Saturday, August 14, 2010

The skeleton in my closet...

I am going to reveal to you something that very very very few people know about... In fact the only people I think that know are my husband, a friend from high school, and my mother... On second thought my sister probably knows too because anything one of us knows the rest know.
The panic attacks have begun. Yep there's my dark secret. I have had panic attacks since high school. For anyone that thought IB and all the activities of high school were just a breeze for me...There ya go. I would curl up in a ball in terror unable to face the idea of the next exam... activity... stressor... They were always stress related. After that they went away for a long time. I went to FSU and majored in Child Development... nothing was that stressful. In the last few years, I started having them again. This time they stem from completely irrational fears about something happening to my family. If my husband goes out with friends without me I can go into a full blown panic attack by the time he gets home. When we were flying home to Florida for Ashlyn's first birthday I finally revealed this to Erik... I had gotten unbearable to be around the days leading up. This was because I was trying to fight it all alone. I had spoken to my mom but she wasn't there. She actually had no idea I'd hidden them so well. As I started panicking about getting on the plane my amazing husband talked me down. He said he totally knew that the stress from planning everything, working, money, etc... was getting to me but hadn't realized how bad it was... that the idea of getting on that plane made me feel like I couldn't breathe. That I had a constant stream of plane crash scenarios running through my head.. each one more horrific than the last. Now, if he is around, I can usually get through them or at least it's easier than it was on my own. I spoke to my doctor who has given me medication... The problem is that if he's with me I can do OK without medicating myself. If he isn't than I have Ashlyn to take care of and can't be that out of it...
So now that you know my history... now that it's out in the open... They are back. I don't want to share any of the details. They all revolve around giving up the care of my child to someone I hardly know. Many of my good friends, and I know readers of this blog, are about to do the same thing. I don't want to put any scenarios in your head that you may not have thought of yet. But last night I lay awake frozen playing these scenarios over and over. I can work myself into quite a frenzy. I know I need to talk to Erik about it but I don't want to scare him either. I know that's silly because he is one of the most rational men I know and would totally show me the statistics of my fears and how irrational they are. The problem is, I guess, that I don't want to be told that they are irrational because there are parents out there that have been that one in a million to have it happen to their child. I really don't know how I'm going to get through the first week..I hope that as I build more rapport with her teachers, I will develop more trust, but people are human and things happen... I don't know if I am accomplishing anything good by getting these feeling out in the open. I hope I am not worrying anyone else. Please don't worry about me I will be fine... Just know that I may be going through some tough times here in the next few weeks as Ashlyn starts daycare. Thank you all for your understanding and support. It means so much to me to have this outlet and such supportive friends. I love you all!


  1. I'd be real curious to know how you felt about this after writing it all out like this. Usually it gives me a release, and I'm able to let go. Different people are different, though...

    This is a real tough deal, Annie. I've known people to have irrational fears, but I guess I didn't realize you struggled with it so intensely. I have a friend who's husband is convinced that he's going to die from a brain tumor. And he will even have dreams where he wakes up in a sweat from a brain tumor nightmare, and he wakes her up & she has to kind of soothe him from that fear. And there's nothing she can say that can convince him otherwise from thinking that one day he might have a brain tumor & die. He is so intensely afraid of that.

    I wish I knew what the solution was. I have to think that thinking out loud about these issues yourself can only help. Maybe in writing out your thoughts/emotions rationally you can help yourself conquer the irrational.

    There's a good man in my life who often preaches about only worrying yourself with the things in life that you can control. Of the advice I dole out in the counseling role of ministry, this is what I end up saying to people about 40% of the time (what they usually need to hear). That you can only control the things you can control. And the things you can't control -- you can't control those things, so it's really kind of a waste of energy to spend anxiety on them. I'm so glad that guy (a Bible class teacher) spent time emphasizing that to me & others so long ago. It helps me prioritize. I could worry about the economy, about the government, about any number of things. But in the end, I have very little influence over those matters. Jesus put it this way:

    "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matt. 6:27

    I don't know if any of that helps. Maybe it doesn't, as you said you don't wanna be told that they're irrational. But I hope the writing helps. I think it's a good thing.

  2. Ann, I am right there with you with having anxieties about THAT certain thing. I found myself over-analyzing every little thing she said and did this afternoon to see if there were any "signs" I should catch. Horrible, right? Like you said, just the fear that your child could be the random one...I totally understand. But, as moms, and ones who are well-educated, we did our due diligence to find good places, right? We can only leave the rest in God's hands and pray for safety and peace. Love ya, girl :)

  3. I have a couple of books that have helped me when dealing with fear and anxiety. Let me know if you would like the titles.

  4. Philip- Thanks for your insight. It actually helped quite a bit. I found that like telling Erik sometimes the release of holding it all in helps to control it somewhat.
    Rosemary- Thanks for the support. I love that we have gotten so close and can share these experiences.
    Sarah- I would love those book titles! Amazing how long we've been friends and this has never come up. We should go away on a girls weekend!