Panic Attack

To continue my shitty morning I went to a mum and baby group with my daughter who is almost 18 months. I never really got the whole mum and baby group thing. It’s just a bunch of women getting together who have fuck-all in common other than the fact they have given birth recently.

I always felt like an outsider when I went to them when the boys were babies and I did again today. I just sat there wondering why I persist in doing things I really don’t care about but think I *should* be doing, wondering why everyone else seems so much more happy and confident than I am. My daughter is the most anxious baby ever and would not let go of my hand the entire time. I think this is down to me spending nine months of pregnancy in a constant state of red alert because of all the miscarriages I’d had before. I literally spent every waking minute (and a fair few of the sleeping ones), afraid she was going to die at any second. Baby F came out stressed out and has never really recovered. Her personality is fearful of everything.

So, there we were, she was hanging onto my hand as she had done for the whole hour we’d been there and I was standing around feeling like a spare part, when suddenly she lost her balance and even though I had hold of her hand somehow she managed to dive head first onto the solid floor with a horrible smack sound.

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Well of course, she screamed and screamed. But I was unexpectedly upset beyond all reason as well. I think it was the combination of feeling shitty anyway, the fact it felt like it was my fault because she was holding my hand at the time, how out of place and isolated I felt and also a feeling of shame that I had let my child get hurt.

Anyway, we put some ice on her head, but she screamed and screamed. She calmed down a bit when I took it away, but then she lost it again when I tried to sit back down with her. I’d been struggling to hold back the tears since she first fell, but suddenly they just started running down my face and I knew I couldn’t stop them any longer. I was going to cry my eyes out and I couldn’t stop it. I got up and grabbed my bag and I couldn’t even speak a proper goodbye because I was trying to stop my chest from heaving out these massive sobs.

The two girls that run it were clearly concerned but all I could do was shake my head and leave – oh god it was all so embarrasing.

Walking back to the car I actually heard myself gasping little sobs out loud that I couldn’t control. Once we were in the car I drove off and my breathing went haywire. I was uncontrollably gasping my in-breath, around four or five times in succession, like I was suffocating and I couldn’t breathe. I was actually a bit frightened that my airways were going to close up (the only other time I had a panic attack was after nearly being hit by a car on my bike in 1998 – 19 years ago almost to the day – and my breathing was so erratic and laboured afterwards I was terrified I was going to die. I had a very competent, confident boyfriend at the time who stayed completely calm and just waited it out with me, bless him). It took about 10 minutes before I could breathe in and out properly, without my chest jumping up and down, by which point we were home (yeah, I drove home. I needed to be home and I drove slow enough that I knew I could pull over at any point if my breathing got worse).

What the fuck. Right? I mean, being miserable and irritable is one thing, but that kind of reaction is totally disproportionate and unhelpful.

I am beginning to wonder – is this just my brain fucked after all the years of a high sugar diet? Is it the glass of wine I have every single night making me depressed and anxious? Or have I just spent 20 years unknowingly self-medicating with sugar and alcohol to cover up my fucked up, depressed and anxiety-ridden personality?

I just don’t know. But the only way to find out is to carry on and see if this ever improves.

I don’t think I have ever felt so low – my mood is on a par with how I was after I lost pregnancy after pregnancy. Back then I had a reason – now I’m just clueless as to why I feel so fucking awful.

I just don’t know what to do to make myself feel better.

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