I am a big mess today. In many ways I am not supposed to but I am. I have a good life. I am a stay at home mom, a writer, I handle my own schedule, I live close to the beach, I am in a good stage in my marriage, I am healthy, my kids are healthy, and overall I am just fine. Then, what the heck is wrong with me?
It happened again today, as it has been happening for quite a while. Out of the blue comes the panic attack. The seemingly out of the body experience, the feeling that I am about to faint. Then my hands start tingling and I feel like the world is consuming me in darkness. And I was terrified because I was driving my kids to school. “What if I faint?” “What if the car crashes?” “What if I die?” “What will my kids do?” Those were some of the questions that went through my head in those few minutes while I was trying to find a safe place to park and wait for the crisis to stop. I drank some water, reminded myself that it was just anxiety, called my husband, and it went away. But I know it will come back again. Who knows how and where? So I have decided is time to ask for help.
Before I became a mom I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. It was hard but I overcame that with some therapy. And I though I could control the situation if it ever presented again. I was wrong. Plus, since I am in a completely different stage in life, I can’t possibly take the same approach than I did years ago. I have other priorities and a completely different set of situations.
Of course a million things can be triggering this. I have been thinking a lot about it and I realized the main problem is that I am having some trouble handling the ugliness of motherhood. Before you start throwing stones at me, please continue reading. Yes, motherhood has a very ugly side. And it has nothing to do with what you feel for your family members, or even how you feel about motherhood overall. Moms get tired, burned, bored, sick, worried, depressed, and fed up. Because we are not angels, we are humans. Some can cope with all of this without the anxiety disorder, and I envy you. God knows how much I envy you. But for others like me, the ones that have to deal with this crap called anxiety and panic attacks on top of it, I just want to tell you that I understand you. That I don’t think you are crazy. That I don’t think you are weak. This sucks, but you can overcome this. Don’t be afraid to open up, to ask for help. I know that it is so difficult to explain this to people that have no clue what a panic attack is. But I can assure you, it is more common than you think and you will find those who will listen to you, give you a hand, an advice, or simply love you and let you know they are there for you. I know you are trying to avoid the embarrassment and judgment. But don’t let those feelings get in the way of recovering your peace.
It is not easy to tell the story. But here I am, and is a step closer to feel better. So if you are out there, from an anxious mom to another, I will tell you: We can do this. We endured pregnancies, late night feedings, diaper changing, awful play dates, toddler years just to name a few, of course we can kick the panic attacks in the ass.
Have you suffered from anxiety and panic attacks? If you have any tips, help me to kick this MF in the butt and share your experiences with me!