*Disclaimer: Sex and the city was produced by HBO and all rights, titles and interests in any images or clips, used herein under fair use and Fair Copying, remain the property of the author
Has this ever happened to you...Your thoughts are racing, your heart is pounding and then that dreaded feeling that you’re going to pass out begins. You feel like everything around you is closing in and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. What’s happening? Well, chances are you’re having a panic attack. It’s scary (especially the first time) and it happens to so many people, yet it’s something not spoken of, due to its stigmatic nature.
In season 2 of Sex and the City, episode 5 – Four women and a Funeral, Miranda has decided to make the jump and buy her own place. She is financially independent and feels ready to take the next step. Being a 35 year old, successful woman buying her own apartment alone (without the financial help of a man) seems to be a concept lost on many of the people around her (her realtor, the mortgage broker, associates at her law firm).Of course, Carrie, Samantha and Charlotte are thrilled for her and think her decision is fantastic (what are besties for after all). With a gentle nudge from her gals, Miranda moves forward and buys her new home. She’s happy and excited to be living this new chapter of her life. As she visits the vacant apartment to measure for drapes, she meets one of her soon to be neighbours who mentions that the previous owner was an unmarried, lonely old lady, who died and was found a week later, having had her face eaten off by her cat!
Of course Miranda is a bit shaken by this new information, but she pushes forward and moves into the apartment. That same night, after a few hours of unpacking boxes, she decides to take a break and have something to eat while watching a little TV. She takes a bite from her Chinese takeout and is quickly horrified by the fact that she is choking on the very piece she just put in her mouth! She begins to run around in a panic, all the while realizing she is choking and can’t breathe. Finally in a last ditch effort to save her own life, she gives herself the Heimlich manoeuvre on the back of an unpacked moving box and to her relief, she is able to dislodge the trapped Kung Pao chicken. After she has caught her breath, Miranda immediately calls Carrie to inform her of her near death experience, luckily Carrie is able to talk her off the ledge (so to speak) and calm her down. When asked if she needs company, Miranda puts on a brave face and shrugs off the experience (with the exception of making sure her cat’s food bowl is completely full with food, you know, as a precaution of course).
The next day, refreshed and enthusiastic, Miranda decides she wants to get to know her new neighbourhood by taking a stroll. As she proudly walks down the street, she is taking in all the scenery, enjoying the fresh air and the people around her. Life seems perfect for Miranda and nothing can bring her down. Then out of nowhere, things start to feel very wrong. Her vision starts to blur, the buildings and everything around her begin to spin and she feels as though she is going to pass out. Luckily, a cab happens to be a few feet away (this is New York City after all), so she summons the strength to hail it over and immediately tells the driver to take her to the nearest hospital. $500 worth of tests later, doctors tell Miranda she has had a panic attack. Even though Miranda was trying to be strong, the stress from the possibility of living and dying alone became too much for her to handle.
Anxiety has a way of affecting us all in different ways. Some people eat, others bottle it all up until it explodes (like our brave Miranda). Some choose to binge watch TV to distract themselves and others sometimes turn to more drastic measures (drugs, alcohol, etc...)
In today’s society we are all finding our own way of dealing with the stress factor in our lives. There are so many issues now a days (divorce, politics, terrorism, bad economical times, etc...) that for many it has become almost impossible to not worry, a daily ritual if you will (in waking thoughts or as you put your head to pillow at night).
As I write this I can’t help but wonder, how much has social media played a part in this? If I didn’t have this blog to outsource this issue, would we even be talking about it? Mental health issues have definitely gotten more attention in the last few years, but it’s important that we all remember that the next time you see someone struggling, instead of brushing them off, be compassionate and think twice before judging. Everyone has ‘’something’’ and we can never really understand how they are handling it.