If I had all the answers

Jun 26, 2008

#Life#Working Mom

Last night I had my first, full fledged panic attack. I haven’t had one in years, not since our car was totaled passing through a green light by a 19 year old on her cell. I used to have them on and off for a full two years or so after that day. It was almost always related to driving and it was almost always short lived and managable.

Last night, at 1:00 AM as I crawled in to bed, I literally thought I was going to die.

My throat closed.

My heart raced.

My head spinned.

I ran through the list of possibilities: allergies? virus? heart attack?

I didn’t have anything odd last night, not even anything to drink. I had my usual Fuzze, cabbage soup and water. I worked until about 12:30 this morning laying out the foundation for time management over the next few months.

Then I checked on the sleeping children, listened to Mr. Flinger breath softly, and started to drift off.

I was jolted awake by death. (Or that’s what I said had you asked me at the time.)

Panic attacks aren’t fun, they are not logical, and they’re real. I hate admitting that I can’t handle something. I want to be the person who at least occasionally has her shit together. I’ve said it a million times, and I don’t know why I focus so much on it, but my goal in life must be: A) Spend time with family B) Get Shit Together C) Die peacefully in my sleep after watching grandchildren graduate college and get married and make babies.

I always get hung up on “B”.

So there you have it. Judge if you will. Last night I laid down and swore to God I was going to die and never see my children go to Kindergarden or graduate or learn to drive. Sounds silly in the light of day, doesn’t it?

Silly. But very very real.


  1. I got panic attacks for a while a couple of years ago and I know how terrifying they can be.  Do you have coping strategies?  My counselor told me to try to concentrate on breathing very slow and deep, and also to do something that would comfort me.  For me it was to wrap my arms around myself really tight…  Also, rubbing my hands together would sometimes help.  None of it was foolproof, but sometimes it was just enough to distract my brain.

    Frankly, I don’t know how you get half the things done in a day that you do.  It’s a big deal.  Go easy on yourself.

    By Heather on 2008 06 26

  2. I’ve had panic attacks.  Very not fun-ish.  I sympathize wholeheartedly.

    By rima on 2008 06 26

  3. One good reason I’m taking the summer off.  You should hang it up for a while too babycakes.

    By Karen Sugarpants on 2008 06 26

  4. I had the only panic attack I’ve ever had my first time overseas. I was 17 y.o. on my school’s French trip. We were in Italy at the Spanish steps, of all places. The teacher had been warning us for a while before the trip that pickpockets were bad. While we were heading up a street a group of people surrounded us on their way past us. I panicked bad. I was hypervenilating and had to be taken elsewhere because I was crying uncontrollably. I understand how you feel exactly. Its a very scary situation. I hope for your sake you never have another one. Take care of yourself and get more sleep. It will help.

    By Vicki on 2008 06 26

  5. Ugh, so sorry. I used to wake up with them all the time too. At first I thought they were sleep apnea, but finally I figured out they were panic attacks. So not fun. Try to take it easy, no point in having it all together if you’re sitting “fetal” in the corner.

    By sheryl on 2008 06 26

  6. One of my real life best friends, Moira, had her first panic attack last friday, while taking my son, hers and four other 10 year old boys on a camping trip for her sons birthday.
    She had never experienced this before, and literally thought that she was going to die. She went to the hospital. She was hyperventilating and her hands could not come unclenched.
    I spoke with her on the phone on her way home from the hospital. I’m so embarassed she said- are you kidding, she is older than I am, 38, and I think it is a miracle that she hadn’t hd one yet.

    By laurieofthesevenstories on 2008 06 26

  7. Oh man, I do not envy your night.  I’ve worked through a few with my husband, but haven’t had a full blow attack myself. 

    I’m glad to hear that things are better in the light of today.

    By Nette @ Smiling Mom on 2008 06 26

  8. (hugs) I get panic attacks/anxiety attacks.  Sometimes they last for HOURS.  It’s just the most frustrating/helpless/hopeless/powerless feeling one can have.

    By Darla@UltraBeautyBoutique on 2008 06 26

  9. This is not unusual. This is not crazy. This happens. (Somtimes so often here that I have medicine for it.) You my dear, are not alone. Please get yourself some rest, and breathe a little…then call me when you want to get a cocktail for real and talk it out. *hugs*

    By MommasTantrum on 2008 06 26

  10. Oh panic attacks are SO real. And yes, so irrational.
    take a breath in the light of day, and be good to yourself. We know how you feel.

    By Suze on 2008 06 26

  11. I love you all. Seriously. Thank you. I know this shit just sorda happens. I mean, is there any reason to freak? Not really. And there’s nothing specific causing it, yaknow? Everything is good and all is well. Family and work and life in general. So wtf, mate? grin

    I’m doing much better in the daylight. I’ll breath a lot tonight. XO

    By Mrs. Flinger on 2008 06 26

  12. I understand how that feels. I have been suffereing from them off and on for 18 years. *good vibes to you* smile

    By Kimberly on 2008 06 26

  13. I will go back to using my name after this one.  This is something that I haven’t told anyone.  I don’t think it is silly.  Lately, I’ve been having panic attacks.  Sometimes it happens at night when I’m dealing with insomnia.  Sometimes while I’m on the subway.  Sometimes in the middle of a meeting or when I’m in my office.  It is consistently “I’m going to die and no one will notice that I’m gone” and “I’m going to die and there will be no one to bury me.” 

    Hang in there.

    By Anonymous on 2008 06 27

  14. Anonymous,

    (HUGS) that must have been very hard for you to share.  It will get easier the more you share with people, the more you will see that they, too, have suffered from this ridiculously unnerving condition.

    By Darla@UltraBeautyBoutique on 2008 06 27

  15. Thereis nothing silly about panic attacks.  I’ve had them so badly that I couldn’t leave the house for days.  I always described them as having my adrenaline button permanently “ON.”  When you are not having one, you feel like you could handle it if you did, but when you are in the throes - holy farging iceholes - you are convinced you are going to die. 

    One thing that always helped me was telling myself “This WILL pass.  It has always passed before and I always made it through.  It has no power over me and I can just ride it out like a headache.”  Don’t know if that will help, but hang in there hon! 


    By Katie Kat on 2008 06 27

  16. I’m a night worrier. I don’t have full-fledged panic attacks but I do tend to worry about of crazy shit, that seems silly in the morning. So, I know what you mean. Hope the panic stays away. For a while, at least.

    By Renee on 2008 06 27

  17. Isn’t that weird, I had one this past weekend, and I haven’t had one since before my daughter was born, so probably 4 years ago now. And I ran into another post about having one out of the blue this week too, so it’s like there’s something in the air. I HATE them. They suck (and they can SUCKIT!). It tends to ruin my day the next day too, because I walk around feeling like death is haunting me. I remember last time around, when I’d have them nearly every day, that I had to learn how to ride them like big scary waves. I hope this was just an isolated one for you. (Thus far mine seems to have been. I’ve even returned to my morning coffee!)

    By Kaza on 2008 06 27

  18. Wow…. I know how it is. I can tell you that. My first pregnancy was one long sustained panic attack. And, I’ll never be the same again…. They are traumatizing, those panic attacks.

    Breathing helps…. Yoga helps…. Being busy helps…, actually….

    I LOVE your goal in life. It’s my goal, too!!

    By Haley-O on 2008 06 27

  19. Panic attacks are so scary. I started having them after Brody was born. The thing I hate the most is that I never know when they’re going to happen! They’d be much more bearable if they were predictable. smile

    By Kate on 2008 06 27