Monday, September 12, 2011


     We were reminded yesterday of the panic that struck the U.S. ten years ago. Panic can also strike us from within. If you've never had a panic attack, I know it sounds silly, irrational and unexplainable. I agree but it is also a real and all-consuming fear with a paralyzing effect.
     This happened to me while driving during 1998, I think. I had heard on the news the danger of airbags killing people. As I drove home from work on the freeway, the thought of this happening scared me and I decided to not take the freeway to and from work anymore. So driving home through town had its own challenges. After working 8 hours, I was pretty tired. It became increasingly difficult, in my mind at least, to stop and go thru all the traffic and stop lights. My 20 minute drive home soon became a 2 hour drive. The fear of not being able to brake was like a pressure cooker building with steam. I had to pull over every lil bit and calm myself with deep breathing, regroup and go again. This went on for 2-3 months. Sure people asked where I was and I just said I made a few stops along the way. True, in a skewed kinda way. I didn't tell a soul because what would I do if I couldn't drive???  One day I came to a busy intersection in the middle of town and I literally could not move. My fear-stricken face must have been visible from far, far away. Before I even had a chance to consider what to do, a man from the adjacent street got out of his truck and asked me if I needed help. Normally I would never, but in this case, I scooted over to the passenger seat and let him drive to the Pizza Hut parking lot at that intersection. Sure a million bad things could have happened to me at that moment but I think it was a Good Samaritin moment sent from above. I finally told someone and was asked 'why didn't you use the hand controls?' My fear was so powerful over me, I never thought of that and it was there all along. My mom came up that weekend and helped me practice driving with the hand controls. I drove safely and comfortably for the next 5 years.
     Don't let fears of anything consume you. Talk it over with someone. The solution may be right at your fingertips.