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The Effect of Stress on Me

Early this morning, I had a panic attack at work.

Last night, I was assigned to work at a job site — though I will decline to mention the venue.

It began around 3 AM when the 2-man fence crew arrived. However, its full manifestation occurs about 3-4 hours later.

Around 4 AM, I was informed by mall security that having me sit on the steps inside the mall was incorrect procedure. So one of the guards provided me a chair to sit on while I monitored the venue being protected. He also informed me that a security camera monitors the venue, and the supervisor wanted presence to be regular outside.

In response I ensured that presence by circumnavigating the venue — this consisted me of walking around it for most of that time. When a man and a woman arrived to be out of the rain, and away from the desolate bus exchange, I assessed the situation and realized that they were not a threat. Then I continued my circumnavigation of the venue.

Around 7:30 AM the man bringing in the plywood boards to use as cover on the concrete surface around the venue asked if he could do so. This requires using a hoist on his truck to move the boards from the bed of the trailer to the ground.

After I directed him to the guard desk in the mall, I continued to monitor the venue. However, I felt self conscious because it was getting light out, and students for the university and office workers were arriving.

In response to the increase in crowd presence from a night of no presence of people, I felt it was important not to br in light of sight of the man I mentioned earlier, because of the inaccurate impression that my presence would be a distraction.

As well, at one point I thought another man was attempting to approach me in a threatening manner, only to have him change his mind and walk into the coffee shop in the mall. However, in retrospect, this was a part of the etiology of my panic attack.

Unconsciously, I may have had a flashback to the early morning attack on me on July 19, 2004. This flashback has plagued me since I was injured, though it only occurs during moments of stress. In this case, the stress resulted from the impression that I wasn't doing my work properly which occurred after talking with the mall guard regarding the camera monitoring my movements both outside and inside the mall.

During the panic attack, I also experienced brief flashes of paranoia i.e. seeing people in the mall and outside the venue that turned out to be shadows or my eyes playing tricks on me).

Also, moments of elation consisted of admiring the pretty blinking lights of the fake Christmas trees inside the mall and finding the unlit tree, which is the venue, and the way rain made everything outside beautiful by reflecting the traffic lights on pavement, and the neon sign of the restaurant reflecting on the wet concrete.

In addition, the cold wet rain exhilarated me, helping to clear away the fog in my head due to the combination of sleep and stress. Although sitting on the concrete steps in the mall allowed me to meditate to the point of clearing my mind, by cooling me down enough to clear my head, my subsequent circumnavigations of the venue stopped working, and my mind was getting foggier as the end of my shift grew near. Instead, the cold was not helping to clear my head.

I even tweeted thankfulness about Christmas tree lights with respect to workers who make the lights in China and the city in which I worked for putting up the Christmas lights. Heck, I was thankful for all Foxconn workers in China for making my Samsung smartphone!

Even the one and only time I sat in the chair that the guard provided me did not clear it. This meant that I was stressed by fatigue precipitated by walking outside in the cold for an hour.

However, after I arrived home after 8 AM, I went to bed and woke up refreshed after about 3.5 hours of sleep.

This afternoon went by with no problems, because I had picked up my work cheque and used part of it to buy a good Japanese meal that consisted of bakake miso soup, a rice bowl with hamburger and special sauce on top, and a small sake served hot.

Tonight I have to work at the same venue, but will have a partner with me. So I anticipate no repeat of the stress-induced panic attack I experienced early this morning at work.

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