Panic, Parenting

Sometimes, as a parent, you just feel like you missed the ferry back to the mainland where everyone else is probably hula-hooping, umbrella drinks in hand, while you are standing at the edge of the island yelling WAIT! YOU FORGOT ME! I'M MAROONED HERE WITH THESE CHILDREN OF MINE, WITH ONLY A DORA PUZZLE AND HALF A SNACK BAG OF CHEEZ-ITS TO GET BY ON. You almost wish for a Wilson volleyball.... Now that my semester of teaching is over and the last of the grades have been handed in, I've been feeling that marooned feeling more than ever.

And if I'm really being honest, it's been rising to a fairly serious level. I've suffered from panic attacks since I was in college, but they sort of came in a very cumulative way and not very frequently. After I had my daughter, I got them more, both provoked and unprovoked. I put myself in treatment and had a great therapist and got regulated with some medication and all was well.

More recently, though, I've had a few setbacks. I've had several panic attacks in the last week. Hands-clammy, heart racing, voice-lifting, near-hyperventilating panic attacks. When I consult Dr. Internet, she tells me that most people's panic attacks only last about 10 minutes. Oh really? So they're not supposed to last from the cereal aisle in Whole Paycheck to four solid hours later when you're trying to make dinner and cannot find the flipping flip flipper thingy that flips things?



Needless to say, I'm back in treatment and getting my medication regulated. I'm quite comfortable sharing my mental health predicament because A. of all) I live with a therapist and his is an industry I support wholeheartedly and B. of all) there is no shame in admitting that I experience ill-timed, consuming pangs of anxiety. The only shame I see in that is being in denial that it happens and being above getting help so that everyone around me suffers. That'd be not so swell.

However, in the meantime, while I'm working on staying busy and positive and hoping to get these meds stabilized, I have a friend to help me through the interminable afternoons when I am stuck on the Island of Crankypants during a thunderstorm and the snack cabana is fresh out of fudgesicles.

My new friend's name is Normal. We actually named the puppet Normal before I started having these episodes. Ironic, isn't it?


Normal does a lot of work somedays. Normal narrates things for Baby Girl and Little Man when they are getting a little testy and their mother has about 4 seconds of Good Mama left. Normal likes to make up songs and Normal likes to laugh and be hugged and Normal has infinite patience.

I think every parent could use a Normal to do the talking.

Someday, I'm sure my kids will laugh and throw me under the bus telling their friends about how looney their mother was, and how she had this puppet named Normal and how every time they saw that hideous puppet come out of the closet, they knew there was going to be some crazymaking.

And that? Will be totally normal for me.



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