She can't breathe, having trouble finding her next breath. But she can breathe, I know she can. Panic attacks go to my heart, they go to her breath.
It is her second one. She felt nauseous, in that moment she thought she would throw up, the panic snuck in. I am amazed as a mother how calm I am when I am called to be the one who knows, who understands. My otherwise frantic and impatient mind finds gentleness and stillness. That is why I coach, I take pictures, I write. I like it there.
I promise her that she can breathe, that her body is tricking her a little bit. We talk about what she was thinking about. She says, "I always try to think about good things before I go to sleep." If only we all could do that.
She knows that dairy makes her naseous but is still in that place of deciding how much to eat, how bad to feel. As a mother I could enforce it more strongly, this would just create more resistance to letting it go. I let her decide. As adults I know how hard the battle is to feel good.
Her panic is short. I love that. I love how quickly my voice and presence can relax her, within minutes she is asleep. I don't curse the genetic line of panic attacks, I embrace that we can move through them, we can find our peace.
The last week I have had two panic attacks. One while driving a van full of kids home from the beach, the whole time promising myself that I was not having a heart attack and dying, the other part of me planning how I would stop the van safely while I was having the heart attack. It lasted about 30 minutes as the kids slowly all fell to sleep.
Humidity seems to make my anxiety swell. Grains seem to make my anxiety swell. I've already let go of caffeine.
The truth is that I have high anxiety.
We all have truth.
Being fully inside of my highly sensitive nature means that I feel a whole hell of a lot.
When your daughter has a panic attack, you talk to her. Sit with her. Promise her with your whole heart that she can breathe.
With each breath you remember how you want to feel.
And find a way to feel it.