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March 12, 2008 / allyo

How the following unrelated events cause me to have a panic attack

The list:

  • Monday MD started a new job (yay) that once again is SUPPOSED to be days, and yet, he’s gone for 12 hours a day, meaning we’ve gone back to Jamie seeing him for about an hour a day during the week.
  • Jamie also started transitioning to his pre-K room at daycare.
  • Jamie’s rounding on a year of memories, as he clearly remembers last year’s Easter egg hunt at church, and is now eagerly looking forward to this year’s.

That’s the context. All day Monday I was feeling a little blue, in a “my baby’s growing up so fast” kind of way, which is unusual for me but it happens. I’m also struggling with the concept of school in general, and harboring some closet home-schooling desires.

Tuesday morning I wake up feeling even bluer, and eventually find myself in the grip of a full-blown panic attack. Which is morphing into a full-on asthma attack. MD and I sit down to talk it through, and through tears all I can articulate is I feel as though Jamie’s life is moving further and further out of my control. And that for the love of god, I’m still sad because I can’t stay home with him, and I’m at the point where my own patience is running out on that one. We talk it through, I pull myself together but am in a funk all day trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I’m also thinking about Jen’s post about the root of all behavior being seated in either fear and love, and how triggers work. For some reason it’s been sticking with me, even though as I was reading it I filed it under “things that are interesting but don’t apply to me.”

And then while I was brushing my teeth it all came together, brick by brick, falling on top of my head. My first memory is of my mom being arrested for shoplifting. She was stealing my Easter outfit. My second* memory, from later that same year, is of my first Christmas with my grandparents. Somewhere between those two memories is the big event that I do not recall, which is when my mom abandoned me.

There. I said it. She abandoned me. I’ve been reframing my childhood in my mind little by little after a conversation with Dawn some time ago when she referred to kinship adoption as we were talking about my situation. I had never thought about it like that, I had never associated my situation with parallel situation, with “big” topics like adoption and abandonment. It was just some crappy stuff that happenedalongtimeagobuti’moveritnow look, happyhappyshiny.

Anyway, I was the same age Jamie is now, when that first Easter memory happened. Exactly, since our birthdays are less than 3 weeks apart. And so we have memory, potential abandonment with MD’s new job – and I hyperventilated for awhile last night before all this fell into place worrying about what might happen if MD never came home – and my fear that somehow, either something out of my control will happen to destroy Jamie’s innocence and in turn his childhood, or that I’ll do something wrong, or not do something well enough, that will have the same result. Because he’s not a baby anymore. His needs aren’t so simply met – it takes more than my breast and my arms to take care of him now, and some days I feel so inadequate. I get mad, I get impatient, I want to run away, I want to stay at work forever, I feel guilty about going to work, I feel guilty about everything. The messy house, the boring dinners, the limitations of money, the choices I made in the past that have led to me having to work. It just piles up and piles up and I can’t breathe.

I don’t know what to do next. I don’t know if now that I’ve figured it out it will fade away. I don’t know what to think about the panic attacks and the anxiety. I don’t know what I’ll do if they don’t just go away. I do know that I feel like I’m going to pop from the ten tons of responsibility that I feel on my shoulders and I wish my grandma were here to take it from me, if only for a little while. I feel alone even though I am surrounded by love, and I don’t know if that’s ok or if I should go to the doctor and beg for more/stronger meds. Or maybe I just need to go sit in the sun for a few hours because I get like this EVERY year at this time.

And the not knowing is driving me crazy too.



Leave a Comment
  1. caro / Mar 12 2008 10:22 pm

    I’m not sure what to say, but it doesn’t seem write to have read this and then not say anything. It sounds like you have really figured so much out. It sounds really, really hard.

  2. caro / Mar 12 2008 10:23 pm

    Right, I meant. Seem right. Right.

  3. Mystik Mamma / Mar 12 2008 11:06 pm

    Okay, BIG HUG. Boy I read your words and hear my voice about 4 years ago, pregnant with V and working while L was being watched by someone else. Hubbie working at least 14 hours days, everyday! The weight of it all on my shoulders….

    What to say, is there anything that I can say to make it better? I have been there… it got better, then worse, then hopeful, then bad, then worse than worse, but through it all?
    I have friends, great ones like you. I have love, my hubbie to call me babycakes now and then. I have those two little faces, that call me mommy, give me kisses and let me give them, millioni, bacioni! I have my passion to be a better person and figure out the best quality of life I am able to find. I have me and my sanity… that I found for myself – once I turned 18 and realized my harbored “secrets” were actually a demented form of childhood abuse.

    I know you enough to know you will make it through. You are a survivor… one strong connection we share. You are such an incredible woman who stays on point, doesn’t hide and has the capacity to love. You will make it and your past doesn’t have to dictate your future. Your son is so lucky to have you as his mom.

    You know I love your Hubbie and as I wish more for him, he will find that on his terms. Unfortunately the choice of career/work is not an easy one. I know this all too well. But it can pay off and the time he does have with your little guy is quality time. Your two boys love each other like mad! That is more than so many children have.

    Hold onto what you have. I guess that is the best advice I am able to give. Take deep slow breaths, calm the hurricane like waters that run within you and allow them to lap up on the shore. Your cauldron needs tending to, the potion you have is so intense and needs your watchful eye. You are the crone. Now that the emotions have come, lay them to bed, you are so strong inside, even when you are weak, you soothe anything you set your mind to.

    I see it clearly, I have always seen this inside of you. Tu sei bella, calma, forte e anche magnifica!!!!


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