Tuesday, 28 February 2017

INTIMATIONS - turbulence

I am not over my brief visit to Berlin yet, though it is zwei wochen since I flew out.  My 48 hrs was a heady mix of extreme distress and earthy delight.  I bumped into my gorgeous old pal Vinnie at Terminal 5.  His athletic 2m black frame embraced my weedy whiteness with a decade's worth of joy and love.  It must have been infectious because an Asian security guard left his vantage point, walked towards me with open arms and demanded his hug.  So I gave him one too.  This is the kind of stuff that happens to me.  Then I spent a whole hour in WHSmith devouring rare fashion rags and Photography Journals.  Nobody was hungry.  Nobody needed the toilet.  Nobody was lying on the floor embarrassing me.  I was able to concentrate on a single thought.  Bliss.

I was very calm though I hadn't been on a plane for 10 years.  I was very calm though I had never left the country without my children.  I was remarkably calm.  Until I had to leave the relative safety of the jet bridge for the less secure aircraft, when good old anxiety kicked in and I had to force myself on.  Like pushing someone off the diving board.  As I crossed the threshold a voice told the captain that I was a little nervous.  It was my voice , but I was already feeling disconnected with the adrenaline pumping through me, taking over reason.  

Adrenaline was my buddy in my teenage years.  It helped me break the school record for the 100m sprint, 200m sprint and long jump.  But one day I got an unexpected, unwanted surge of the powerful chemical whilst on a long train journey to an interview and 20 years later I still struggle to cope when it courses through my veins like lava.  It has drastically limited my life and hampered many an achievement.  There is no cure, only mind over matter, when mind is the very thing that is compromising you.

I found my seat and started to fidget with intensity.  After a few minutes the panic peaked and I needed to run, fast.  I told the attendant that I had to get off the flight.  Jacqui from British Airways was very good.  She told me that she went to Vegas for 5 days without her kid.  She was gentle, understanding, caring.  She didn't treat my like a loon, though I clearly came across as one.  I stayed put.  Some minutes later another wave hit me.  I looked at Jacqui at the back with tears in my eyes, a look of terror and defeat.  She attended to me without a hesitation.  She was calm.  I stayed put.  We started taxiing.  Now I really needed to get off.  I pressed the assistance button with urgency, muttering to myself.  Passengers around me judged.  The lad behind me overheard my plea to be let off the jet and he decided he wanted to get off too.  His parents forced him to come home, but he wanted to stay in England.  The German doctor behind me and next to him laughed and uttered: 'What is up with this flight?  Everyone wants to get off!'  I was told that is was too late to get off.

  zu spät

People shifted uneasily in their seats.  The doctor came to sit next to me and tried to keep me talking.  We both knew that distraction is the only way off this dreadful ride.  But I see right through this sensible tactic and start crying and muttering 'I can't do this'.

Then the emergency Diazepam kicked in.  A tiny dose which just shaved the edges off.  We gained momentum and I gripped the arm rests.  Now I am flying.

Back to London 2 days later, I was riding on a high, brimming with art, ideas, energy, clarity and a newfound invincibility.  A healthy level of epinephrine is neurotransmitter magic.

And then I arrived home to chaos, a mum with pneumonia who needs urgent hospitalisation.

I am still recovering from all this stress.  But the Blog must go on.  So:

Dr Cathy, Jacqui from BA and Berlin, DANKE.  

This honesty is for you.  
And everything Berlin that has yetst been created & everything that is still brewing, I dedicate to you.

1 comment:

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Very interesting blog post you have shared. The whole incident you have narrated has become live before my eyes. It is a sad to read how all happened.