This is the post, in its entirety and with only minor grammatical edits, that I sent to my company’s general Slack channel to explain why I had been hospitalized the day before.

Just to give everyone a heads up on what the hell happened to Jaaromy and why the hell he’s back at work today when he was just in the hospital:

(As a quick aside, while it has gotten much better in recent years, our society tends to place physical and mental ailments in separate buckets; with much more shame associated with the latter than the former. Oddly, I do this to myself, even though I know better. Hence, this message. Those that know some of this, please bear with me.)

I’ve suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Medium Grade Major Depression (Medium Major. It’s like the Upper Lower Middle Class of chronic sadness) my entire life. The intensity waxes and wanes over time, but the anxiety, at least, has been almost completely under control for quite some time.

Wednesday morning at about 1:30 AM, my brain decided to give me a big ‘ol middle finger and hand me the mother of all panic attacks.

I’ve tried to explain to people in the past what my panic attacks are like and I usually say something akin to, “Imagine sitting comfortably in your favorite chair, reading a good book, when suddenly your brain decides HOLY FUCK YOU ARE BEING ATTACKED BY A BEAR! RIGHT NOW! NOWNOWNOWNOW! DO SOMETHING! RUN! FIGHT! SHITSHITSHIT….! Your adrenaline surges. Heartbeat and breathing increase rapidly. You start to sweat profusely. Your muscles tighten, ready to react to the threat.

But there is no threat.

You’re still just sitting in your favorite chair. Your mind and body are simply doing their best to react appropriately and, God love ‘em, they’re hopelessly confused and dumb. As you can imagine, it can be an absolutely terrifying experience.

Back to Wednesday morning. I’ve gotten used to and completely compensated for the bear. It wasn’t a bear this time.

It was more like I was suddenly spinning naked in an empty void while my mind and guts exploded into a billion shards of fear and panic. I tried to grope for some sort of purchase but each thought of comfort was ripped away and I was left alone and sobbing with no hope that it would ever end. Ever.

So that went on for a few hours. I was finally able to call my parents around 5:30 AM and it started to ease a bit once they showed up. They took me to an urgent care center and I received both the drugs and support I needed.

Last night, while not great, was nowhere near as traumatic as Wednesday. I woke up feeling shaky, but steady enough to head into work. It isn’t always the case, but what I’m currently working on is engaging enough that it actually feels therapeutic.

So, that’s what happened and that’s why I’m here today. Outside of work I’m getting the pharmacological and emotional assistance I need. I found a great therapist and my doctor prescribed the good stuff.

Thank you for all the understanding and support, and for putting up with this rather lengthy explanation. Unashamedly putting these words out there is, I think, also therapeutic.

Plus, this is Jaaromy we’re talking about here. When the hell has he EVER avoided an awkward topic. ;)