During A Panic Attack, Ice Can Reset (Or, Why Do the Birds Sing At Midnight?)

Sequins on Sundays
5 min readMay 31, 2022
Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash

Trigger warning: Content contains sexual assault and abuse.

I was so bold when I began this journey of healing from childhood sexual abuse and assault. Bold and somewhat naive. I may have rushed into the writing about it when I started doing so back in February, just three months ago. I’ve always felt I was running to catch a train that had left the station. This is to say, I feel I’m not doing enough if I’m not productive. That said, I had only just begun to remember that my mother was my chief abuser. Perhaps that’s a little early to share it with the world, no matter how confident you are. Each time I press “publish” I’m wracked with guilt at having betrayed my mother and shamed her. Never mind how many times she may have almost killed me. But I often feel wired and I believe my brother is coming to kill me. I’m sure of it.

I’m passing into that time of night when my brain stops working, all of my smart coping methods stop working, and I descend into panic, for hours. It’s torture. I don’t even have good words to write about it. But write about it I must. Last night I chewed on ice for three hours, just sat in bed and chewed ice, eyes closed, body shaking with fear and cold, wearing a t-shirt and shorts, windows wide open letting in the 43-degree night, chewing ice. When I’m in the midst of a panic attack, my skin feels like it’s burning and I cannot breathe. Eating ice interrupts those signals, somehow and although I don’t feel better per se, I don’t feel hot and I can feel myself breathe.

It’s weird. I can’t explain it to myself.

After I’d eaten all of the ice in the house I lay down on the floor in the office with my white cat. We played for an hour and I could finally feel myself returning to that moment and enjoying her enjoyment.

Tonight I’m afraid of that fear. I feel like it’s better to write to you before I get too deep in.

People tell me I’m brave to be confronting my torment, delving into the dark and pulling out the worst images that dwell there…I suppose so. I suppose. There are times I’ve felt I wouldn't make it through the night if I didn’t write about it. That’s what I have left now. You’re all I have left.

Sequins on Sundays

I survived a psychopathic mother. I got away and now I write about it.

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