It’s been a hard day. Let’s be honest here, it’s been a hard week. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t really want to dwell on, but to summarize: Emotions are high, energy is low, outside things are going wrong, and, oh, panic attacks suck. But when you’re a parent, you just have to push through the pain. Life keeps moving, yeah?
But sometimes it all goes wrong.
We all struggle sometimes when it comes to life. I mean, you can’t stop your car breaking down or the dishwasher exploding. That’s just how it works, right? Okay, sure, you can do some things to reduce the risk, but ultimately things are just going to go to crap now and then.
In my case, we had a batch of really emotional days here. When I get really moody, I tend to isolate. Admittedly, sometimes that’s really helpful, but others it makes things worse. The other side effect is that my mood tends to get absorbed by everyone else. So, a bitchy Hana makes for a bitchy Mike and Morgan. When I’m depressed, suddenly everyone else is depressed.
Wanna guess why I hide?
Add it to it a bunch of random stuff going bad and a couple fights, and… well, you get a panic attack. Actually, I don’t really know where the panic attack came from. That’s just my best guess.
So I push through the pain.
In this case, it was quite literal. Yesterday I had a panic attack much like the one that sent me to the hospital. I was in the car when it hit – clenching chest, knotted neck, difficulty breathing. The first time this happened, I seriously thought I was dying. The pain was so intense, it felt worse than childbirth (with no painkillers…). So, when I say it hurt, I mean it.
The problem was, we were on our way to get a whole bunch of errands done, so there wasn’t a lot of room for coddling myself. I had to push through the pain and get stuff done.
Now, is this healthy? Probably not, but it’s a problem pretty much every parent faces at some point, regardless of mental health status. You get a cold? The kids still need to get up and ready for school. You only got two hours of sleep? I’m sorry, but there’s parent teacher conferences today and you can’t just skip those. Day three of a depression bad enough you can only eat the bread sitting on the counter? That’s rough. Kids still need dinner, and no, they can’t just have bread.
What can we do?
It’s an important question. What can we do about the terrible stuff that doesn’t seem to care we have obligations in life? Sadly, not much.
I know. We want to hear “Of course there’s a handy trick that makes it all better!” But there isn’t. Does that mean we’re completely out of luck and destined for a life of misery and pain? No.
There’s no miracle cure, true, just like there’s no miracle cure for our illnesses. That doesn’t meant we are powerless to ease the struggle. We can’t keep our car from breaking down eventually, but we can do preventative things to make it less likely and be better prepared for when it happens. If you know it’ll happen eventually, you have a better idea how to prepare.
So, let’s listen to our doctors and get rest, eat well, exercise as able, and all that jazz. Practice those coping skills. Create a crisis plan. Be around loved ones and make time for the things that bring you true joy. Then, the next time you have to push through the pain, you’ll be ready for it. You’ll have help.
We can get through this together.
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