. Here you go:

Photo of me having my first panic attack. I don't even know what to say about this photo other than, I'm glad I've since changed my hair, and it's kind of ironic that I'm sitting in front of a giant hand because I needed a hand more than ever at that moment,

Photo of me having my first panic attack. I don’t even know what to say about this photo other than, I’m glad I’ve since changed my hair, and it’s kind of ironic that I’m sitting in front of a giant hand because I needed a hand more than ever at that moment,

Also, don’t be too hard on me. It’s taking some serious guts for me to be putting this out accompanied by that photo right now… and since I’m feeling gutsy, here’s one more picture from that day:

I think the amount of strange things I came across that day didn't help. But I was also kind of baffled by the oddness that seemed to be around every corner, while feeling completely out of my mind, and trying to retain some semblance of being normal. I don't even know what I'm sitting on here.

I think the amount of strange things I came across that day didn’t help. But I was also kind of baffled by the oddness that seemed to be around every corner, while feeling completely out of my mind, and trying to retain some semblance of being normal. I don’t even know what I’m sitting on here.

Eventually that god awful panicky feeling went away.. kind of.. but it also lingered. It lingered because I began developing completely irrational fears, and I began fearing that feeling coming back.

And because I feared it so much, it did come back.

Looking back on it, I found myself panicking in some of the strangest places, which I will write about later. Some of those places include: the middle of the desert while being held by homeland security, a meeting for people who have been abducted by aliens, the secret service questioning me on my political beliefs in Pittsburgh, PA, being stranded at a national rainbow gathering in Cuba, NM. I honestly don’t know how I got myself into some of the situations that I have, and now that time has passed there’s probably a lot of humor hiding in some of the panic inducing predicaments that I’ve gotten myself into.

Anyway, to finish the story, I never ended up going inside the festival. Instead I became amused by the sheer amount of snoopy statues and other random statues that I found around that town. And I still ended up going on my road trip… and I don’t know how I did it. But I’ll tell the rest later 🙂

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