Passing out is riveting. As the human body spews adrenaline into the bloodstream, the downward fall is accompanied by a drug-like rush.
This afternoon, I complete a hard swim workout. I’ve overscheduled myself (pretty common these last few weeks of junior year), forcing me to rush to join dinner with the on-campus club. They are catering Subway. Not my favorite, but if I eat the meat and vegetables off the bread, it’s still technically paleo.
I have been paleo for about two weeks. I have no idea what I’m doing.
All the socializing distracts me from how hungry I am after the swim workout. Any endurance magazine will tell you to eat a mixture of protein and carbs to replenish lost glycogen stores. I decide I know better and take my meal sans carbs. Just a little lettuce, please.
I’m surrounded by friends. My drive to be the center of attention propels me to ignore the signals telling me to eat something sweet.
One of the selling points of the paleo diet is that copious amounts of protein and fat kill hunger pretty quickly. It obviously works because I no longer want to eat. Weird, because I’ve only consumed two slices of meat and a handful of lettuce.
Whatever … only eat when you’re hungry, right?
The party ends and I make my way to the library to hammer out some work. Because I hate lugging around my 17-pound laptop, I visit the computer lounge. So far, so normal.
Twenty minutes go by. This paper seems to be writing itself. Everything is flowing.
Five minutes go by. I feel jittery. Overstimulated, but exhausted at the same time. My heartbeat starts to increase without explanation.
Because I drink too much coffee, periodic rushes of adrenaline are not uncommon. But this feels slightly different. For starters, the feeling is not going away.
In fact, it’s getting worse.
I’m suddenly panicking.
In the computer lounge.
You’re fine. Everything is going to be fine.
My field of vision starts to shrink. My brain goes into primal mode.
Suddenly, all of the books and magazines I have read about survival and mindset (I am a big fan of National Geographic Adventure) come to mind.
You are fine. Everything is fine.
It’s a simple case of mind over matter.
You are fine. The words are starting to lose meaning. My vision is almost completely obscured.
You’re fine! Everything is fine. I continue to calm myself in an increasingly panicked manner. Ironic, much?
What is happening?! It’s like my body is short-circuiting. I think I’m having a panic attack. This would be a little more acceptable in my apartment, but I’m in the library for goodness sake. If I make so much as a loud exhale, I will get judgmental stares from the studious.
My world caves in. My vision disappears. I feel a faint sense of falling.
Suddenly, it’s over. It happened so quickly, no one around me has noticed. I breathe a sigh of relief. I may be dying, but at least I’m being dignified about it.
I’m still in my chair, and the cursor is still blinking on the screen in front of me.
What just happened?
I decide it’s probably best to call it a night. I pack up and head to the bus station. I noticed I’m drenched in sweat. My entire body feels electrified.
Still unaware that these are common symptoms of fainting, I decide to do some WebMDing when I get home.
I come to the conclusion that I passed out from low blood pressure caused by dehydration or a lack of replenishing my glucose stores. This paleo thing is no joke.
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