Panic in a McDonald’s restaurant – you deserve a breakdown today

A girl never forgets her first panic attack.

It occurred on a sunny, cloudless spring morning 19 years ago in – of all undignified places – a McDonald’s restaurant.

Thinking back it might have inspired a whole new twist to that business’ popular advertising campaign.

You deserve a breakdown today.

The morning was remarkable only for its complete ordinary nature. Up at seven, one kid to school, another to playgroup and toted the baby to the office to catch up on emails and check on the newspaper.

Back in the day, maternity leave was just a euphemism for breastfeeding at your desk.

Hit the grocery store, the post office and the bank, picked up the playgrouper and drove out the highway for a hamburger and a Happy Meal, all the while feeling on top of the world.

Mommy what’s wrong? Don’t you like your lunch?

He was playing with his food and watching while the woman in charge slumped over the table, rested her head on a pile of french fries and lost the ability to speak.

Is that what a stroke feels like? A heart attack? A seizure? It was baffling and terrifying, to say nothing of the humiliation.

Several hours later, stretched out in the emergency room of the local hospital, there was still no acceptable explanation for the symptoms; shortness of breath, nausea, blurred vision, dizziness, feelings of dread.

We’d run the gamut – blood work, EKG, oxygen, aspirin, nitroglycerin.

Noting my agitation, the doctor bent down and whispered, so no one else could hear.

It’s okay. You are not going to die.

It was the right thing to say in that it was both comforting and made me laugh.

Are you serious? Everybody dies. Don’t they cover that in medical school? What kind of doctor are you?

He sat on the edge of the bed and took my hand.

You are not crazy. You are not even sick. You are overwhelmed.

Shaking his head regretfully, he said his small urgent care centre saw dozens of young women in similar circumstances, every month.

An indication of the subsequent uptick in my mood was the awareness that the doctor was attractive, and that there was ketchup in my hair.

Panic and anxiety can be managed with counseling, improved lifestyle choices, and sometimes medication.

Or it can be as simple as slowing down, not trying to eat the whole mastodon in one sitting, on any given day.

I found a popular homeopathic therapy called Rescue Remedy, that was quite useful. Three drops under the tongue at the onset of anxious feelings.

Our general practitioner read the active ingredients with interest. Eighteen per cent grape alcohol combined with an infusion of wildflower petals.

Rescue Remedy, she declared, is $30-an-ounce wine.

Well, different strokes for different folks.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association one third of people have experienced a panic attack, and four per cent of the population suffers from a panic disorder.

Sometimes it helps just to know you aren’t the only one.

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shuswap boy wins stick from hockey hero with rock, paper, scissors

Chase’s Payton Koch’s exchange with Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala caught on camera

Salmon Arm gives tax break to Canoe Forest Products plywood plant

Company tax bill to be reduced while residential taxpayers to pick up shortfall

Rezoning proposed for Salmon Arm farmland to allow for future development

Portion of parcel in agricultural land reserve will be sold to large-scale farming operation

Salmon Arm truck stop task force on hold

Mayor waiting on highway construction and related negotiations

Collision at Salmon Arm intersection

Emergency crews responding

Morning Start: Abraham Lincoln’s dog was also assassinated

Your morning start for Thursday, February 27, 2020

Penticton RCMP seeking suspect of vandalism to Chinese place of gathering

RCMP are investigating a reported incidence of vandalism after an alleged racially-motivated attack

Penticton bylaw officers tear down homeless man’s camp

Bylaw had “serious” safety and fire concerns about the dwelling in the Skaha Lake parking lot.

Pedestrian struck by vehicle in Vernon

Patient was taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital around 8:30 a.m. Thursday

UPDATE: Boy, 5, will donate organs after crash that killed father, son on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Most Read