Talee’s first panic attack at nine years old wasn’t a huge, momentous occasion. It easily could’ve been ignored or brushed off as a little girl not feeling well. But since I’d had panic attacks since childhood, I had a feeling I knew what was wrong.
Talee may have had the symptoms before, and didn’t tell me. It can be really difficult for someone to describe their symptoms, and nearly impossible for a child.
Mackenzie and Talee loved having sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. One afternoon when Mackenzie was eleven, and Talee was nine, I took the girls to my parent’s house. My mom and dad had a special evening planned: out to dinner, then back home for dessert and a movie.
When I picked the girls up the next morning, my mom took me aside.
“Talee had a little problem last night, but I didn’t think it was anything, so I didn’t call you.”
“We were at the restaurant eating our dinner,” Mom said. “Talee wasn’t very hungry and didn’t eat much. She told me she felt wobbly and sick. But she said nothing hurt. I checked her forehead and she didn’t have a fever. She looked a little pale though.”
“Hmm.” I frowned.
“She was fine when we got home. She ate half a sandwich and a bowl of ice cream. She laughed with Mackenzie and seemed to have a good time.”
“She seems okay right now. I’ll see if she complains of that again,” I said.
A sick feeling came over me. I know what’s wrong. I’d had enough panic attacks to know how “wobbly” feels. And when I leave the place where I’m having the panic attack, I feel better. My gut instinct told me that that’s what happened to Talee.
I tried to dismiss my intuition, and didn’t say anything to my mom or my husband. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions and am completely wrong about this. I thought it was best to keep my thoughts to myself and not worry anyone else. Chances are, Talee will never feel like this again. Her symptoms could’ve been anything. Or nothing at all.
But still, I worried. The last thing I wanted was for my little girl to experience those frightening feelings again.
A few weeks later, she did. My “mother’s intuition” was right. This was one time I didn’t want it to be.
Talee’s long, panicky road began.
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