Mostly harmless (corto) wrote,
Mostly harmless


You know that shiver you get through your shoulder blades and down your back when you feel cold. Maybe you’ve just left the restaurant and you’re heading to the car, and after about fifteen paces it hits you… and you shiver.

If it’s a lot colder out… like Ottawa, February cold… you felt it full on, the second you stepped out of the restaurant. If it’s any warmer… well, you don’t get cold. So there’s a “shiver sweet spot”. And it’s not just a winter thing. The cool night air in early July… shiver!

Maybe you can relate, maybe not. Either way, it’s a real-thing in my universe. In point of fact, it’s sometimes a whole lot worse.

Sometimes, … on very rare occasions, maybe when other variables in my state-of-being are lined up just so… Sometimes the shiver is a whole shit load different than … just a shiver. My arms lock up, my shoulders pin forward, and I… can't… breath. A wave of terror splashes over me. It’s a detached thing… there is no “thing” about which I am afraid. I’m not actually afraid. It’s just the raw sensation of fear. I know it for what it is the very moment it starts to happen. Knowing has no bearing on the situation. I have to freeze. I have to stop dead and wait for the shiver to move through me. It takes a few seconds. When it’s done with me… if I’m still half way to where I’m going… it seems to take a seat nearby waiting to come again. If I go back indoors, get just a little warmer, something… it stops and fades to black.

In my head, I’ve been calling it a ‘panic attack’ since it first happened… about 12 years ago. (I remember it vividly). But I may very well be doing a disservice to people who suffer from actual panic attacks, so I hesitate to call it that in my outdoor voice. Never-the-less, I am not a fan.

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