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  • Writer's pictureJack

Panic Attack at the Station

After I started drinking again it quickly turned into heavy drinking, which Bella couldn't stand so we separated.

I moved into a bedsit in a shared house with six other bedsits in, occupied by the sort of people who end up in a place like that. People who's lives had gone wrong.

I had been burning the candle at both ends, working 60 - 80 hours a week, sometimes more and being off my face the whole time. When I wasn't in work I was blacked out to forget about work and my unfortunate life.

So many awful things happened around that time and I got myself into some really stupid situations with people that I don't want to write about right now.

More often than is appropriate I ended up miles away from home passed out on the street, not knowing how I'd got there. Apparently I'd call Bella at 'silly arse o'clock' asking her to come and pick me up. I wouldn't remember doing this, then the next time she'd come round I'd say 'How are you, I haven't seen you in ages' and she'd look slightly angry then very sad shaking her head at me like I was some kind of pathetic idiot, which I was. She'd say something like 'I've seen you twice this week, I had to drive for an hour at two in the morning to pick you up, you were on the side of the road and you'd pissed yourself'.

Bella was a most tolerant ex.

One morning when I got up for work, I had a hangover that was so unnecessary I felt like I was going to die which was quite normal. My usual routine for dealing with this was to go to the shared bathroom and puke up as much as I could muster and then return to my room and glug down enough red wine that I'd feel safe enough to go out into the world. Then I'd brush my teeth and squirt my face with aftershave in the hope that it would mask my alcoholic smell.

Something was off and as I strode to the station I felt a little shakier than usual.

As always the platform was packed full, I was sweating though which wasn't normal.

Then this thing kept happening in my head, which used to happen every so often and still sometimes does. It's like the things pictured in my head get really massive and fat and then go really skinny and small. Then it felt like my consciousness kept getting dragged out of my head and then flying back in again, like an awful intense version of that dropping feeling you get on a rollercoaster.

Something was more wrong than usual.

The train pulled in and I weaved in and out of people as I fast walked up the platform to position myself where I knew the doors would open once it stopped. Then I darted into the train and stood off to the side with my back against the wall in prime position for standing in overcrowded carriages.

The feeling in my head got worse and i was wedging myself against the wall so I didn't fall over.

I was burning up and as more and more people were boarding the train I felt like I couldn't breath. I was hyperventilating and starting to completely panic.

I knew I had to get to work but the feeling intensified and there was no way I could stay on that train. I had to squeeze through the angry oncoming traffic and staggered towards a pillar and held on.

As well as the rushing, there was a burning pain in the top left of my head, it felt like those awful special effects you see on the adverts about people having a stroke.

The muscles down one side of my body felt like they were contracting and my head was getting pulled to one side.

I was panting rapidly and my heart felt like it was jumping around in my chest.

I thought I was having a heart attack or a stroke.

I didn't realise I was having my first ever panic attack.

I remember people looking at me and this one guy sauntered past me smirking and it sounded like he said 'get a grip lad' under his breath.

I had to get our of there, so once the train pulled off, I walked tentatively back to my bedsit, everything seemed foggy and I couldn't get inside fast enough and locked my door and sat with my back to it.

I rang in sick and then drank until I felt like I could exist.

I somehow knew I was never going to go back to work at that place ever again.

I also thought that maybe it was time to get a little help.

I waited until the doctors was open and then called them.

This is part of my 'Strange and Sometimes Troubled Memories' series.

There will be twenty-one paintings each with a blog post which will culminate in an exhibition with the paintings and writings alongside.

Like and subscribe and all that.

Share if you can.

Thank you for reading.

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4 comentários

21 de mar. de 2023

Is that David Thewlis in the foreground?!

22 de mar. de 2023
Respondendo a

Yes it's based on him because in my mind that's how I remember the smirking guy who muttered under his breath looking.


Mac’s Art Mojo
Mac’s Art Mojo
21 de mar. de 2023

Weird to say this, but I was actually looking forward to reading the memory behind this painting, though the situation was clear from the title. Another truly frightening episode Jack and one that, understandably, is not easy to forget or dismissed. Again it triggered a memory I had long forgotten, not of a similar nature, but a kind of out of body experience I once had. I hope you don't mind me sharing it with you here? I was bullied at school, mostly by a trio of arseholes who thought it clever to humiliate myself and/or one or two others in front of everyone. They always hung around together or with their eager sidekicks, so it was rare to catch…

22 de mar. de 2023
Respondendo a

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. Sorry my phone has been foooked so I only just got the comments come through.

That's a crazy experience about the lad and amazingly written, you should start writing all this stuff down, I'm glad reading this brought the memory out.

I was bullied a bit too but never got to get back at them, I just stopped going to school, I still would like to kick their arses if I ever saw them again 😄

Thank you for your kind words.

There's only a couple left to do in this series now, then there will be an exhibition and I want to do a print on demand…

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