Okay I’ve made a decision. I figured out what I’m going back to school for. Let me just open up the school’s website so I can figure out a schedule. If I get on it fast enough I can probably even start attending classes this Summer.

Wait, this Summer? Isn’t that a bit soon? What if I haven’t chosen the right path? Maybe I should rethink this. Aubrey says I should try to talk to the adviser of the program I’m thinking about before she leaves for the Summer. Uh-oh a storm’s a’brewing.

But what exactly am I supposed to ask her? I wonder if I can get away with just sending her an e-mail. I’m a mess over the phone and I probably need to set up a time to go see her instead of just showing up at the college and hoping it’s one of her office hours.

My heart is starting to feel like it’s going to pound out of my chest. Breathe. Just breathe. In one…two…three…four. Breathe out now. C’mon, you can do it.

Hold on, I need to write down what to say! What if I stumble over my words like I usually do? Ugh, why can’t this be over? This was all so much easier the first time around. I went straight from high school to college. I was used to being in school! What if I’m not ready for the early hours and late nights again?

Why couldn’t I have just picked the right major in the first place? I switched three times when I went before and I still ended up with a useless degree. I didn’t even get a bachelor’s. If I had figured all of this out in the beginning it would have been paid for too. Now I have to figure out how long I’m going to be paying back my loans. And we’re already paying back Aubrey’s.

i’m forgetting to breathe again. When did it get so hot in here? I should take off my sweatshirt. That’d probably help. Picture the beach. The calm beach.

Where was I? Oh yeah, attempting to figure out a schedule. Why is it that the classes are at such odd hours? 6pm to 10pm one day and then 8am to 11am the next? I probably wouldn’t eat dinner until 10:30ish and then I have to be up again that early? When exactly is my homework getting done in all of this?

I have to wake up 3 hours before I need to be anywhere in order to take my thyroid pills and wait the hour before I can eat breakfast and let it digest. I really don’t need stomach cramps all day.

Why do I even think I can do this? I’ve never been good at change and especially not when everything seems to be moving so quickly. Why won’t my heart calm down? I’m trying to breathe; I’m trying! Maybe I need to pace to get rid of some of this nervous energy. My stomach is already starting to cramp and squeeze and oooh no, pacing isn’t helping. I feel like I’m going to throw up. When did the room start spinning? I used to love roller coasters, but I’d like to get off of this one right now.

It starts quickly and I don’t even realize it most of the time. It isn’t until I start wanting to run away that I realize I’m having another panic attack. They don’t usually happen at home like this one that I had yesterday afternoon. They usually start when I’m in public with no chance of escaping.

The first started at a job I had at a call center, I eventually had to quit. It was a horrible job where I got screamed at for 12-16 hours a day. I hated every minute I was there. And towards the end I would freak out every single morning. Some mornings I would call in sick, not being able to shake the hot flashes, stomach pain and persistent dizziness.

Sometimes I would make it there, but after a short while I’d have to rush out. I just couldn’t stop thinking about what was going to come next. I never knew who was going to be on the other end of the call. What was this person going to yell at me about? Oh something that wasn’t my fault in the first place and isn’t something I can do anything about? Oh yay, yet again.

Then I’d remember that it was yet another mandatory overtime day and that I wasn’t going to be home until it was time for bed. I would start shaking and sweating and wanting more than anything to just be home. The only thing that would ever stop the panic attack was leaving. You might be able to tell why I had to quit.

And since then it has happened more and more often. If I’m at a party, if I’m at a family function, it almost always seems to happen in public. I am feeling anxious, awkward and just plain out-of-place. So I start to think about how nice it’ll be to go home where I don’t have to pretend that I’m a perfectly normal human being. And then I can’t stop thinking about leaving. I will start to shake and attempt to make eye contact with Aubrey if he’s with me.

That face never works! Most of the time he doesn’t know how much turmoil I have going on inside of me. Mostly because I don’t know either! I truly never know when it’s going to strike. I can be perfectly fine for hours one night and want to leave within 15 minutes another. It is much easier to stay calm if I don’t have to make small talk with anyone.

And that’s the most frustrating part of the whole thing. The fight-or-flight response isn’t supposed to hit unless I’m actually facing danger. Is a bear running at me? No. A masked man with a gun? Huh-uh. Is a shark going to get me? Nah, that glass seems pretty sturdy.

But in reality it’s just me. And people. Very often nice people. People who just want to know how I’ve been and what’s new.

What’s new? Don’t you feel like it’s 1000 degrees in here? Don’t you think the room is spinning? Oh yeah, that’s just me. Pardon me while I stumble over these words I’m trying to get out.

I’m envious of people who can go through really trying times and come out even stronger on the other side. I tend to stick to my comfort zone and even it stresses me out sometimes.

I never used to have anxiety. I mean, I had jitters before I had to give a speech in class or something. But I was able to get through them. Now I don’t even want to try. I quit before I ever even put myself out there. It seems safer in my own bubble.

I’d like to pop the bubble and start being who I used to be. I just haven’t figured out how yet. I think this is the hardest blog I’ve ever considered posting before. I say considered because I’m not sure how much of this I will actually keep. I’m already pushing 1200 words.

I’m not typing any of this to make anyone feel sorry for me. I’m trying to think it through so I can figure out a way to deal with it. I don’t want to feel held back by my own limitations. I want to be able to change my career goals yet another time and feel good about my decisions.

I want to feel good about being me.