It is just a little catch in the back of my throat. Almost like the feeling when you are eating crackers and breath in a little piece. Not enough to make you cough, just enough that you know it is there. I don’t know why it is coming, I just know it feels like it is. No! Oh, shit no! Not now. Not here. Not today.
What just happened? I was fine five minutes ago. All I did was to turn the wheel of my truck and pull in this parking lot. Yet I feel my breath getting short, like I have just run here instead of driving. Just let me get pulled in and stopped. Damn it is warm in here all of a sudden. There, there is a spot. Just stop there. The walk in will help you. You’re fine, just get out of the truck and get some air.
Left arm, here we go. I said out of the truck. All starts with you big guy. Reach up and pull the handle.
But it won’t listen. It won’t move, just a dead log at the end of my shoulder. Get out of the truck, get OUT of the truck, GET ME OUT OF THIS FUCKING TRUCK!
Breathe man. Relax. Count, do your breathing. In through the nose 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 hold 2, 3 and out 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Can’t do that, I’m going to suffocate. Feel like I can’t breathe fast enough. My face is on fire. Why is it so hot in here? I’m sweating. Pouring with sweat. Breathing isn’t working. NOTHING is working. My forehead is covered in sweat and I can feel it rolling down my back. I’m going to have to change shirts when I leave here. Again.
Close your eyes. Concentrate. Count. Breathe. You have done this thousands of times. You have got this man, come on. 7 minutes? Have I really been sitting here for 7 minutes? I still don’t know what happened. I didn’t notice anybody or anything weird, just all of a sudden it started. Why do I do this? Just freaking relax. Breathe. You do this every day. This time is no different than all of the others.
There you go. Breathe. Count. Slow your thoughts. You are ok. See, it is ok. Pulse is slowing down, so that is good. Getting all the way through my breathing exercises. Whew. Keep breathing. Still so damn hot in here though. Ok, let’s get out. Nice slow walk to the door. Catch your breath. Wipe the sweat off of your face and plaster on that fake smile. There you go.
Alright. Nice and easy. Out the door. Legs are a little wobbly but we are ok. Walk, nice and slow. Breathe. Smile. Don’t forget to smile. How many people have noticed me sitting there for so long? Oh who cares! You probably don’t know anybody here. Just keep your eyes down and don’t look at anyone just in case.
Please don’t be anyone else waiting. I can’t stand here and wait. I am still just barely under control. Ok good. Nobody at the counter. Handle your business and let’s go. Something still doesn’t feel right.
Walking to the counter feels like something out of a dream. The more steps I take the further is seems to get. Get in, get done and get out. That’s all you have to do.
You’ve got this. Lot to do today and a ton of other people to see. Just another stop in your day. Man up!
“Can I help you?”
Swallow hard. Smile. Big smile! Sound confident, not like a guy that was just freaking out in the parking lot. Big smile.
“Can I get 2 cans of Copenhagen Long Cut, please?”
Sometimes, there is no trigger. Sometimes, it isn’t even a taks that normally would cause anxiety. They just happen. And they suck.