Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
I’ve said it before: I need better coping skills. I am almost embarrassed to reveal the absurdity of my latest freak-out. But here goes:
We went on a last minute, mini-vacation to Sequoia State Park a couple weeks ago. We had a great time. As we were heading home, we stopped at this cute playground for Fia to run before sitting in the cramped car (this time we took the direct route versus our disastrous, vomit-induced one).
Phil was playing with Fia while I breastfed Emmett. I walked over and Phil says, “Do you think she’s running funny?”
I gasped. “What? What do you mean?”
“Don’t freak out,” he said through terse lips. “Jesus, can I not even have a conversation with you?”
Clearly, my anxiety has been an issue before.
I took a breath, “You’re right, I’m sorry. Let me watch her run.”
She starts to run and her legs start hobbling. She keeps falling down. They looked like rubber. So guess what I do? I FREAK THE F–K OUT.
“Oh my god, Phil, Phil,” I pleaded. “Oh my god. What is going on?”
He looked at me concerned, because he was obviously concerned too. But I could tell he was also worried about me. Or sick of me. He has said time and again to get a grip. He says I can’t react with such panic–for all of our sakes. I know he’s right.
Trembling, I got down on her level and took her shoes off. I seemed to remember thinking last week the sneakers were getting tight. She took off barefoot. Her gait was perfect.
In the 10 seconds it took to figure this out, here’s where my head went:
On our mini-vaco. These are not the shoes in question, btw.
She has a neurological disorder. A virus. It is fast progressing and eating away at her nerves. We have to rush to LA to Children’s Hospital. Something life-threatening is wrong with my daughter. If anything happens to her I will not survive. I love her too much.
Basically I had an internal panic attack. I say internal, because I did manage to hold it together in front of Fia, mostly because I was so afraid Phil would forever hate me. And of course, I don’t want to scare my kid. I know all too well from my upbringing what it’s like to have a weak, hand-wringing (then drunk, devoid of coping skills) parent. It’s probably where all this anxiety comes from.
But seriously, in less than a millisecond, my mind goes to the worst possible place. Is that a mom thing or a sign of deep neurosis? My friend Kirsten wrote a beautiful piece I posted on the art of letting go. But I justify (in my warped brain) that this is different–this is about tragedy befalling my children.
Phil was really pissed off. And I don’t blame him. What I kept telling him was I don’t like feeling this way either. My visceral reaction truly scares me. It’s like my wires explode in my body and code red starts to ring. Then, because my body has basically been in fight-or-flight mode, it doesn’t just dissipate. It lingers. And on this day, it sat in the car for our 3-hour drive home, casting a pall on the once-boisterous mood.
If the scenario hadn’t filled me with such anxiety and dread, it would have been comical, ie: bad parenting moment: Our little girl has outgrown her shoes and mama freaked.
I spoke at length to Peter, my hypnotherapist. We did some really deep work in trying to get my brain to stop this pattern. Old habits die hard. It will take work on my part. But I have no choice.
This sh-t has got to stop.