Have any of you had a panic attack before? I've heard them described, but never truly understood until yesterday. Remember that whole going in the ditch thing around Christmas? It's actually in the post below this. I didn't say much about it, just that it rained and the car went in the median and we needed a tow. I briefly mentioned that a slightly further distance sliding could have ended up with the car flipping, but the whole paragraph is written in an amusing sort of way. Yesterday I realized that it wasn't so amusing.
It was raining, slightly. Late afternoon, the sun was hiding behind clouds and preparing to set. Whatever, I've driven in blizzards before, it had been warm all day so I knew there was no ice on the roads. Hmmm, I'm going 65 when the speed limit is 70? That's fine, a bit of caution never hurt anybody. OK, some more caution and I'll slow down to 60 (and get passed by a driver's ed car). Ummmm, the water looks deeper, I don't like going 60. 55 is a good speed, I like 55. But the water's even deeper, at least 6 inches of water on the road and it gets deeper every time my wipers go across the window. Every time I blink I feel the car floating on top of the water, so I have to force my eyes to stay open so the car will stay on the road. Please, God, help me. I start singing songs from my college bible study group, they have calmed me through so many rough drives. My voice is so quiet and shaky that even I can't tell if I'm saying a word. Oh no, the water is at least a foot deep, I can't see the road anymore, just a flood of water.
Oh, please, where is that rest area, I know it's at mile marker 174, how far is that from here? 11 miles. I can stop there and take off my coat and relax for a minute, then I'll be fine. 8 miles, if only there was somewhere else to stop sooner. 7 miles, I need the rest area, I have to get out of the car. 4 miles, ok I'm almost there, I can do this. 3 miles, I can't do this, please, God, direct my car and keep me safe, I can't do it alone. 2 miles, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. 1 mile, my hands are shaking, I can't let go of the steering wheel or even slide them to a different position. The offramp, 100 more yards to the parking area. The very first parking space. Call R, stop breathing, cry in panic.
By the time I got out of the car (and ran away from it), my heart was pounding so hard I could hear it. Except my heart was nowhere inside my body, I couldn't feel it anywhere. My throat was closed, but I was breathing so hard I felt like my lungs would explode. Nowhere felt safe, I could still smell the rain, hear it when the door opened, feel it where it had attacked me and wet my hair as I ran inside. I could see my car through the window, the vehicle that would surely float down the river that used to be a road and crash into everything in sight.
It took R, my mom, my brother CML, and my aunt (who just happens to be a nurse) to calm me down over the phone. And that took 45 minutes, plus a couple backslides when the rain picked up and I could hear it hit the skylights. It was 30 minutes after that before my brother got there to pick me up (he was an hour away, and it took 15 minutes to coordinate the pick-up), including a couple more calls to mom or R or my aunt when something else caused me to panic again. It felt like the entire world was conspiring to make me as scared as possible, and it was succeeding.
I stayed with uncle Tattoo last night (his house was the closest one to get to and even in the back seat, rocking, with my eyes closed I couldn't handle being in a car any longer than absolutely necessary). We rented a couple movies. He mocked me for being scared of the rain but wanting a shower to help me relax (yes, I do see the irony there, but they are totally different in my head, and that's all that matters). Yeah, we're at the point where we can make fun of me with words. My brother thinking he's being funny and squiggling the steering wheel? Not ready for that yet. He realized his mistake on that one and begged me not to shoot him in the head once the car stopped. I obliged, but I've made the mental note that I get one free super-bitchy moment to make up for him scaring me.
Why didn't R come get me, since I was pretty much halfway? That would be because the brake line in his truck blew over the weekend. I don't have the exact details, such as hole vs. broke in half, but I do know it's broken and the truck does not stop. So, he couldn't come. He called both sets of neighbors and neither was home.
I did drive home today, in the mist/sprinkling rain. But it was daylight and I wasn't hallucinating lakes in the road. R asked me to pick him up from work, since he had to get a ride in today due to the brakes on the truck. I can't do it. I got here from the rest area, but only because I had to. Stepping out of the car is the safest feeling I've ever had, I can't handle getting into it unless I have no choice. I don't have to drive again until next Thursday when I pick up Little H again. Pray for no rain for me.
*edit* Although I say that the water was a foot deep, it really wasn't. There wasn't even a layer on the road, just that the road was damp. But when you're freaking out, a little hallucinating is to be expected...