Tag Archives: anxiety
Aside

One Time, I Freaked Out.

16 Jun

Lazarus almost choked on a penny.  I don’t even know if that’s a fair description, really.  It was more like he gagged on a penny for a second before expelling it from his mouth.  But I flipped out.  I mean:  FLIPPED OUT.  Allow me to paint a picture:

He was lying on the ground (probably in a dress or naked, his usual uniform) talking to me, and I noticed there was something in his mouth and knew that we hadn’t eaten recently.  So I asked what was in his mouth?  And as he was saying it, I was realizing with some dismay that it was a penny.  I told him to spit it out!  Now!  As he moved the penny from the pocket of his cheek to his tongue, I could feel what was going to happen vibrate through me:  that penny was going to slide down into his throat and he was going to choke and he was probably going to die because Lord knows I do not know what to do in emergency situations.  I yanked him up (by his head, if I remember right) as he started to gag and saw a look of, albeit brief, panic.  I started to spin him so his back was facing me and was starting to reach around him with my hands to find the spot to start giving him the Heimlich, when the penny popped out of his mouth onto the couch in an aura of spit.  You could’ve choked!  You could’ve died!  Why do you do things like this?!  I demanded of him, my voice quivering.  His face rumpled into it’s pre-crying visage, but so did mine.  I couldn’t stand it– this could have been the day he died.  This could’ve been the story I told for years to come.  This moment– so short; so uneventful, really; a moment of almost-but-not-quite disaster– was too much for me to handle.  I began sobbing, shuddering with fear and anxiety and premature grief.

Why doesn’t he listen to me?  Why doesn’t he stop putting small things in his mouth at this age?  Why is he always getting hurt?  Why is this so scary to me?

As I sat on the couch sobbing into my hands wondering all these things, the kids would wander in and out, near and far.  They suggested I go upstairs to scream.  Maybe I could leave the room or something?  Here.  This animal will help you feel better, Mommy.  These little people are kind to me when I’m obviously upset.

I called Joe and sobbed to him for about 15 minutes; he tried his best to calm me down.  But there’s not much you can do to calm down a person in a completely irrational panic.  Yeah, it was scary for the nanosecond it was happening.  But it was over, and no one was hurt.  (Well, I was hurting, I guess, but that’s not what I mean.)  I know that I have emotional responses that are past what would be expected sometimes; and I know that I can become really scared of something that could possibly maybe potentially happen without actually experiencing the “thing”.  And that’s part of why I was so upset.

But I was also beside myself because of this:  As soon as I was able to calm down enough to stop crying, it was back to business with the kids.  And that’s exactly what happened.  As soon as I was done letting my chest heave and my breath run short, Laz wanted me to make the tent that I said I’d make and Zoe wanted to eat.  My whole world was being held together, loosely, with delicate threads of silk, and they wanted food and a tent.  They wanted me back to normal.  They wanted life to go on.  And I wanted to stop.  I wanted to lie in bed and cry for hours and fall asleep.  I wanted to lose control and sob and scream and be exactly what I felt in that moment.  But I couldn’t.  I mean, okay, I did tell Lazarus to shut up (NOT MY PROUDEST MOMENT, TELLING A 3-YEAR-OLD TO SHUT UP, MIND YOU) at some point during the wailing when he asked for his tent to be made.  So I did indulge in my despair some.  But I couldn’t sit in it like I wanted to, like I sometimes need to.  I had to calm myself down as quickly as possible and get over it for then.  I didn’t like it.  I don’t like it.  Sometimes, I hate being a mom because you always have to take care of the kids.  Always.  Having a panic attack?  Kids still want lunch.  Sobbing so hard you might faint?  Kids still need to go to bed.  Just generally freaking out?  Kids are still going to hit you, hug you, lick you, ignore you.

Sometimes I feel so trapped in motherhood.  And it is scary as f**k.  Seriously.  Sometimes I feel so scared of loving them because, hey, maybe they’ll choke on pennies suddenly and die because I couldn’t protect them and care for them like I’m supposed to.  I love them and hate them sometimes for making me step outside of myself.  These little people– so needy, so want-y, so sweet and lovely and caring and callous all at the same time– are my people, my family, my children and what does it even mean?

It means sometimes I freak out but have to come right out of it; that I cannot be as selfish as depression and anxiety tend to make me; that sometimes I keep moving solely because I have to in order to keep 3 other people alive.  Kids, for me, have been both trigger and cure.  It is kind of horrifying (man, do I love to exaggerate and use hyperbole…) to feel such conflicting things about someone you made in your body.