Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Don't Panic Badge
(Photo courtesy of Jim Linwood )

We have all had those moments in life when we have been gripped by sheer panic. Something happens that is unexpected and we just lose it. Sometimes our panic is triggered by something very serious like a death or injury of a family member or friend. However there are times when even something relatively minor can just break you. It depends on the person and circumstances I guess.

In my 19 years of parenting I have had quite a few of these moments. Some warranted and some not. (Though who am I to say something is unwarranted if that’s what the moment did to me.)

I have had two children with episodes of convulsions. That has to be one of the scariest things a parent can go through. Even with my ER nursing experience, I still think that is one of the worst experiences I ever had. My first experience with any type of convulsion was with my 2nd child. He was a year and a half, running a fever and I sent him into the shower with my husband. The next thing I knew my husband was screaming and holding a stiff convulsing child. I lost it. I was sure he was a goner. And that was even though I knew that convulsions themselves are rarely fatal. Go tell that to anyone watching their kid convulse. Reason does not work at that moment.

My second convulsion experience was even worse. My little one was playing near the steps inside our house. The steps are part of our living room and she often sits on them to play. She had been running fever for a day, but was already feeling better.

All of a sudden we heard a big thunking sound and my eldest was the first to realize what had happened and that something was not right with her. She had fallen backwards on her head and had started convulsing. I was not sure whether the convulsions were what caused the fall, or if she fell and the head injury caused the convulsions. I thought I was going to have a heart attack on the spot.

Luckily I was home with all of the kids. I sent the oldest one running to the neighbor two houses down. (He is an anesthesiologist. I deal with his emergencies and he deals with mine because we both lose it when it comes to our own kids. Funny how that is.) I had the second oldest stay with the two younger ones, and I scooped up my daughter and with every last bit of energy in my body I ran out the door with her in the direction of my neighbor’s house. That should show you how panicked I was because if I was thinking about any kind of neck or head injury, as an ER nurse I should know better than to move her at all. That short walk to my neighbor was one of the longest I have ever had. It was winter, everyone’s windows were closed and no one heard my yelling pleas of help me, someone help me.

My neighbor met me halfway down his stairs and I passed my daughter over to him and almost collapsed myself. I thought she was either going to be dead or brain injured and never the same. Those next two minutes had to have been the longest in my life until they sent someone out to get me and tell me it was okay, she was okay.

I must be getting older and my memory must be fading, because I know all of my kids at one point or another induced panic in me. Maybe it is just the baby of the family thing, but it seems that my littlest daughter is the one who panics me the most these days. Kind of funny considering that my oldest is in the army.

Or maybe it is that my youngest is just the most confident and a bit too independent. Like the time she decided to go home on her own from synagogue on Shabbat when we turned our backs for a minute. We then spent 30 minutes in panic searching for her. Good thing we live in a community where the roads are closed off on the Sabbath, but that didn’t help our panic at the time. We found her safe and sound but with a few more grey hairs on our heads. (By the way, there is no need to call social services, honestly there isn’t.)

There are times when we are stressed about something and we work ourselves into a panic. There are other times when panic is visceral and takes over your body and there is not much to do except wait a few minutes and then consciously will yourself to calm down.

Either way, the only thing we can do when we panic is to remember we are human and not to be too hard on ourselves. Once the initial panic passes, we just need to collect ourselves and decide how we continue from there. Sometimes easier said than done, but we are only human after all.

This blog post was written for writing workshop #17 run by Josie at Sleep is for the Weak. I chose the second prompt: Has there ever been a time you felt panic start to take you over?

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