There was a time when I was panic. Overly cautious, ever anticipating. No plans were made without severe controls in place. No changing of plans, no spontaneity, no tight places. Just white-knuckle, eye-darting hypervigilance all the time. But years have passed.
Today I drove my car through the car wash and remembered how terrifying it had been during the few years’ span of my most acute attacks. The carwash had been a 3-minute prison where my brain administered fear and my heart and breathing cascaded into hysteria. I no longer cascade, and memories stand-alone from activation. Managing panic, being in recovery, is wonderful.
Now I carwash as ceremony. I bring dollars enough to tip all the staff. I pay for a $20 carwash instead of the $8 basic. It buys purple soaps, yellow soaps, and rainbow foam. All those years of panic and poverty kept me from knowing whimsy. Now I get it where I can. Call me crazy and you’d be half-right. But my car is clean and I delight in the small achievement of a past trigger deactivated.