I’ll Panic Later

I’m not one to lose it in the moment. The more serious the problem the more composed I seem.

I’ll navigate through the hurricane…and collapse a week later.

The worst thing I’ve ever heard someone at the wheel say to me: I feel like I’m going to pass out.

My mind races with possibilities. A car slamming into us from behind. Her passing out and the car swerving into traffic. What to do. What to do.

I calmly tell her to pull to the side. She signals and brakes. I reach over and cock the wheel into a nearby driveway.

I get her to ease up on the brake. The car inches into the driveway.

I tell her to brake. Then I put the car in park and turn it off.

We sit there. I stay calm. Eerily calm. Because that is what I do.

I repress in the moment and deal when there is time to do so.

I wait until her dizziness eases and then we switch seats.

I take over the driving.

We have lunch.

I come home.

But I can’t get the emotions to surface again. I guess I buried them too deep.

And a week later, my neck is spasming and I’m having nerve pain in my hand.

I’ll panic later has its consequences.

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40 Responses to I’ll Panic Later

  1. kford2007 says:

    My husband is like that…calm as can be during but falls apart later. I tend to handle other people’s emergencies well, dealing with the stress at the moment, but freak out over my own. I woke up one morning with up half my face swollen and drooping. I thought I’d had a stroke in the middle of the night. It ended up being an allergic reaction to some hand cream I got too close to my eyes, but I totally flipped out.

    Having kids has taught me I can’t freak out when it comes to accidents, etc. As a mom, I do what I have to do, say a lot of prayers and fidget a lot. Being strong for them keeps them strong. I wish I could apply the same mentality to my own issues instead of weeping like a baby when I get scared.

    • It’s weird, I can stay calm when it’s me, unless there is my blood. The sight of it makes me dizzy and lightheaded. Then the fear becomes will I pass out and hit my head? When I lived alone that was a scary scary thought.

      I would have freaked if that happened to my face too. It’s good for your kids that you stay calm with their accidents. Kids need to feel like it will be okay. Better to panic over yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. La La says:

    Woah, that’s exactly what I do. Exactly.

  3. Leon Shure says:

    The worst thing I’ve ever heard while driving: I was in a cab in a Southern state traveling at 60 m.p.h. It was a hot day, the cab had no air conditioning and the windows were open.
    The cab driver hit the back of his neck and said, “Damn, I hope that I wasn’t just stung by a bee. I pass out when I’m stung by a bee!”

  4. Kourtney, you are talking about my life — I’ll panic later is my mantra. Or ‘You always want me around in an emergency’. LOL but with time, stress and tension just automatically hide in my body rather than showing up in my consciousness and that is not good. thanks for the reminder.

    • Louise, I was still dealing with the end of a friendship and holding a lot in there. I’d cried and moped about it, but I wasn’t over it. I was just actively not thinking about it. Which in itself is stressful. So this was just another burst of stress that proved too much. I’m going to try to take better stock of my emotional state and vent before it reaches this point again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’m one to put things off until later to panic about myself. Not necessarily a good thing however I would like to have you riding shotgun in that situation.

    • It’s an important survival skill, but I shouldn’t have let myself convince me I was fine. I’m just so darn convincing sometimes. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚ The upside was that a potential catastrophe was adverted. Downside is my hand is stinging from a pinched nerve in my neck and shoulder. I’d rather this than have had a bad car accident.

  6. crubin says:

    I’ve always been amazed how we can brush something off, only to have it resurface both mentally and physically a few days later. The mind’s way of coping, I suppose. Glad no one was injured.

    • I’m glad I stayed calm and was able to talk the driver through the situation. It almost felt like a non-event because the outcome was so good. Maybe that’s why I didn’t cry or freak out afterwards. I guess I should have just sat down and punched a pillow. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Whew! You are the calm in the storm. Rolled all that panic up and tucked it away until time and place to deal with it. Great for then – but the body can only hold it so long. Glad you are (mostly)OK. Can you swim anywhere? Soothes the body, low impact, reduces stress. Hugs!

    • It’s funny because I have meltdowns over stupid stuff like the wi-fi going down or not being able to open a jar of pickles. But the big stuff, that’s when I go into lock down. The problem was I am so good at suppressing stuff, I decided it must not have freaked me out. LOL. Wrong. I am going to the beach tomorrow. Walking and swimming might ease some of the tension in my shoulders. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hugs.

  8. Glad things weren’t more serious. Take care of you.

    • Me too! It was a really really awesome outcome compared to what could have happened. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going to cut back the computer time and try to do some relaxing stuff this weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. So glad you lived to tell the tale! You did exactly the right thing, Kourtney.

    Last week in Maine at my son’s graduation, a giant truck ran us off the road–didn’t stop, didn’t respond to my husband’s honking–might not even have seen us. Luckily for us there was decent shoulder and Thom was able to regain control of the car and everything was okay, like nothing had ever happened. It does make you realize that life is like that–every time you get behind the wheel, ever step you take, you are vulnerable. But life goes on–usually–and we just have to be careful and grateful and go one living our lives.

    • Thanks Naomi! ๐Ÿ™‚

      That sounds so harrowing. Glad that you and your family are alright. What a horrible experience. It really makes you realize how short life might be.

  10. zelmare says:

    that sounds a good way to be in a bad situation. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. jmmcdowell says:

    Whew, take care of yourself, girl!

    If I’m the only one who can do something in an emergency setting, I can usually do it. And like you, the stress hits me later. But if I know someone else can handle things, I’m more than willing to let them be the leader and hero.

    Swimming, a massage, yoga, a good walkโ€”do them all. They’re all good for the mind and body. And do ease back on the computer timeโ€”hard as it can be. But a refreshed mind and body will likely make you more productive after the break.

    • JM, great advice! I’m doing beach time tomorrow, a massage on Saturday, and lots of reading and immersing myself in novels this weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a waiting game to get the muscles to relax. I’m easing up on the typing this week too. But I’m almost done drafting my novel and I really want to finish it. Trying to take lots of breaks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • jmmcdowell says:

        Those muscles will take their own time! Just be careful of your reading positionโ€”I’ve gotten stiff neck and shoulder muscles when I was so sucked into the story that I didn’t realize I was sitting in a very UNergonomic position! ๐Ÿ™‚

        • A week to get tense, a month to relax seems to be the rule of thumb. ๐Ÿ™ I lay in bed to read. It seems to help. I’m switching up positions often though. Just hate being in pain. Grrr.

  12. Another similarity between us, Kourtney! A strength in many ways. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. klynwurth says:

    Wow, what an experience and to think you lived to tell about it. People say that about me too, that I am calm when something happens. That served me well when I was a physician’s assistant and other times in my life, but like you, I always paid for it later. Take care, really good care…

    • Wow, I can’t imagine how much of a toll that job must have taken. You are stronger than bedrock.
      It was really surreal. Like I knew we were in serious trouble but I was so composed. It was almost like part of me was watching the entire thing unfold and part of me was saving our butts. Thanks, Kelly. I’ve had these muscle knots around my shoulder for 15 years. It’s just when they go active that it’s agony. It’s causing me a good amount of physical pain. And making me terribly irritable.

  14. 4amWriter says:

    Your friend was very lucky you were there with her. I’m glad everyone is safe and sound. Sorry about the aftershocks, though. I think that’s a common behavior in many people–for instance I recently endured an emotionally stressful 2 weeks straight, and my left eye has been twitching off and on since. Related? Probably.

    • Definitely. I hate when my eye twitches. Hope you have time to relax this weekend or expel some of the stress. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah, it could have been tragic if I wasn’t there. It’s only been a couple days of pain this week. Trying to relax, but it’s hard to relax when I’m in pain. But the pain won’t go until I relax.

  15. Samir says:

    I know exactly what you mean. The only difference is, I am drained from the experience the same night when I go to bed… I don’t think it ever resurfaced a week later. Does it catch you off guard when it resurfaces or do you have clues that indicate it’s coming, it’s gonna happen?

    On the bright side, it’s better to be clam while the danger is actually there ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • The scary thing is how easily I can convince myself I’m fine. I once sat with a broken arm for 8 hours because I refused to admit it was broken. It kinda does. I felt a couple twinges in my neck but I had no idea it was this stress taking physical form. Because I denied that there was stress. It’s always after the fact that I can trace the physical pain to the root cause. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I am glad I stayed calm in the car. Otherwise, who knows what would have happened?

  16. Yatin says:

    Some people are blessed with delayed panic response. Meaning they don’t panic at the moment of crisis and the much needed calmness helps them to navigate out of the murky waters. I am the one who foresees the situation (real or mirage) and panic beforehand. If I manage to come out of panic but before meeting the situation I am good at handling that. That doesn’t always happen though. The worst is when my per-situation panic greet the situation triggered panic. I am still working on it on how to derive fruitful results out of it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I panic beforehand over little things like speeches. Dread them for days. It horrible. How do you get yourself out of the panic beforehand? It’s awesome that you are working on it. I’m learning to express myself in the moment and not bottle everything up, but also to remain calm when I’m boiling over on the inside. ๐Ÿ™‚

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