A few days ago I had a major panic attack. It’s not the first time I’ve had one, and I am sure it won’t be the last. I was at the end of my rope and even though I tried to explain it to Justin a few weeks prior, he just simply didn’t understand. To him, I’m sure my unhappiness sounded like whining. “This is so hard. They don’t listen. I don’t have a single second to myself.” The anxiety was slowly building in my body. I was going shorter and shorter time spans with a complete thought in my brain. It seemed that my head was full of cobwebs and I kept telling myself, “soon, Katie, you’ll be able to think all this through. Soon, you will be able to breathe again.” But then, it was too late.
We had a huge crowd in for Thanksgiving. Lots of people visiting, coming in and out. Lots of smiling, pretending it was all ok. Lots of defending my children for being children. Not that I needed to, but because I felt I should. There was no alone time, no down time, no quiet time. Throughout the week there were less and less deep breaths, less silent moments, less smiles. By Saturday afternoon, I had quite literally lost it. We were at a restaurant and the kids should have been napping. Never mind that though because Harrison hasn’t taken a nap in a week or so. It’s just a constant battle of the wills and he always wins. They were loud, they wouldn’t sit. They wouldn’t eat. And, oh, the mess. My parents were there, cackling about how fun it was to be grandparents and not be responsible for all of this. The blood inside my veins was boiling. Once my meal finally arrived (of course, through all of this stress, I’m trying to work out and eat healthy so I was famished at this point and all I wanted was to eat my sandwich), the kids had to be removed from the restaurant. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t think. Justin yelled at me. Later on, he told me he actually thought I was going to hurt one of the kids. That sentiment never crossed my mind, but you can imagine how I felt hearing that. That my own husband thought my anger and loss of control could come to that.
After we put the kids in bed for their naps (of course Harrison did not sleep), I crawled into my own bed. Justin came to ask if I was alright. I shook my head no. We whispered quietly, we acknowledged that something needed to be done. I still don’t know if he understands. I take an anti anxiety when I need to, and that is so infrequently that we had no idea where my medicine was. After half-heartedly searching my drawers and cabinets, I got back into bed and covered my head. Justin said, “Well, a nap isn’t going to fix it this time. You need to call your doctor.” I did, and she wrote me another prescription. After taking it, I was dead to the world for three straight hours. I woke up groggy and confused and insecure. The grogginess and confusion faded away after a few hours but the insecurity still hasn’t left me.
This parenting thing has got the best of me. It beat me down. My one job in the world has gotten me so tangled up that I have to be medicated to make it through. This is not something that I hide from my family and friends, or now, the internet. It’s not something I’m ashamed of, usually. But how on earth am I going to do this? They are still so little. Will I whittle away before they grow up? I am feeling so incompetent and weak. I yearn to be a natural caregiver, a nurturing parent. The truth of the matter is, I love my babies more than life itself. Why, then, is this so hard?