July 13, 2005

Hello From Way Up Here at the Peak of Mount Mental Illness Number

I have decided to have panic attacks. I've been talking to a friend of mine who gets them, and it seems like a good idea. This is how I hear these things work: You are sitting there FRETTING (I have this part DOWN already!) and all of a sudden, your bra feels like something made out of whalebone and thorns and the ghostly hand of Scarlet O'Hara grabs the laces and YANKS while shrieking "19 INCH WAIST" and it compresses all your air out, and pain radiates from your squeezebox of a chest up into your jaw and down both arms, and you think you are having a heart attack, and you go to the emergency room with your life flashing before your eyes.


Works for me.

Actually, I think I had a small one the other night. Maisy decided to wake up and do that NOT BREATHING thing again. Remember that?

Yeah. Well. She has another little summer cold and her response was to wake up weeping, over and over, and then make that MY AIRWAY IS CONSTRICTING AND I AM NOT LONG FOR THE EARTH noise. This time it was much less severe and she didn't ever roll her eyes up and turn blue, so instead of having a fun ambulance ride, Scott and I sat up with her all night. Somewhere in the middle of all this, I had a minor chest-squeezing-closed episode, and I thought, "If only my child was breathing properly I could really GO with this and get me my OWN ambulance ride and maybe be defibrillated, but I just do not have TIME to indulge in a heart attack right now because my kid is sick."

I ignored the heart attack symptoms until they got bored and left, at which point I thought, OH! So it probably wasn't a heart attack then, since I have noticeably NOT keeled over dead...it must be.... OH! Maybe that was a PANIC ATTACK! NEAT! I am TRULY MENTALLY ILL! JUST AS I ALWAYS SUSPECTED! I should have gone to the hospital after all because I bet they would have given me some MONSTROUSLY DELIGHTFUL AND HIGHLY ADDICTIVE PHARMACEUTICALS!

And then Scott and I sat on the coach holding the baby in the way that helps the baby breathe, because that's we like: Babies who inhale and exhale and process all their little air molecules in an orderly fashion. The next day I was on the phone at 9 AM arranging a play date for her and her pediatrician ASAP. I got there 10 minutes early as requested, and then I waited an hour and 15 minutes to have 4 minutes with the doctor, and we had the following conversation:

Me: Maisy had trouble breathing again last night.
Him: *Examine examine, thunk, heart listen, ear look* Ah. Okay. Well. I would say that Maisy experienced Strider.
Me: Oh. What is Strider?
Him: It means she had trouble breathing.
Me: THANKS! Got any Ativan samples?
Him: Don't forget to hand in your twenty dollar co-pay on the way out.

So basically, it's that same, THIS IS A HEALTHY LITTLE GIRL WITH NO SIGNS OF ASTHMA OR BRONCHITIS OR CARNIVOROUS LEPROTIC BRAIN WORMS. THAT'S WEIRD THAT SHE DOESN'T BREATHE SOMETIMES routine. And of course we have been loaded up with many nutritious drugs (for HER, not ME, dernit) and an inhaler and a plan to pump her full of albuterol and then STEAM the baby like a clam should she stop breathing again any time soon. Which she better freaking not.

I have decided to GO with the whole panic attack thing, but I am SO busy that I really need to schedule my next one pretty rigidly so that I have TIME for an emergency room visit and heart attack tests and the four hour wait for results and the overnight stay JUST TO BE SURE and then the grand finale--- the ritual bestowing of the Ativan scrip at dawn. Sadly, the soonest I can reasonably around to this sort of time commitment is late October of this year, so if you want to mail me any Ativan in the interim period, my mailing address (according to Mir's PEOPLE ARE STUPID Automated Mailing Address Generator) is:

Joshilyn Jackson
Mental Illness Number 2485729855
Near the newt pond
Atlanta, GA 12345

Posted by joshilyn at July 13, 2005 10:15 AM

I have some leftover Ativan from a 12-day tenstion headache, and it's on the way!

Adoring reader and former high school teacher (which I think explains the headache and drugs perfectly),


Posted by: Andi at July 13, 2005 10:36 AM

You and Mir should take your show on the road. Seriously, you'd kill :)

Posted by: Kris at July 13, 2005 11:18 AM

Well, DUH, I mailed you some atavan already, but it came back marked "no such address" which is terribly puzzling because PUHLEEZE, obviously I know your address! I mean, really!

When next we meet, atavan for everyone!

Posted by: Mir at July 13, 2005 11:24 AM

Oh man, I can't imagine it. Well, I can, thanks to your fabu description. What a nightmare.

If I had any Ativan I would be FedExing it to you right now. Unfortunately, all I have is Excedrin Migraine and some out-of-date antibiotics... and a dream.

Posted by: Georgia at July 13, 2005 11:25 AM

I dont' want to break Maisy's Mom's bubble - but you've a long way to go until you hit mental. Not that you're not working hard for the label, but being a talented, creative, hard working, imaginative writer is far from deserving your own rubber room (she says to the woman who lives near the newt pond.)

But I am concerned about those bouts of anxiety. Are you sure it isn't a latent effect of a some regular M&M from GOD ONLY KNOWS that had been excavated on an archeological under-the-sofa dig, lying no doubt under a drift of filth and bug hair and the bones of long dead mice.

Well it could happen!

Posted by: Cele at July 13, 2005 11:30 AM

Ask the Dr. for Xanax... it is Our Friend. Ask me how I know this. It is not as intense as an Ativan but it settles the fretting stuff right down....

I get the .5's and break 'em in half sometimes....

Posted by: peggy spence at July 13, 2005 2:06 PM

Hate to burst your bubble, the doc is more likely to put you on Zoloft or Paxil. I am a Zoloft woman myself. I do have a script for the blue Xanax's also. I am allowed two a day, that's what the bottle says....lol. Seriously, it helps me, the Queen of all panic attacks and aniexty attacks in Alabama. So, if you hear of a woman from small town Alabama running up and down Hwy. 5 screaming and naked as a jaybird, it could be me. Isn't fun to know that you have fans like me?

Posted by: Robbie at July 13, 2005 3:04 PM

PWAHAHA I am Mrs. Xanax and I break them in half sometimes too, and fretting goes away immediately and you feel you are the luckiest person on earth and don't I have a great life and my children are darling look that one has shit in his ear but it's cute shit and I love the smell of Scott's farts and let's go do something like smiling.
Freakhead in Idaho

Posted by: Jilly at July 13, 2005 3:53 PM

Maybe we can call you and Mir the Panick Attack twins. I didn't know those things are contagious.

On a more serious note, I hope Miss Maisey is okay. My daughter has asthma and I know how fun it can be.

Posted by: Peek at July 13, 2005 3:53 PM

(((Hugs)))) I have panic disorder, it sucks (no really, even with half a xanax!). I found the combo of Buspar and Celexa nipped it in the bud.

I'm sorry about Maisy, my son had illness-induced asthma earlier this year, retractions but didn't stop breathing, nebulizer, the whole nine yards. I hope she's feeling better (and you too). I know how scary that can be--hang in there!

I found a copy of your book at the library last night, looking forward to reading it :)

Posted by: Angel at July 13, 2005 4:23 PM

I started having those chest pains and then . . . my heart began skipping beats! (beat . . . beat . . . beat . . . ? . . . ? . . .beat,beat,beat). I was totally freaked out, went to the doctor, had ekg and stress tests ran and the response was "You need to maybe try yoga." I chose large glasses of red wine instead. It worked.

Posted by: dana w at July 13, 2005 7:37 PM

Wow. Glad Maisy's okay (again). Counting my blessing now about my placid if hum-drum life. Joshilyn, you might try jumping up and down on the furniture till the ceiling fan whacks you in the head again. As I recall, that had quite the calming effect last time you did it. *ducks quickly* Scott, *shaking my head* hang in there, man. It's bound to get better soon, right? Right? *nods encouragingly*

Posted by: David at July 14, 2005 8:26 AM

Bless your heart, hon. I have panic attacks and major obsessive anxiety, especially when worrying about my child. Effexor helps a lot (75 mg one a day... Tried Lexapro and didn't like it, it made me, ahem, unable to fully enjoy relations with my husband. Also Zoloft, it just made me feel weird, not like myself.) Hope Miss Maisy is doing better now!

Posted by: Jenn at July 14, 2005 9:58 AM

I actually started having panic attacks after my accident where I was walking across the street and a car hit me. I was just kinda hoping it'd go away, but so far, no such luck. The last thing anyone should want to see is me on medication.

Posted by: Cherlyn at July 14, 2005 9:59 AM

I used to have panic attacks. It has been a while since I have had a bad one.

Posted by: Heather at July 14, 2005 5:24 PM

Hey, has Maisy ever been tested for allergies? Like an official skin test? I don't mean to give you more anxiety or act like I have any idea what I am talking about. I'm just not personally satisfied with "stridor" as a diagnosis. That's more of a symptom than a diagnosis. Not that I think anything is wrong with her, just why? Why with all the wheezing and such? How come? I just like to know these things in the most friendly, nonintrusive, non asshat way I possibly can.

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