Panic Attack in The Bleachers

One of my worst ever panic attacks happened in the bleachers at a football game 2 years ago.  We were there to watch my son – he was on the pee wee flag football team.  They were going to be announced and have a scrimmage at half time of the Varsity game.  I didn’t do well.  I tried to sit in the bleachers with my BFF and our kids.  I was having trouble before it even started.  And I had been sick and had a nasty head cold.  I loaded up on the cold medicine before we went.  I’m sure that made it worse.

They told us all to rise for the playing of the national anthem.  We did.  My legs gave out.  I wanted to puke.  I wanted to run.  What could I do?  Nothing!  I would have caused a much bigger scene trying to scramble down the bleachers in front of everyone!  I thought I was going to pass out.  I started seeing the black spots.  I know I turned white.  I just kinda fell back down onto my seat.  My kids and others around me looked to see what I was doing.  I was not being respectful and standing silently during the anthem now was I?  So I leaned forward and put my head down as far as I could.  I made it clear that I felt ill so no one would think I was just rude.

As soon as the music ended, without saying a word, I bolted off the bleachers and headed for the gate.  I swear I was dripping sweat and looked like heck.  I got to the gate, realized I did not have my ticket stub, or my car keys, or my cell phone.  If I left I would not be able to get back in – or call my BFF to tell her where I went or that I needed more money to get back in.  And I realized that I probably scared my kids by just leaving in such a hurry without saying a word to them.  For the record, I left them with my BFF –  so they were safe.  Although I am ashamed to say that was the last thing on my mind as I left those bleachers!

Instead of leaving, I found a bench near the gate and sat down.  There were kids running wildly in the grass area behind where I was sitting.  I remember that they looked very blurred.  It took me a while to calm down.  A friend saw me and came and stood next to me and babbled and babbled!  Oh my!  She is quite self-centered and just kept talking at me, never even noticing that I clearly shaken and a mess!  She went on & on.  After a while, she moved on and another lady stopped to ask me if I was OK.  She asked if I had the flu.  I said yes.  She did let me borrow her phone & I called my BFF, who was still in the stands with my kids.  She sent Kid1 down with my keys and ticket stub.  I went to the car, sat there for quite a while – deep breathing, crying, & praying – and then returned to the game.

I did not go back to the bleachers that night though.  My kids saw me coming back and they all joined me, we stood/sat on the hill for the rest of the evening.  No one knew I had a panic attack except my BFF.  My kids, and anyone else who saw me just thought I was sick.  My sister -in-law walked by while we were sitting on the hill.  She was very concerned and asked me what was wrong.  She said I looked horrible and should go home and go to bed.  Glad she didn’t see me earlier.

That was the first (and only) time my BFF ever witnessed me having an all out panic attack.  She was very concerned and understood it all so much better after that.  Luckily I had told her about them though – otherwise she would have really been worried and taken me to the ER or something.  I remember feeling her hand on my shoulder when my legs gave out and I sat back down on those cold metal bleachers.  She has never been judgmental, just supportive.  She’s awesome like that :)

Last year when we attended the same event, I avoided the bleachers completely and stood on the hill with my camera.  I just told my family that I hated sitting on the cold bleachers.  Some of them sat in the bleachers, some of them hung out with me.  It didn’t matter if I had to stand there alone all night.  I was NOT sitting in those bleachers.

Then one time after that (I can’t remember when!), my son’s flag football team set up a “super bowl” and they had it at the high school field instead of their usual field.  It was during the day.  We went.  There were not many people there.  We sat in the bleachers.  I had a few rough moments but I did it.  I figured that was the time to work on it since it wasn’t as crowded.  Plus it was a beautiful day.  I sat there with my eyes closed for a while, deep breathing quietly.  I remember how good the sun felt on my face.  I remember my body relaxing.  It was better the rest of that day.

I still stress about those bleachers though.  It will take a while before the memory of that nasty panic attack is replaced with happy memories of my kids playing football and marching in the band.  It will happen eventually though.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jill
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 06:06:07

    Wow, that was one of the best descriptions of having a severe panic attack I have ever read. You know I used to go thru the same week after week at my daughters’ softball games and then in the fall, basketball games. One time I even bolted from the hard wooden bleachers of the basketball court, it was just too much. I know all about choosing to sit on the hill instead, lol. Or panicking and having someone just keep talking and talking and talking onandonandon while I feel like Im dying on the spot. Thank God (for me) now neither of them do organized sports.

    Reply

  2. Jenera
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 15:46:33

    I have only had someone witness one of my panic attacks once I think because I know they scare me, I wouldn’t want anyone else to be scared. But yes, you hit the nail on the head about the feelings. Kudos to your BFF for being supportive.

    Reply

  3. Zoe
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 22:39:28

    Hi Jill. Welcome Jenera. Thanks for the kind words about my description. It was pretty powerful to relive that as I was retelling it! Usually I try to block that stuff out and forget about it.
    Kid3 starts basketball practice Nov 1st and then the league games start soon after that. Yippee. Back to those basketball bleachers I will go. Deep breaths :)

    Glad to hear it’s not just me freaking out in the bleachers Jill!

    Reply

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This blog is my personal journal. I am trying hard to save my marriage. No, I am trying to build a great marriage. In case you haven't heard, marriage is HARD!
I am fighting back against anxiety & panic attacks. This is year 5 of this adventure. I am also codependent. I am an ACOA. Fun, Fun. I am trying hard to become a better me.
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