This morning- really early- I had to take my teenage daughter for blood work ordered by her pediatrician (routine stuff, nothing bad). She has a phobia to needles and was very worried about this appointment all week.
In the car on the way there she was very quiet. I didn’t try to talk to her too much as she gets easily irritated with me. I did ask her simply, “How are you?” to which she angrily replied “Fine!”
We had an 7am appointment so we didn’t have to wait too long (my idea). When she was in the chair waiting for the phlebotomist to come in, I put my hand on her neck and her heart was literally pounding out of her chest. You could see her t shirt quivering because her heart was banging so fast and so hard.
Thankfully the phlebotomist was very good. He got her with one expert stick and it was over in a flash…
I have no fear of needles and every mothering instinct wanted me to be able to comfort her. (fyi- this is also the daughter who suffered from panic attacks in 2nd grade, so I am probably always over concerned about her)
In any case, I wanted her to know it would just feel annoying for a second, and then it would be all over. I wanted to tell her it wasn’t a big deal, just relax. But I could not.
For a split second, My daughter looked like she was going to cry. But then her mood brightened right up. As we were headed home in the car, she remarked, “I can’t believe I worried all week about that.”
Isn’t that the way it goes with panic attacks too?
We have “X” situation coming up- a party, work, going to the gym, shopping, you name it. “X” could be any situation that we fear–and then we blow it up to monstrous proportions in our mind. We fret and worry and lose sleep and obsess and make ourselves absolutely sick about it.
And eventually the situation comes to pass. Maybe we have a panic attack, but often we don’t…
Just for Today I Will Not Worry
It’s those times I wish I could just comfort myself ahead of time. I wish I could remind myself that whatever it is I am worried about, my imagination makes it a hundred times worse.
And what was different about my daughter’s situation this morning and mine (and probably other anxiety sufferers too) is this:
We usually suffer alone.
I was there to support my daughter any way she needed my. Even though she basically pushed me away, it didn’t stop me from praying for her. My mom was praying for her too. She had love and support every step of the way, and she knew it.
Us? Not so much.
We sit in the crowded restaurants, the shopping malls, in long lines, in churches, cars, and practically everywhere else and suffer in silence. We feel like we’re dying on the inside and yet try to put on a brave face for the world.
I know this much is true- if I didn’t think panic attacks were such a big deal- if I could share about them appropriately when I needed to, and maybe get a word of comfort, they would not be a big deal. They would not affect me like they do.
Just for Today I Will Not Worry
Keeping a journal is one way I comfort myself. By having my experiences and triumphs written down, I can clearly see the futility of worrying about a panic attack. I admit, this is something I continue to work on. I’m not there yet, but I’ll get there.
Just for today, I will be unafraid. Especially I
will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful,
and to believe that as I give to the world, so
the world will give to me. -Al-Anon
I wish you peace,