That sudden jolt, and you bolt upright in bed. Breathing heavy and briefly terrified, it’ll be a while before you doze off again. It’ll be minutes before you remember it’s nothing, and there is nothing to be afraid of.
Christopher Nolan’s characters called it a kick – ‘a quick sensation of falling that can startle the sleeper awake.’ There are moments in an anxious person’s life where these sensations pop in unannounced like a cramp in your calf as you greet the day with a refreshing morning stretch. Its less a cramp, really…more a shotgun blast arriving at any random part of the day; a slap in the face with an ice cold tea kettle and it’s as scary a thing as whatever you can imagine.
For that second it feels like your brain may explode. Or, perhaps, just one small – but surely important – bit of it. That bit you’d been saving for later. You know you’ll need it, but you’re not sure why or for what. Regardless, it’s exploding would ruin what plans you’d had yet to lay. This, as you can imagine, is upsetting.
That sudden jolt, and you shake your head fiercely. You blink hard and with purpose. Yes, this vents some pressure, but there are artifacts as your body dropped adrenaline like kerosene on the problem and you’re left in an extremely precarious state. The world’s a volatile place for someone hanging from the edge of a cliff.
The wall of some stupid blood vessel somewhere deep within you is popping rivets and your limbs have been drained. Each hand, a crooked nightmare as you hunch into a worthless ball of fright and begin to freeze.
I suppose flight is out of the question now, so that leaves fight. Again.
Breathing is important. Let’s not forget to breathe. Those shallow meaningless wisps you’d been clinging to won’t save you now. Focus on the belly, breathe from it. Distract yourself with things about the room. Don’t think about anything you see or hear or smell. Try not to feel anything. Just witness. Heed more and these things will undoubtedly be the end of you.
Drift away and wilt upon your world. Take it’s shape and blend into it. It’s not so bad, to disappear…there’s a certain amount of relief that comes with ceasing to be.
That sudden jolt, and you’re alive. Sure, you’re happy to not be dead…but there’s room for improvement. We could all use some improvement somewhere. Each morning of every day, we nervously approach our world and become surrounded by millions of little individually meaningless moments intertwined to form something of substance. Tiny bursts of chemicals and our muscles ache and our minds explode off the line toward the next opportunity to just close our eyes, drift away…and remind ourselves to not panic.
“Focus on the belly, breathe from it.”