There are always times of year that will be difficult for me.

Usually, the sadness creeps in slowly, like a fog, making everything a bit dimmer, a bit more raw, and a bit more tense. My breathing--even with my asthma meds--becomes more shallow, the panic attacks more frequent, the anxiety just a notch higher, the stomach completely on edge, the tears living just under the surface, ready to spill out at the most insignificant thing.

This has been one of those weeks.

Barely able to function, sleeping every spare moment, crying at every little thing, crashing and burning on my runs, unable to eat, feeling like the contents of my stomach would come right back up at any moment. My massage therapist today told me I was more tense than ever--even than during the height of marathon training. I had yesterday off completely. I slept in today. I haven’t worked out in two days.

I sat down to write a very different blog post--one about how Mother’s Day is a difficult holiday for me, one people who’ve never struggled with infertility take for granted. How even seemingly benign images of school crafts or sonograms or smiling families wound deep in the soul. How my heart weeps for my friend going through fertility procedures; for my friend who is estranged from her mother and received nothing but abuse at her hand, yet beautifully parents her own three little ones; for the friends who have lost their mothers this year; and, yes, a bit of pity for myself, on the precipice of turning 40, that motherhood--in the literal sense--is not a role I will be gifted with in my lifetime.

Sure, Mother’s Day is hard for me, but it generally invokes sadness, not panic and dark thoughts.

And then I remembered. Nine years ago, on May 5, I was raped.

The mind is a powerful thing. It suppressed the details of the actual event (okay, so GHB took care of most of that), and most years, I don’t remember the date. Which seems ludicrous. Who can forget Cinco de Mayo? I even wrote a post about margaritas for Eater. I’ve eaten Mexican food four times in the past week.

And yet I couldn’t connect the dots when I broke down sobbing only one mile into my tempo run on Wednesday, nearly hurling in the bushes and on the verge of a panic attack.

My mind was trying to protect me from remembering, but my body KNEW. I felt the panic, the terror, the fear, the darkness, the nausea. It was worse than being physically ill, because I didn’t understand the root.

“But I’m finally free of PR,” I told myself. I’d been running so well. I love teaching and my classes and new clients. My meals (that I’ve been able to eat) have been healthy. I’m sleeping ten hours a night. I usually don’t feel Tim’s absence during work trips this acutely. Why am I feeling so miserable?

And yet, the demons were there. They are always there, lurking just underneath the surface. Seeping through the pores and the open wounds, attacking at random.

So I breathe. And wait until they pass.

Image credit: Traveling Julie Photography via