This has been a very bad week. My husband has been in Paris and I'm happy for him so I didn't let on the difficulties I was having just functioning in an inane hospital system that is doing everything it can to make employees want to quit. I keep telling my husband to figure out if I can afford to quit. The energy sink at work is miserable. It's not necessary. There is an element of sadism to the prancing about. This has also been a period of depression and an escalation of misery. I have been increasing my medication to feel better, but only feel worse. My doctor changes my doses, but I find myself still taking more to feel better, only end up feeling worse. Tomorrow I go to work for two days and discovered I can't work my alarm clock. This often happens with mechanics when I'm on higher meds. My darling college son offered to come home and get me up at work on time. He makes me feel loved, unlike my bitch sister and parents and other hateful ultra-Orthodox family members of the fundamentalist sect of Jews from which I miserably arose. My sweet son said he had to come home anyway to do work. I never impose on my children, but I was desperate. I've been told I will be fired if I lose more time. Four days off last year, and I volunteered to turn the the rest of sick time into vacation time off. Not exactly abusing sick time. I hate my job. I hate my patients. The higher their escalating copays, the more obnoxious their demands. I've been at this for too many years for you entitled, demanding patients who never feel I've given enough.
Panic Disorder can be a problem by itself, or it can be one aspect of a broader disorder. For me, it was part of the secondary post-traumatic stress disorder I inherited from my Holocaust Survivor parents. My first attack occurred when I was about seven and went to the bathroom in Hebrew School. As soon as I entered, I felt strange and there was a strong chlorine smell. The bare light bulb looked bright yellow as I reached for the round brass door knob, darkness closing in around my vision. I just got out before blacking out: "This is what it felt like for them to die." I kept saying to myself about my relatives who died in the gas chamber. I just stood in the hallway, panting and my mother came over and said "You look like a ghost." There ensued much debated among the rabbi, principal, secretary and my mother about whether there was in fact a "funny smell" in the bathroom. I'm convinced to this day it was a toxic mixture of cleaners, but it was crazy making to have only my mother and me smell it. After that I spent weeks having surges of panic attacks. My physician told my mother I was just looking for attention. I couldn't describe it.
I called it a stomach ache, but to myself I said that it felt like I was dying. For years later, I couldn't enter public bathrooms unless there was someone already in there who was alive and well. During the years of nuclear bomb air raids, I would get them during the siren. At some point, my extremely nervous father developed panic attacks. He would clutch his chest and tell my mother he was having a heart attack. My mother would reassure him, but meanwhile his panic caused me to panic and I would run out the back door and pace around the yard until I calmed down. No one paid any attention to me at all. I got panic attacks when public speaking and so did a lot of it through high school. I was determined not to let panic attacks limit me for the rest of my life. I find it hard to empathize with patients with panic attacks who give up and become agoraphobic, dependent on family members to drive them everywhere and stop working. It's an extremely uncomfortable disorder but it is one of the most easily treated. For some people, the secondary gain of being doted upon makes it too tempting to fight.
We're just starting to use the potty, aren't we? We know it's a little late, but we're getting the hang of it, only a few accidents, and we are very, very proud of ourselves. We're wearing Big Boy underpants during the day and pull-ups at night, since we aren't night-trained yet. That's the next step. It's taken this long because we are just a little bit stubborn, like our dad. We still throw our little tantrums, don't we? Flop on the floor and kick our feet and scream when we don't want to do something, even at the supermarket? Then we just get a time out after all that so it isn't really worth it, is it? We are still a very picky eater. Nothing green. Everything has to be separate on the plate. Colors can't touch. The doctor wants us to drink a supplement because we're a little underweight so we mix it with chocolate milk to hide the taste. And bedtime is still terrible. We keep wanting another story and another glass of water and then we don't feel well and then we have eyes in the closet and scary noises and all the lights have to be kept on and it's midnight before we get to sleep and of course we're falling asleep at preschool in the morning and the teacher blames me as if I’ve been hosting a preschool party all night. And on playdates we refuse to share and now no one wants to come over or invite us to their house. But we are learning to write our name and pretty soon we'll be publishing books but really, really it was so much easier during pregnancy when we were both one.