Tidal panic attacks – they ebb and flow – an off-the-cuff joint.

I’ve had four solid panic attacks over the last two weeks. Sometimes, you’ll get a hint of one pending but you can head it off. This was not the case here. They’re all connected to foster parenting, and the fear I’m doing something wrong or have made a mistake.

My brain is not a fan of the mistake, and since everything I’m doing right now feels new, the opportunities to feel that way abound.

On the bright side, I’ve started asking for help when they rear up, rather than withdrawing to deal with it in secluded misery.

I’ve become better at speaking honestly about things. I’m more direct about this thing and that, though one must guard one’s tongue a bit. I blundered in that regard with my parents yesterday. Not dire, and not bad enough to set me off, but a good reminder that one doesn’t need to speak every truth.

I happened to mention they’re speaking a little more slowly these days. The part of my brain that’s wedded to justifying wants to explain that my dad was pointing out I’d interrupted him (true, and I apologized), but really, it was mean.

I get a little tense through the chest communicating with the kiddos. I worry about pushback. I worry I’ll cause a hurt. I worry I’m doing it wrong. But eggshells rarely serve me well. Unless I’m fertilizing my roses.

Also, it’s been my observation that people dealing with those who are in a bad place often prevaricate too much. Honest is always better, though age-appropriateness is nice to keep in mind.)

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m the grownup in charge of things. If I don’t remind myself of that fact, I tend to approach as a supplicant, and when it comes to kids, we’re not equal. I didn’t treat my kids as if we were and I don’t see that as something I need to change.

Too many parents go in a different direction. Too many parents treat their kids like friends, especially their teens. They’re not your friends, your drinking buddies, or the audience for your more risqué stories. Crossing these boundaries causes harm.

I find I have more patience in my parenting these days. Far more than I had with family and loves. I’m not as emotionally invested in the outcomes of our interactions, and because we’re not yet in the way of being family, I don’t take things as personally as I did with my own, once upon a time.

Of course, I’m also older and this isn’t my first rodeo. I’m familiar in the ways of children and trauma in a way I wasn’t my first time through. I’ve also been working on training. I’m taking a lot of courses and what I’ve learned also informs how I’m doing things.

Life is, however, very different here on Walton Mountain. That in itself is a challenge for me. Routine is my safe space. It’s probably a good thing that it’s being challenged. If we’re not careful, routines become ruts.

Things will settle a bit next week. There will be school, which means a few daily hours of my own are almost mine again. I can visit my parents more regularly again. Important when one’s parents are older and on borrowed time. The treatment that’s slowing the spread of my mother’s lung cancer has an unfortunate side effect – squamous cell carcinoma. She’s had two lesions (also known as tumours, though they don’t like to call them that anymore) removed already, and there are several more growing that will need attention.

They’re in awkward spots – low on the ankle where it’s hard to find skin, on the knee – and so the wounds are held closed with staples until the skin starts to knit. Eight on the most recent one and the healing is slowed down by both cancer and diabetes.

My mother, as it happens, had a large number of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences). I wish I didn’t know that they have long and unhealthy legs. Too many ACEs can kill you. We, as a society, need to work on that.

My son released a new album on Spotify recently (he’s also changed his artist name from “Brccke” to “Babbling”). Once again, I love it. Vulturesis a favourite.

One of the people I follow on Twitter shares posts by incels and misogynists. The things they think and say terrify and horrify. One shared the acceptable requirements in a wife, including getting up before six to do chores (so very many) and making breakfast for her husband when he arises at ten. It reminded me of a meme I saved long ago.

I worked in a funeral home back in the day.

15 thoughts on “Tidal panic attacks – they ebb and flow – an off-the-cuff joint.

  1. Panic attacks are awful, whether you are forewarned that they are coming or not.

    You’re being extra hard on yourself as a foster parent—partially because you really care about doing right by them (you are!), but also because you don’t yet have a process/routine in place for being a foster parent. Parenting kids isn’t easy, but they really only need a few key ingredients from parents to flourish: consistency/dependability/boundaries/rules, protection/safety, care/love/warmth, education/wisdom/guidance, support/basic needs met, plus a little extra: fun/delight/joy. You’re already ticking the majority of the boxes by simply temporarily providing them you and your home. I’m sure you’re providing them the remaining items. If you’re unsure if they find you or your home lacking in some respect, ask them for feedback. You’re both in a new (and temporary) relationship. You will both need to learn about each other faster than is common. It’s not unreasonable to ask kiddos questions about how they can feel more comfortable/safe/cared for. Kids are ofter incredibly forthright—you may be surprised (and encouraged/affirmed) by their responses. You can only improve on any weaknesses/blind spots if you’re open to criticism. While it may initially sting, I suspect you will immediately correct whatever issues arise. Above all else remmember that you are human. You are not going to ever be perfect. Continue to give yourself some grace. Keep notes on what works and what doesn’t. You’re growing—it’s uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. I, for one, am already proud of you.

    I checked out your son’s album on Spotify—he’s very talented! I followed him. Thank you for sharing!!

    Wait, what?! You worked in a funeral home?! For how long? What did you do there? Did it bum you out?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I am hard on myself and I have to remind myself that above all, these are kids coming from trauma. But this made me calm some for sure.

      It’s true, it is growth. I forgot that it’s messy.

      Thank you 😊 I think so to.

      I didn’t burn out. But my NDA has expired. I’ll write about it. I quite liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can imagine how jarring it must be to have two kids with you again. And exhausting – I wonder if the panic attacks are more likely to happen when you’re tired?

    But I couldn’t agree more about having more patience to parent in my 50’s than I would have in my 30’s. That’s one gift of being an older parent, I think.

    Glad you are getting some down time when the kids are at school this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I, too, am interested in the funeral director part.
    RE: fostering – as always – you seem very conscious about what limitations need to be put in place. Sounds like you’re doing well and I hope that the panic will subside in the coming days and weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am glad you are able to ask for help. That is not always easy. ❤️

    My father had a lot of ACE’s. He was a gentle father, but he also had trauma, so he didn’t know what to do in the face of people’s trauma, if that makes sense? As he grows older, I learn more about his childhood and I’ve watched him heal himself. I consider myself fortunate to have a boomer father who willingly started taking antidepressants.

    I’m typing this while listening to your son’s music. It’s fantastic. I’m listening to the song “Drown” right now.

    Tell me more about this funeral job…😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know what to comment on. You wrote about many things. 1st, I’m sorry you had so many panic attacks. 2nd, I think you’re doing a great job as a foster parent and as a parent of a daughter. 3rd, I wish ease for your mom for what she is going through with the lesions. 4th, congratulations on your son releasing an album! 5th, about the post on Twitter, sounds like an Arab wrote that lol. Wives are expected to be servants of men, in general. There are exceptions of course, but they’re few and far in between.

    Liked by 1 person

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