Being a Mom with Panic Disorder

A scream sticks like a lump in my throat, tasting of fear and bile.  My breath quickens, as my heart all but stops for a second before launching into a rapid tempo that I can feel through my entire body.  Then, like stepping into sub-zero temperatures, every inch of me starts shaking.  I am glued to the spot where I stand, even though every muscle is aching to run.  A million thoughts race through my head, as if I’m a supercomputer trying to calculate Pi to the last digit, but none of them stay around long enough for me to make any sense of what’s going on inside my mind.  Without warning, tears spill out of eyes and run down my cheeks, almost hissing as the cool water touches my face flamed with a heat I’m sure anyone near me can feel.  My stomach churns and tightens into a small little ball that threatens to pierce through my insides. I think I’m dying.

Then, as quickly as it hits, it starts to fade.  What felt like a lifetime of intense fear with everyone staring at me, was nothing more than a 30 second panic attack.

I’m left feeling drained, tired, and in an almost stupor, while I struggle to remember how to speak and walk.  A pounding headache starts behind my eyes and lets me know that it’s there to stay for a while.  My legs feel like rubber from being so tense, and all I want to do is take a nap.  That will have to wait though, because now I have to begin my grocery shopping.

Panic attacks stem from irrationality, from fears you can’t control.  Severe anxiety is one of those conditions that is so hard to explain to someone who has never experienced a panic attack.  For me, any little surge in adrenaline causes me to instantly hit “fight or flight” mode and I can’t stop it.  This means that everything from social settings to getting in a car, anything that might release adrenaline, has the potential to cause a panic attack.  

I have severe anxiety.  I’ve mentioned it on here a few times before, but today has been a rough day so I wanted to write this to maybe bring a little more awareness into the world about it.  When I was younger, and my anxiety was at its worst, my dad used to tell me that if I wasn’t comfortable where I was at, then find a way out.  It was great advice for when I felt my anxiety levels raising, but now that I’m a mom, it isn’t so easy to follow.

You see, now that I’m a parent, my new motto is, “Suck it up, buttercup.”  There are so many things that cause me to become anxious or overwhelmed, but I can no longer live in constant fear of having a panic attack.  The baby needs milk, so I have to go to the store and deal with people to make sure she has it.  The toddler is going to get hurt when he plays, so I have to be calm and rational when he scrapes his knee – because he needs me.

That’s the difference I think.  I can no longer only think about myself and my irrational fears – I have little people that depend on me and need me to be normal for them.  Whatever normal is.


  1. I am no stranger to panic attacks! They're awful! Trying to keep yourself together when a trigger hits is quite the feat and I've also had to suck it up at times.

  2. This just sounds so scary... I'm so sorry that you have to go through this. Have you had any luck with medications? Or does that make it worse?


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