I wanted today to be good, for it to be within my power to make it so. It wasn’t.

We finally found a nice doctor. He hasn’t said or done anything groundbreaking. He just hasn’t been shit, which at this point feels like such a miracle that I thanked him for it at the end of our last appointment. It took me some time to get the words out of my mouth. One of the symptoms that had to be confirmed as panic-associated, and brought about broader concerns, is that when I have a bad enough attack, I can struggle to talk for a while afterwards. It’s like the words get clogged in my oesophagus. By the time I get them past throat, tongue, teeth, they’re a little mangled. I stutter. I stutter and it burns me.

I sat in the bizarre waiting room, full of people who all face one way and don’t speak to each other, and I dripped. I’ve always sweated easily, and always been pretty shy about it. There was something along the way to becoming a grown-up woman, some convergence of voices that said you’re not supposed to try. If you do anything other than sit merging with the wallpaper, you’re not supposed to show signs of effort. It’s why I like watching Etta James sing At Last live at Montreux in 1975. I wrote and published a whole academic paper about it, this monstrous management of the self women are disciplined into. And still, I can’t shake that shit. Since the panic disorder descended/ascended, the sweating is near constant. I sat in the nice doctor man’s waiting room, post-panic attack, and each lingering drop of slippery stickiness blazed a trail of my shame.

I can’t control my voice. I can’t control my brain which constantly sends SOS messages to my central nervous system, even when you know…it’s entirely fucking unnecessary. And now and then, I still can’t control my limbs. For months, the adrenal fatigue and panic attacks ravaged me. So, I also lost the taut control I’ve had on my weight for a decade. And so the merry-go-round of my eating disorder days has begun chugging fuel like tequila again.

So, today, I tried to do the mature thing and start figuring out how to dress this new body instead of just hating it, with all its out-of-nowhere stretchmarks…and seven and a half minutes in the changing room did not transform me into a new, confident, self. It transformed me into an almost-crying, bra-less, sweating girl who couldn’t walk home.

I wanted today to be good. It wasn’t. Maybe tomorrow.


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