Panic: (according to Wikipedia definitions) a sudden sensation of fear which is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking, replacing it with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and frantic agitation consistent with an animalistic fight-or-flight reaction.

A panic button is a button you can push to quickly help mitigate a dangerous situation.

I saw a movie on television awhile back called "Panic Room." In the movie, the room is a place to escape when there's something happening that might cause panic.

I've always been someone who handles most situations pretty calmly. When one of my kids has been injured, I've been the calm voice of reason to my husband's panicked reaction. When a man was sitting in my car in a dark parking lot after work late one night, I walked up to him and asked him what he was doing. He drunkenly got out and left. My reaction should have been one of panic, but it wasn't. I'm not prone to screaming or hysterics in the face of danger.

But I've found that lately I've had a few occasions where I've had a sudden sensation of fear, one strong enough to dominate or prevent reasonable and logical thought and make me feel anxious and agitated. These aren't comfortable feelings and in the last year, I've felt them a few times that I can distinctly remember.

The things that have brought these feelings to me aren't life and death in the way a hurricane or a plane crash or an armed robbery might be. Of course those are awful events, but those have more to do with physical safety and for some reason, physical safety, even of those I love, doesn't scare me as much as some other things do.

The things that have caused me panic are thoughts of losing those I love, not through death but through separation or isolation, thoughts of my children having lasting unhappiness for one reason or another and thoughts of my life changing completely and me having almost no control over what's ahead.

I've wondered if these feelings are normal. Are they the natural result of children growing older and stepping out to face the world? Is separation and isolation from people I love and rely on something everyone fears? The older I get the more I realize that the control I thought I once had over my life and my circumstances is very tenuous. I don't have much control at all.

Sometimes I want a panic button that sets everything right again. In my world, I want to be able to push that button and have everyone I value be close at hand and happy.

Sometimes I want a panic room that I can retreat to that feels safe and comfortable. In my panic room, people couldn't drift away or make choices that will make them unhappy or take them away from me. My children would choose good friends and good spouses. I wouldn't lose good friends or family members. It would be a controlled environment. 

But who would be controlling it? 

I'm not smart enough to make choices for everyone. Sometimes I'm not even smart enough to make choices for me.

I suppose the best remedy for these feelings is faith--faith that those I love, love me enough not to leave me stranded. I have to let others have control and hope that their choices don't hurt me.

Even though that causes me to feel a little panic.


Tawnie said...

replacing fear with faith. I understand. And it hurts.
Thanks for sharing.
I think we all have different things that we panic about. Life is so interesting.

missy said...

Oh I know! Sometimes I'll just be lying in bed at night and a thought about one of my kids will cross my mind and I'll have a mini-heart attack with worry over one thing or another. I used to worry and panic a lot when I was younger, but after an emotionally difficult pregnancy where my anxiety reached its peak - and all over things I could not control and would likely never happen - things have been much better. Maybe we need to ask ourselves, during these panic moments if there is something we can do about the situation. If so, do it. If not, don't worry. Easier said than done... Great point about a controlled environment (i.e., "who would be controlling it?") It's all part of the plan, isn't it?