Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.





I went back to college at the ripe old age of 38.   I had some college CREDITS (one or two) but I wanted that (mainly useless) piece of paper that said I was “edd-u-kated” and it was OFFICIAL.

Feh. It turned out that it was really JUST A PIECE OF PAPER (like my marriage license) and as useful for wallpaper as anything else.  

Anyway, I had to take most of the ‘general ed’ courses because I had mostly none of them and those I DID have were outdated (well it’d been what .. 16 years since I’d been in school, so obviously what I learned was outdated).   

The most substantial thing I learned at college (fancy name..it was a TRADE SCHOOL) was that I had social anxiety.  Big time.  




I had always LOATHED being the center of attention, I did not “do” public speaking (unless tortured and forced to) and I really did prefer my own company to that of crowds.   And I didn’t like other people very much at all.

Enter a Machiavellian instructor.

adjective :   cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous
He was some few years YOUNGER than I was..maybe 35 or 33 or something, a superior and smug individual who thought he was a combination of Lenny Bruce (if you don’t know who HE is, go look it up) and George Clooney (a hottie of the time, and the instructor, who was fat and hairy, did NOT resemble Mr. Clooney at ALL),  and funnier than Robin Williams.  He was NONE of those things, but he was a world-class tool.
Well to ME.  One day I came into his classroom a bit late and found there were NO SEATS.   And Mr. Fat Ass Instructor was sitting in what I considered “MY” chair.   He winked at me and leaned back (straining the chair and the law of physics) and said:  “Oh just sit on the floor.  Who d’you think you ARE anyway?  Queen of the chair??”
I had my first full-blown panic attack.   Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak..I thought for a horrible minute I was going to puke on him.   I ran out the door and into the safety of the “Ladies” where he could NOT follow.
Sat with my head between my knees for a long time just trying to catch my breath.  My imagination ran rampant with images of torture that I would inflict on the fat faced guffawing buffoon.   After I could breathe again, and was sure it wasn’t a heart attack, I gathered up my books and purse and I left the school for the day.   In those days I drank ( I don’t any longer, but still remember it quite fondly time to time) and cranberry and vodka over ice was on the menu of beverages for my evening.  And an offer from hubby to go punch the fat creep in the nose helped…



Still.  I almost didn’t go back at all, but I could hear my mother’s voice saying “CAN’T is a quitter, too lazy to try…”    Thanks Ma.  You got me through that particular crisis.
I did go back to school, to Mr. Fat Ass’s class and I graduated with my paper diploma in hand.   The instructor actually seemed abashed the next day and apologized profusely.   Seems his wife (or mother, I never did sort out WHO) was prone to panic attacks and gave him a verbal hiding for subjecting me to one.    And he never EVER sat in “my” chair again.




Panic is not funny.  It’s a left-over auto-response to the hazards of life when we still lived in caves and could be eaten or killed in a variety of gruesome ways.  It was apparently developed in the homo sapien to save our lives.  Life span was maybe 30 years of age and maybe being “afraid” helped bolster that number sometimes.   Hey!  Sometimes that sounds damn good actually.  

It comes down to a ‘fight or flight” automatic response…and my particular poison (as it were) is “flight”.  

The coward who doesn’t fight and runs away

Lives to be ashamed another day…

(apologies to whomever wrote the original ditty which I have here used for my own purpose)..

I got some valium after that and it seemed to help on those occasions (which mercifully have been rare) when a panic attack seemed probable.   It was a bad thing though, because I used those pills in a suicide attempt later in life.   

I was then put on Xanax, which I found to work beautifully.    Until someone stole my mostly full prescription (27 of 30 pills) because (apparently) some idiots use that stuff to get high.  WTF?    I’ve never had any anti-anxiety medication since.   Nobody wants to prescribe it for me for some reason (maybe because of the suicide attempt).   

'And me fresh out of xanax.'


These days the panic attack isn’t a reality…mostly.  On a recent family vacation I approached both my general physician and my psychotherapist to get a prescription of Xanax because I thought it better to be proactive than reactive and I suspected strongly that I’d have at least one episode of stress related panic during that ‘vacation’.   And I was right as it turned out.   But neither of those doctors would prescribe it.  My G.P. acted as though I’d asked her for crack.   She prescribed something else, which I never got filled, because when I then went to the psychotherapist to tell him that my GP would NOT fill a Xanax prescription and told him what she HAD prescribed, he was horrified.  I don’t recall what medication it was, but it was (even to me, a lay woman) wildly inappropriate for the situation.   And interacted with my anti-depressant.   As I thought.  

I’m in the process now of switching GPs because my faith in her has been shattered and her reaction to the request for Xanax was so out of whack.   I wonder what bad experience has rendered her so implacable about that particular drug.   Maybe she has addicts who seek it or something.  I don’t know, and I’m not motivated to find out.   I AM disappointed though, because I’ve seen that doctor for four years and a bit now and she “should” know I’m not an addict and didn’t make the request lightly.  Whatever.  

I got through the vacation with only my anti-depressant and things were mostly just fine.  One episode of full blown panic and a couple of smaller ones, but nothing I didn’t handle, so it’s all good.   And perhaps it’s best I don’t have access to the Xanax.  Not if some out-of-their minds-with-stupidity are going around stealing it to get high with.  That still floors me with shock.  But reminds me I don’t know everything, not by a long freakin’ chalk.  

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