Tuesday, December 11, 2012

And just like that...panic!

Maybe you have already read my post about our trip to Springfield.  Yes, it was a fun family get-away. But I also had a near-panic attack.  I like to share about how I deal with panic and anxiety because I hope that you, the reader, will find it helpful.

On Friday Levi was sneezing and had a runny nose.  We figured it was allergies but, as I was packing, I instinctively went to pack the children's ibuprofen, just in case.  As I did, I realized it had expired last May.  JF and I decided not to pack it, and to buy it if we needed it once we arrived.

So, we arrived, Levi was fine, just sniffly.  We shopped, ate and had a great evening.  Once he fell asleep, though, he began to toss, turn, moan, groan and even cry in his sleep.  These are all signs that he is achy/running a small fever.  Around 1:00 am he was to a point where he was crying but still asleep, but his crying woke me up.  I decided to run to find an open Walgreen's or grocery store.  I tend to be a (much) lighter sleeper than JF so I volunteered to go.  Once I got in the car I had that half-awake "not real" feeling that I absolutely despise.  I pressed on, figuring it would go away once I was driving.  The grocery store across from the hotel was closed.  I thought that I had seen a CVS not far from the hotel so I headed in that direction.  

Here is what my inner-dialogue sounded like:
"Oh, geez, I feel groggy.  What if I wreck the car?  What if I can't keep driving and have to pull over?  What if I fall asleep at the wheel?"
Those type of questions kept going through my head, along with knowing that I needed to be strong and find L some medicine.  I started to get that dry mouth, sweaty/clammy, heart-racing feeling.  I wanted to turn around and go back to the hotel, cry, and let JF go back out.  But that would have been stupid.  I was already out.  It was 1:15 in the morning.  And...I was approximately 1.5 miles from my hotel.  Funny how anxiety really does make the world so, so small.

I came to the CVS.  It was closed.  Ack!  So, I kept going, towards the busy shopping district, again, only about 2 miles from the hotel.  I was using my CBT thinking as best as I could, telling myself that I was awake, that I wouldn't need to pull over, that never, ever would I fall asleep while driving in this fight-or-flight mode I had put myself in.  When I reached the store-filled intersection and still no 24 hour shops to be seen, I made the decision to try the gas station that was directly across from the hotel.  I turned around and headed back.  While I was alone in my car it was easy to ignore the other cars out and feel completely isolated, like I was the only one in the world.  But lets remember, I was in a college town, on a Friday night, and it was "only" 1:15 am.

So, I get to the gas station, still feeling fuzzy and not really expecting a place with the name "Kum&Go" to have childrens medicine.  But, lo and behold, they did!  I was still feeling panicked, but had to step back and laugh at myself as the hipster kid with the undone tie and his Tapout shirt wearing friend were in front of me buying beer and cigarettes.  I half wanted to say "Hurry up, I am having a panic attack!" and the other half of me was wondering how many gas stations I wandered around in the middle of the night on the way home from a bar, oblivious to a panicked parent behind me.  I bought the Advil, walking out as the kid behind me was purchasing a pint of...something.

I was definitely calmed down in that moment, while also being hit with a ton of bricks that I truly am past my prime.  I often see posts online about "snuggling on the couch with my kiddos, watching a movie...this is my new Friday night."  Usually posted by people around my age, with kids, all that jazz. Yes, that is one sign of adulthood, parenthood, what have you.  But I think you truly know that there is no going back when it's 1:15 am and having to go buy children's medicine in a 2 MILE RADIUS of your hotel sends you into a panic.  And that is okay.  There was no better feeling in the world than arriving, safe and sound, quelling all "what-if" questions about doom and death, at my hotel to give my gizzle guy his medicine.  And knowing that I didn't give in to anxiety.

Please.  Just buy your beer and get out of my way!

In the parking lot, safely "home", I knew this was a bloggable moment
and, of course, snapped a picture :)


  1. Way to be such an awesome mom -- your kiddos are lucky to have u ;)

  2. Congratulations on overcoming your anxiety. When we worry, our reaction isn't always rational. And, as you note, it can be affected by our age. When I was a teenager, I did crazy stuff that makes me cringe now. How we view the world is subjective and changes over time. Intriguing post!

    1. Thanks so much! I definitely view situations differently the older I get. I guess thats why we don't see too many 50 year old skate boarders :)

  3. Sally, I'm so proud of you. Your blog is looking great!

  4. Sally-thank you for being so honest and allowing us to go through this with you. From someone who has anxiety also, I appreciate it more than you know!!

    1. It makes my day to hear that I am helping others by sharing what I go through. Stinkin' anxiety!


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