Some say “when panic attacks occur, you feel like you’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying or that it is a sudden intense surge, or an attack of anxiety characterized by feelings of impending doom and trembling, sweating, pounding heart, and other physical symptoms.”
check, check, and check.
If someone had asked me if I had ever experienced a panic attack (you know, because my life has been a little stress inducing) I would have probably said “ummmmm, maybe?” That is until this past Christmas Eve when I can now officially say yes, I have indeed experience an absolute for real panic attack. I mean, it has taken me till what? January 28th to even gather my thoughts to write about the experience…..but here goes….
Christmas Eve – (looking back I thank GOD is what an unusually warm day – like in the 50’s) we were actually grilling out for dinner I think. Anyway, not the point. I was hanging out in the living room with Brooklyn, we were flipping through one of those teeny bopper magazines and watching one of her One Direction movies. Jon was in the kitchen prepping food for dinner (yes ladies I know I am SPOILED, he does ALL the cooking) All of a sudden I hear him ask “Kel, is Boston in there with you and Brookie? Because the back door is open.”
Ummmmmm NO he is not.
But I was SURE he was in his room.
But he wasn’t
Nor was he in the laundry room, or Brooklyn’s room, or ANY OTHER ROOM IN THE HOUSE.
Panic is setting in. Jon and I run out and circle the house – screaming his name (of course Boston is non-verbal so I am not sure if we were hoping by some miracle today would be the day he responded or what) again – panic was setting in sooooooo reasonable responses were not our thing at the time. Jon headed to the farm next door (since when we are all outside that is where he usually heads) and I head to our neighbors door to beg for help. I pound on the door – and since it is Christmas Eve – a complete stranger opens the door (she turns out to be my neighbors sister in law) I am sure I was not making sense at all but managed to tell them all what he is wearing and the “basics” <he has Down Syndrome and Autism, he is non verbal, he will not respond to his name, and he GENERALLY WILL go with complete strangers if/when approached>
Divide and conquer was my thought process at this point. He could not have been gone more than 5 or 10 minutes at this point but in that moment it FELT LIKE DAYS.
I had circled back to the house to check EVERY nook and corner of our house, the vehicles, and “hiding” spots – since Boston often likes small confined spaces….nothing…back out to search again and I hear my neighbor…“we have him….my sister in law has him……I can see her walking this way, he is in her arms.” I collapsed right there in to a heap on my back deck , a heart pounding, sweating, trembling, crying, heap. (see symptoms mentioned above)
I have never been so happy to see that sweet face.
He of course went right to her (a complete stranger) which in this case is a blessing but that thought brings on a whole slew of other panic situations. He reached out for me, with a huge smile on his face completely oblivious as to what had just ensued.
This is an entirely new chapter in my life. One I am NOT looking forward too. Up until that day I had not given much thought to GPS/tracking systems, alarms, security – heck we pretty much just wanted to get a fence up in the next couple of years, you know, just in case. Now this is a priority, my sons safety is a priority. We took the first step and ordered the Big Red Safety Box which is an amazing product provided by the National Autism Association. We of course spoke with his ABA team on adding safety goals in his program and our fence WILL BE going up this spring, NO DOUBT because now the fear is real, the panic is real and it is a lot to deal with. I share this with all of you so maybe you can think about any autism families in your neighborhood, so that you might be aware of “wandering” children and also because you have been with me through so many previous chapters in my life and this is no different. I know I can count on you for prayer, well, wishes, positive thoughts, fairy dust – whatever it is you believe in – I know you have our backs and that means more to me than I can ever express here in a blog post! One more thing – if you want to be added to our fence building crew this spring let me know! ;)