Fight or Flight

Yesterday I nearly broke.

The body can only hold so much fear before it snaps. I found myself wishing that yes, finally, I was having a full-on panic attack, that I would finally run screaming out of the room, or break down crying, or throw up, so that at least I would have an excuse to go home. I held on, as I always do—though whether through professionalism or masochism, I couldn’t say. I kept on breathing. Kept walking. Didn’t let them see me bleed.

In a way, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve gone this long, since a perverse part of me thinks that enduring pain makes me morally superior to those who dish it out.

When I got home I could barely stand. Barely think. That’s the scariest thing of all: the way I can feel parts of my brain—my greatest asset, the thing I’ve spent my entire life developing– shutting down, all non-essential functions closed to power the survival instinct. Memory, creativity, empathy, motivation: all cut off by the root need to run of fight.

Today I woke with a headache from nowhere: usually I might get a few a year, but these days it’s always there, like someone wrapped my brain in barbed wire. My energy had not returned. I made myself run—I hadn’t gone for a run for three weeks due to a pain in my ankle, but I had no choice: I could no longer stand the feel of cold adrenaline coagulating in my veins, and I had to burn it away. My cardio was shot to hell, and I only completed half my usual route, but I felt better. My ankle is still screaming it’s protest, but there it is: hurting my body because my mind has to heal.

I’m scared to go to sleep. Not because I’m afraid I won’t, but because tomorrow I have to do it all over again.