I grew up with mental illness in the family, so I should be use to it, right? I should be able to handle it, right? I grew up with a bipolar mother who wasn’t medicated for almost my entire life under 18, so I’ve experienced some of the most difficult emotional shit (next to schizophrenia). And I survived it. Sometimes I think, just barely; but I survived.
But when it’s my own kid, and their brain fucks with them to the point that they’d rather not be alive, it rips me apart. It tears my heart out and makes me want to do anything or give him anything to help him. When my son is deep into the despair of a panic attack, asking me to help him and there is nothing I can to do, it’s the most helpless feeling ever.
All I want to do is to drive him to a hospital and make them give him a pill that will make it all go away. But that’s not how it works. That’s not the solution. Pills don’t make it all go away. And I know from trying “head meds” with him for ADHD, that he’s extremely sensitive to side effects from pharmaceutical drugs – especially drugs that affect the brain. I have no qualms about giving him an antibiotic if he has an infection. But pharmaceutical drugs are not the cure for emotional/energetic/ spiritual issues that affect the brain. That industry doesn’t understand the mechanics of the dis-ease, and only seeks to mask symptoms. That is not the way for my son. At least, not right now.
The kicker is, these days he can spend a few hours in a panic attack, as he did today, and then flip out of it within minutes. I was driving out of a very busy city that I am only somewhat familiar with, and he was beyond miserable, crying, and wishing he weren’t alive. (Prior to that, we had been at an aquarium, where his anxiety initially kicked in, and then outside walking down city blocks). We finally made our way up to the interstate, and all I wanted to do was get out of the city before rush hour traffic slammed us.
As we reached the more northern parts of the city, the kid was in total meltdown and said he was hungry and wanted something to eat. I had packed our lunch, but he hadn’t eaten much of it, and when I told him to eat more, he had every excuse in the book why he couldn’t eat the grapes or the sweet potato chips. And yet, by this time, we both realized that his panic attack was probably being exacerbated by low blood sugar.
As we drove, the only food I saw was fast food, and with a child who is supposed to be eating gluten-free and dairy-free, (and who doesn’t like vegetables), fast food restaurants offer nothing to eat. I knew there would be a few grocery stores as we got a bit further north, so I drove on, with kiddo still in full-tilt meltdown.
The frustrating thing was, eating some grapes would have boosted his blood sugar pretty quickly, but he refused to eat any, saying they didn’t taste right. It’s at times like that, that I wonder if he purposely wants to feel like shit, to get me running in circles to do this or that to try to help him feel better. It’s almost like he’d rather become catatonic than eat a fucking grape and maybe help himself to feel better.
We finally reached an exit where there was a grocery store that I knew carried baked chicken pieces, which is my go-to choice for emergency food. As soon as we peeled off the exit, traffic was horrendous. I didn’t know exactly where the grocery store was, but found it fairly quickly. I went in and got some food that the kid would like and could eat, and he wolfed it down.
About 10 minutes back up the interstate, it was like the kid never even had a panic attack. He was cheerful and back to a more normal, pleasant self. He left that shit behind in just a few minutes.
Me, however. That’s a different story. This sort of episode usually leaves me a bit shell-shocked. After trying to keep my cool and keep my calm, and just plain keep my shit together for over two hours of my son’s anxiety and panic, my nerves are shot. I am done. I am so fucking done.
I should not be so wiped out. But I think it’s a combination of my heart breaking for my son, and having experienced so much trauma during my own upbringing, that my nervous system gets wrung out.
This is not new. It’s happened several times. But my son hasn’t had this bad of a panic attack in more than a few months, so it hit me harder. Looks like I’ll have to micromanage his eating for a while, to make sure he eats something every few hours, so his blood sugar won’t get too low again.
Sometimes being a mother to my son is just too fucking hard. It’s partly because of how I’m wired: how my body and brain responds to emotionally challenging times, and how my kid is wired, so extremely sensitive to energies and having anxiety and often times poorly regulated emotions.
Because I have such a huge emotional stake in this boy, I get sucked way into how he’s doing. I know other people who also struggle with their emotions, but it’s so much easier to not be sucked in and react when they are not doing well. It’s easier to stay in a caring and supportive, and yet neutral place, to be there for them. But when it comes to my own son, my mind goes to places like, “how is he going to make it in the world with panic attacks? He’ll never be able to get and keep a job. Maybe I should just put him on some drug that will likely turn him into a partial zombie. What if things get this bad for him after he’s grown and left home and he ends up killing himself?”
My mind projects what’s going on with this 13 year old boy, who is still very much growing, developing, and learning, and plunks it right down into a 21 year old version of him. I have to remember that he’s got a lot of changing and learning ahead of himself in the next eight or so years. That future projecting really fucks me every time.
This might be something very worthwhile to look into in hypnosis. To see what underlying emotions are bubbling up and messing with me every time this happens. Yes, that would be interesting to explore.