The first time I ever experienced what I know now to be an ‘anxiety attack’, was Halloween 1980. I was 12. My father had left our family high and dry in the Spring of that year, and it affected me. I think about the day he left everyday fucking motherfucking goddamn day of my fucking life. Anyway, It was my last year of trick-or-treating (back then 13 was the cut off, or so I was told) and my Mom, depressed and incredibly poor, knew how much Halloween meant to me, so she splurged on this semi-professional monster mask maker kit. I was determined to go all out. I worked on that mask all week. Halloween arrived, and I rushed home after school and waited until 4 pm to start putting my mask on. It took all of 2 minutes. But it was too early to go out. Anxiety started to manifest itself in my psyche, and before I knew it, I got sick and vomited all over my fancy mask. My Mom said that I was “over-excited”.
A few years later when my Mom had me committed to a psychiatric hospital when I was 18, I learned that what I experienced then as now, was a terrible form of anxiety, compounded with depression and self worth issues. That particular fucking monster had been living inside me for 6 years at that point. 40 years now. And I still have PTSD. I still think about that day everyday. I have written and drawn what happened many times and I still can’t shake it. I can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe that’s why I do so much creative stuff during the day. So I don’t think about it.