I almost killed my husband once. It would have been unintentional had I succeeded; I'm sure it would have been ruled accidental or I would have been declared not guilty by reason of insanity; for insane I was.
We were on vacation in Mexico, spending the day at a beautiful place called Xel Ha, and planned to go snorkeling. I'm not a water person so it was only to please my husband that I agreed to don the flippers. life jacket, mask and snorkel and get into the water.
I am blessed with the most patient and understanding man in the world (he has to be to put up with me!) and he gently encouraged me and held on to my hand as we moved farther out in the water. Finally, when we were far enough out, he coached to put my face in the water and, well, begin snorkeling.
I managed to keep my fear in check and began to appreciate the beautiful underwater world but suddenly I was overcome with panic and instinct took over. Even as I was doing it I told myself to stop, but I was unable to prevent myself from climbing onto my husband's shoulders in an attempt to get myself out of the water.
Logically, I knew my behaviour had the potential to drown the man I loved, but I was absolutely unable to stop. Self-preservation, the will to survive, panic, instinct, call it what you will, it was a force to be reckoned with.
Finally, Gerry managed to fling me off of his shoulders and away from him far enough to prevent me from climbing back on top of him. My patient husband wasn't upset with me, he proceeded to calm me down and even got me to resume our snorkeling adventure.
I was in awe at what we were seeing in the underwater world, but I never quite got over my fear and every now and then an involuntary sharp intake of breath signaled to me that panic was not far away.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night when I can't sleep, I feel something similar to that physical sense of panic. In the wee hours, my mind wanders hither and yon and sometimes rests upon a "what if" scenario that stabs me with a bolt of fear.
It's silly really, getting worked about about an imaginary situation that will likely never happen, but the nighttime world is not unlike the underwater sometimes. Inexplicably, involuntary, irrationally, I'm pierced with a panic that I find myself powerless to resist.
When I started writing this post my intention was to write about someone who's life I think about sometimes as a way of quelling the fear of the unknown, but I think I will save that story for another day. I'll leave you with this tale of the power of panic and ask you: have you ever been gripped with a fear you found difficult to let go of? What did you do to overcome it?