Saturday, October 10, 2009

Panic with the Turtles

*Warning: The following post contains some not-so-nice (ie FUCKING AWFUL) topics and imagery. Do not read if you're feeling that you may be triggered by something within.

The boys have finally started swimming lessons. I'm really happy about this because the idea of owning a home with a pool with children who can't swim terrifies me. Plus, I know they'll enjoy it and it's a good, healthy sport. We can take them as a family and it's a good replacement for Mini-me for Karate which as we all know, I hate. Because there are the two of them, plus Mini-me, we really had to wait for an age where we could expect Mini-me to be ok while both Coparent and I were in the pool with the boys. So we're starting a bit late.

We had our 'assessment' done last week which went really well. Mini-Me completed hers first and happily showed off her skills. She was put in the 'Seal' class. Coparent and I each took a son and hopped in with them. It went ok. The instructor got an idea of what they could do (ie nothing) and they had a good time. Mr Cheeky threw a tantrum over leaving so it mustn't have been too bad!

So today comes the first official lesson. Mini-Me had hers first and enjoyed herself. I like her instructor who took the time to have a quick chat with me. The boys lesson, I did not enjoy.

Their instructor didn't want us in the pool. I cant understand why - she wants them to learn to do things by themselves. Mr Cheeky initially didn't like the idea of Coparent and I not getting in the water. He took about two seconds to get used to it then happily showed off his 'swimming' and did everything the instructor asked. He loves the water and I hope he stays that way.

Mr Smoochy is another story. He does not love the water. I think he feels the water is the suck. He has inherited his mothers slight fear* of the water. At one stage Mr Smoochy refused to even look his teacher in the eyes when she tried to get his attention. He was listening though and each new thing he tried, he took to once he'd gotten used to it. I did see a couple of very weak smiles occasionally.

Very occasionally. Because I couldn't watch.

I have a slight fear* of water. Which I desperately hope I don't share with the boys. But seeing them in the water, standing on a metal stand and having to rely on themselves to hold on sent me over the edge. They don't know to hold on. Mr Cheeky is a daredevil who thinks it's ok to get go and jump around. Mr Smoochy was just all-around not happy. I was on edge.

And then I tipped over.

I don't know why. Slight fear* combined with a healthy monthly dose of PMDD, a recent bout of Strep Throat and Scarlett Fever and general fatigue got the better of me. All of a sudden, I wasn't sitting in a chair in front of my children having a swimming lesson. I had images in my head of them dead in the water. I *knew* that my children were going to die. I could see them, drowned. I started to get hot and had trouble breathing. I knew rationally I was having a panic attack, but it's been so long I didn't see it coming.

I started to cry. Which set me further over the edge because now I was sitting, gripping onto a stupid plastic chair, trying not to fall over, trying to breath, crying in front of a pool filled with strangers, trying not to let Mini-mi, Mr Cheeky or Mr Smoochy see me upset. I knew in my head I was being irrational. I knew they were safe. But at the same time, I knew they weren't. And I didn't feel so safe myself.

I couldn't speak. Coparent could see me struggling but I knew even if I said the word 'panic' I'd lose it further.

So I sat there. Trying to get those images and thoughts out of my head. Trying to look anywhere except the water. The signs, the piping, outside. Anywhere but right in front of me. After much too long, I calmed myself enough to fake smile and pop on the 'pretend mask'.

They are in the Turtle class. They will be ok. And so will I, eventually. Although I am wondering what my GP will say if I turn up asking for Xanax for swimming lessons!

* Slight fear = irrational-oh-my-God-I'm-absolutely-terrified-for-my-life-whenever-I-get-near-deep-water fear. This includes pools, oceans, and even driving on bridges over water. Yeah, it is the suck.


  1. Oh you poor thing! I've had a similar issue a few times with Alexander, actually *seen* images of him dead.

    There is truly nothing more horrible in this world.

    I hope you're ok.

  2. :( I hope you're OK! Your posted reminded me of something sort of similar that I went through with my daughter at a local pool. I could not address the issue, which means that it is no doubt festering away in my head somewhere. I was actually reliving it all in my head yesterday.

  3. I don't suffer from panic attacks, but I do have an irrational fear of something happening to my the people I love. If Mum does not answer the phone I immediately have images of her unconscious on the floor, if DH is late home, I have him off the side of the mountain, and when the boys are not with me, well you can imagine where my mind goes with that one. I so feel for you, to have that happen whilst trying to minimise the impact in public, well you are a better man than me! Or woman.