My ten-year-old Talee went from being happy, outgoing, and carefree to nervous, sad, and anxious. I wanted nothing more than to hear her infectious giggle and watch her jump on the trampoline, without a care in the world.
I couldn’t stop her panic attacks. And since I had panic disorder, I knew exactly how she felt. I thought I should’ve been able to say or do something to make it better. It was miserable to watch her suffer and not have the power to take it away.
Parents are seen as heroes by their children. Kids look up to Mom or Dad to fix problems. But my husband and I were at a loss. We couldn’t get rid of her frightening symptoms. She couldn’t either.
Talee was always logical. She knew she shouldn’t be afraid of school. She had a lot of friends, liked her teacher, and got excellent grades. But she panicked there once, and was afraid it’d happen again.
The fear of fear was uncontrollable.
Each day Talee stayed home from school, she became more frustrated that she couldn’t make the panic go away. So she stayed home again, and again, and again. It was like a snowball rolling down a mountain, picking up speed and strength along the way. A vicious cycle.
It was hard for my husband and I to watch anxiety take over our daughter’s life. I knew Talee was mad at herself for not being able to stop the panic. I never wanted her to think it was her fault — but I think she thought it was. Such a heavy burden for a child.
I understood why Talee was afraid to return to school. Heck, I never wanted to go to the grocery store because that’s where I’d always panic. But my husband never had panic attacks, so it was harder for him to relate.
One morning my husband couldn’t hide his frustration. “School is not an option, Talee. You have to go. It’s the law!” He was right, but it didn’t go over well with Talee. She cried and ran upstairs to the safety of her bedroom.
My husband and I wanted our funny, lighthearted, spontaneous girl back. And we knew that she wanted that more than anything.
Image courtesy of Cristal Moore on Pinterest. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/407646203744374936/
Second image courtesy of linzhouweb.com