My kid knows how to ground me. If you don’t know exactly what grounding is you are probably one of the lucky that don’t suffer from anxiety. I do suffer from anxiety quite badly. I frequently get panic attacks, sometimes out of nowhere it seems. But my seven-year-old, he knows how to ground me. He knows how to calm me down. How to bring my focus to something else besides the irrational fear that has consumed me. He knows that Mommy is sick and this is part of her illness. He’s brave and strong and he grounds me better than anyone.
My anxiety has affected him his entire existence. I had to quit working when I first got pregnant with him because I was having such severe panic attacks multiple times a day. I also developed agoraphobia at this time so I was unable to leave the house without my husband if I was able to leave the house at all. At first, I was using quite a bit of Xanax and drinking a lot of beer and wine to calm down, not realizing what was actually happening inside myself.
I found out when I was eight weeks pregnant. So that is eight weeks of me drinking and taking Xanax to hide from my anxiety. I felt awful about it. I went on short-term disability from my job and was determined to be as healthy as I possibly could be from there on out. Fighting hard to not deny my body oxygen when I was hyperventilating in a panic attack so as to not deprive my son oxygen as well.
I got into therapy and worked on breathing techniques, which I truly hate. The more I think about breathing the harder it is for me to breathe. I need to not think about it. I need to be distracted so that by body’s natural rhythm can do it’s thing.
I made it though. I tried a natural birth but my anxiety wouldn’t let me. I was having panic with every contraction which was slowing them down so drugs it was! It was a beautiful experience though. My husband, Doula, Doctor, and I laughed practically the entire time. It was hard and he had to be vacuumed out but afterward, I had a beautiful healthy baby boy. Thank God!
Now, how to not have panic attacks and scare him? My husband and I decided to have him work and me be a stay at home mom… because of the agoraphobia, I wasn’t going anywhere anyway.
I will never forget the terrified look on my babies face when I had my first panic attack in front of him. He was about three months old and I was panicking and his daddy was holding him and I started to freak out, because really that is what happens with a panic attack. His face was so scared and it killed me that I immediately was able to pull myself out of my attack. Mom instinct just took over and won my irrational fear because my baby needed me to be stronger than I actually was. I love Mommy instinct!
My son has grown up seeing me have panic attacks no matter how much I wanted to shield him from them. He has learned how to deal with them. When he sees me start to panic he asks me what colors I see. Which seems pretty silly from an onlookers perspective but for someone having a panic attack it is damn near perfect. He’ll count with me. He’ll ask me how the texture of things feel, “How does the carpet feel Mommy?”, knowing if I can just focus on something besides my panic I will be able to pull myself out of the attack. He knows about breathing techniques and he actually uses them for himself because he also gets panicky as well, unfortunately.
The worst attack I ever had I had passed out and fell hitting my head against a table knocking myself out completely for who knows how long. My poor little man witnessed the entire thing. We were home alone with his little brother who was approximately two years old. I awoke to him crying in my face begging me to wake up. I didn’t understand at all what had happened. I said honey I’m fine what is going on why are you crying? He said, “you fell mommy and hit your head”. I didn’t believe him at first not because I thought he was lying or anything but because that was so crazy I would certainly have remembered something like that. I did not remember it however but the giant goose egg on my head proved that I had indeed hit my head and my poor little guy had to deal with the entire situation practically alone… worse than alone because he had had his baby brother to worry about too.
He is a pillar of strength my little seven-year-old. When he panics he knows to breathe and take a moment to tell himself that everything will be ok. He can take a step back from the situation and just let it be for a moment before he freaks out, well most the time. He works hard on talking positively to himself and reminding himself that he is worth it. He beams with intelligence and joy and courage! I could not be prouder of my son!
I’m a mom and I love it! I like inviting people in to my world and making them feel as comfortable as possible. I love all things cheese, jokes included. I’ve had a pretty rough life but therapy and a good attitude have really helped me make the best of things. So welcome to my world, make yourself at home!