Yesterday afternoon, I was making dinner as Lawton and Cecilia left for softball practice. Will had finished his homework and was wanting to watch TV but I declined his request of shiftless loafing and told him to go play instead. We decided that I was going to finish getting the spaghetti going and then go for a bike ride. He was going to "dink around" in the meantime.
About five minutes after this conversation, I was finished and went to the garage to find Will and leave for the bike ride. And he was nowhere to be found. I called and called, ran all over the house, walked up and down the street - still nothing. Hopped on my bike to see if I could see him down the road somewhere, but was pretty unsure about what was going on because both his bike and his scooter were still in the garage. Rode to the pool area - nothing. To the cul de sac where he likes to ride to - nothing.
Came home, wondering if maybe he was just somewhere inside and hadn't heard me. (I know, pretty impossible to believe with my big mouth, but still.) Then it dawned on me that he may have sweet talked Lawton into letting him tag along to softball practice and no one had told me. Called the husband - no answer. Called a friend who was at practice - no answer. Called the husband again. Called the friend again - he answered, got Lawton and they confirmed that Will was not there either. Lawton began to jump in the truck and race home and I was hanging up to call the police. About forty minutes had passed since I started looking and serious panic was setting in.
As I walked outside, just dialing 911, I noticed movement near the stop sign. Here came Will, walking down the street carrying his skateboard and elbow pads. The look on my face must have been enough because before I even started talking, he went on about how sorry he was, please forgive him, he loves me, etc. I began my sniffling teary diatribe about knowing where he is, making sure that I know where he has gone, and so forth but about halfway through it, I realized that my entire body had been practically singing with adrenaline that left so quickly I just flopped down on the ground.
I have never been so scared in my entire life. Ever. And I am now certain that I am 77 instead of 37. I even woke up with a new wrinkle.
What happened next surprised me, and I guess it shouldn't have, but I don't think I've ever felt the way I did before the relief of seeing my son set in. After a few minutes of trying to compose myself, I realized that I was having a panic attack. People who I am close with know that I struggle with anxiety and depression, and have been on and off several different medications to deal with this. Most of the time I do pretty okay but every once in a while, well, stuff just goes haywire. The pounding heart, sweating, weird humming sound in my ears are all disconcerting but what really freaks me out is the feeling of not being able to catch my breath.
As you can imagine, feeling like you cannot breathe does nothing to actually lower your anxiety level, so that is why I take medication. I joke about my crazy pills, but when you are in the throws of an attack, that bottle is a lifeline. I don't take Xanax to get a buzz - when I need it, I take it to feel normal. When it kicks in, the only thing I notice is that I can breath again. That I feel like myself again. That I can think clearly again, instead of feeling like a trapped animal, trying to escape my own body.
Yesterday, one of my very most favorite bloggers, Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess,
experienced an anxiety attack of her own, and as per usual, shared it with us. Jenny has been very open and candid about her struggles with anxiety and depression with her bazillions of followers, in hopes that sharing her story with others who are struggling as well may help them. I think it's working too, because when you read the comments on her blog and other writings, there are scads of people thanking her for sharing her story.
Jenny has made the phrase "Depression Lies" her personal mantra and I have taken it on as my own too. Because it does lie. When I have a depressive episode, the things my brain tells me are horrible. Things like "no one would care if you were dead", "you are such a big fat failure" and "your life is completely meaningless" and the lowest, "your children would be better off with a different mother". Ouch.
Are these things true? Nope. Do I feel like they are? Sometimes. Why? Because depression lies and we believe it. One of my tactics to try stop my brain from doing this is to ask myself if I would allow someone to talk to me like that. Absolutely not. The other thing is that I ask myself if I would talk to someone else like that. The answer is unequivocally no. But sometimes this isn't enough, which again, is why I take medication and stay in contact with my doctor especially when I am struggling with my anxiety/depression.
Now, I don't want you guys to worry - really, I'm fine, honestly. But I think that the more people are open with their own experiences, the more other people who feel that they are alone in their struggles will know that they are not. They can know that there is no shame in taking medication to deal with this and that it is no different than taking any other medication for a physical disorder. They can know that there is hope and that they too can feel better. They can know that depression is a liar and not to listen. Here is the video that Jenny posted to her blog today. It's really good, and totally worth sharing. I hope that by sharing my experience, maybe I can help someone too. Be nice to yourselves, people. You are the only you out there. :-)