ANOTHER EXCITING EXCERPT FROM “COUNTER-ATTACK,” MY NOVEL ABOUT A YOUNG GIRL’S BOUT WITH AGORAPHOBIA AND PANIC ATTACKS

Caryn Burke is trying to cope with the most overwhelming time of her life. She has recently experienced agoraphobia, (fear of the outside world”, and accompanying panic attacks. No one seems to understand her, not even her parents, family doctor or closest friend. What is she going to do?

She has made several attempts to go along with her life, as though nothing has changed. But something has changed, and she realizes that, if she does not accept that and do something to alleviate her newfound condition, her life will never be the same!

Today I am going to show you Caryn’s panic attack in the department store to which Caryn and her friend, Jennie, have gone.

“When we got to the entrance of the department store, I boldly walked into the lobby. Then it happened. For no logical reason, I just stopped dead in my tracks and looked around me as though the place were really awesome. I couldn’t count the number of times I’d been in here before with my mom, Jen and lots of my other friends, but for that moment, I felt as though I were in there for the first time.

“If Jen noticed anything funny about the way I acted, she didn’t let on. ‘The pre-teen and junior blouses are upstairs,’ she reminded me gently as she walked over to the elevator. ‘come on,’ she said when she saw I wasn’t moving.

“I felt like a zombie as I followed Jennie to the elevator. My arms and legs felt like mush, and my hands were getting sweaty. Even my eyes weren’t feeling normal. Everything seemed blurred, and the glare from the fluorescent lighting was blinding me.

“We’ll get your blouse first and then I want to look at some jeans. Mine are getting positively threadbare,” Jen rambled on while I backed up into the elevator, watching as hordes of people crowded into it. My heart was racing and I wanted to scream, but no sound came out. I felt like I was dying, and all I knew was that I had to get out of that elevator and out of the whole department store. Somehow, I knew if I got out of that elevator and out of the whole department store, everything would be all right. But I had to get home first. That was the only important thing now. I had to get home.

“The elevator stopped, and all the people got off. I could feel Jen pushing me in frustration as I just stood there, feeling totally confused and dreadfully sick. I think the psychologists call it ‘disorientation’.

” ‘What’s the matter with you?’ Jen finally yelled when nothing else seemed to work. ‘You’re as white as a ghost. Do you want me to call a doctor or something?’

” ‘Just get me home,’ I said slowly, between breaths, and beginning to pant a little. When my eyes started to fill up, she began to move.

“‘We’ll get you downstairs first in the elevator,’ she announced, sounding more like her mom every minute, ‘and then I’ll call a cab…unless you want me to call your mom.’

” ‘A cab,’ I said, my head swimming and my brain trying as hard as it could to keep control. Dear God, I prayed, please let me get through this. Let me not faint.

‘Let me not die. Please let me get through this somehow. Please let me get through this somehow. Please let me.”

Now let’s see what happened as Jennie calls the cab and she and Caryn take the short ride to Caryn’s house.
REMEMBER: WHEN I WROTE THE FIRST DRAFT OF THIS NOVEL IN 1980, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THERE WERE NO CELL PHONES INVENTED YET!

“I held onto the door of the outside phone booth, gulping the fresh air, as Jennie made her call. I tried to take deep breaths, but they didn’t seem to help much. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity or two, the cab arrived, and Jennie helped me inside.

“The cab driver took one look at me and asked what was wrong. ‘She’s been sick with a virus or something,’ Jennie lied. ‘I guess she’s gone out too soon.’

” ‘Are you sure you don’t want me to take you to the emergency room?’

” ‘No,’ Jen said decisively, probably remembering how scared I was of first aid stations and doctors. ‘Her mom will know what to do when we get her to her house.’

” ‘Okay, young lady, but it looks to me like she’s hyperventilating. At least, let her breathe into this paper bag,’ he said, grabbing a paper bag from somewhere under the front seat. ‘I come prepared with these since I had a few emergencies like these over the years. New Yorkers sure seem to be nervous these days. I guess it’s the way we have to live. Terrorism, high taxes, unemployment, plutonium levels in the drinking water, nuclear reactors leaking…and let’s not forget about the bomb.’

“Jen passed me the bag, and I began to breathe into it. If it weren’t for the cheerful conversation of the cabbie, I might have begun to feel better. But at least my breathing was more even, and I didn’t feel as frightened.

“By the time we reached my house, I had already taken out my key. I got out of the cab by myself and opened the door as Jen paid the cabbie and ran along after me. I knew nobody would be home, and that relieved me more than anything else. When I closed the door behind Jen and me, I felt warm and safe. My arms and legs felt like limbs again, and my heartbeat had slowed down a whole lot. The house had become my refuge, and in my heart, I knew that I never wanted to leave it again.”

Yes, those were indeed intense moments for Caryn, just as they are every day in real life for those people (millions, in fact), who suffer from anxiety conditions, manifested by panic attacks. In the next few days, I will provide more excerpts from my novel as you follow Caryn’s journey towards the help that she so desperately needs. Until the next post, enjoy every moment of your life.

Best wishes,
Cheryl

One Response to “ANOTHER EXCITING EXCERPT FROM “COUNTER-ATTACK,” MY NOVEL ABOUT A YOUNG GIRL’S BOUT WITH AGORAPHOBIA AND PANIC ATTACKS”

  1. lod3425 says:

    I hope you enjoyed today’s post and will visit my website regularly. I will be featuring “Counter-Attack” this week and part of next, but then I will move on to another of my novels. If you would like to learn more about my books, they are available on Amazon and you can even read “inside the book” to get a better idea of whether you would like to purchase one of my books for yourself or for a friend. Any comments or questions? Leave a comment for me or send me an e-mail at ch571324@aim.com. Best wishes always, Cheryl