Panic attacks

The Worst That Can Happen: ADHD and Anxiety

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Have you ever heard that saying? That 90% of what we worry about doesn’t end up happening.

I had heard it and when I really thought about it, I agreed. It was comforting to consider.

This blog post is not about that. Today I want to share about the 10% of not great stuff that DOES happen. 

By now you may know that I’m a mom with adhd and I have a son who also has adhd. It can make for some #funtimes (no really).

My son was 20, driving and often out late. I had spent at least 4 years worrying about what could happen while he was out. Freaking myself out. Fretting over the possibilities and my utter lack of control. Then it happened, one of the things I feared most.

I have always had a low lying anxiety for most of my life. Always just a little bit nervous or worried about things that “could” happen. As a child it was things that may happen to me. As a mom it became things that may happen to my kids.

As my son moved into the driving stage I noticed my anxiety increase.

What if he broke down on the side of the road? What if he drove too fast and wrecked? What if he didn’t pay attention to the lights? What if he crashed and ended up in a ditch? (I think this one was passed down from my mom and my teenage days)

What if, what if, what if?

It was a very fearful place to be in. As parents we try to do all of the things, hours of practice driving, track the phone so we know if they’re almost home, pray, pray, pray.

One night I went to bed at my usual time of 9:30, while my husband stayed up until what is typically close to Midnight before he heads to bed. After being asleep for a few hours, I woke up at 2:15am and noticed the bed was empty. I thought to myself “that’s strange” and felt a little curious. Just a hint of nerves.

I got up and peered over the stair rail. No husband on the couch. Hmm, that’s strange. 

I went downstairs to look for him. No husband to be seen. I checked the counter for his phone. No phone. Hmm, this is strange.

I was half asleep, but starting to panic. Telling myself “don’t panic, don’t panic”.

I checked the key rack for hubby’s keys. No keys. I mean NO KEYS. My son’s were not there either. 

I decided to look out of the front window to check the driveway for my son’s car - no car in the driveway. My brain decided to freak out a little bit.  My heart did a tap dance in my chest.

I called my husband. No answer. I called my son. No answer. I’m in full blown panic attack now. I can feel my heart pounding and racing. I feel light headed.

My phone rings and it’s my husband calling. He says the words “I’m at the Emergency room. Jami’s been burned. It’s bad.” Then silence. My brain exploded. I think “no, no, no, please God”.

My son then gets on the phone and says “mom I’m ok. They’re putting stuff on my face and hands and sending me home.” This is the moment I will remember…my brain took over and got very logical. It thought “he’s coming home. That’s a good sign.” I felt relieved, and waited.

He came home about an hour later. Hands bandaged. Face covered in what looked like vaseline (the stuff they use on firefighters to help with the pain and keep the skin moist). I cried. Tears of joy that he was alive.

Don’t get me wrong. He was not fine, but was going to be ok.

He had experienced a flash burn to the face while cooking at a friends house and putting water on a grease fire. He ended up with 1st and 2nd degree burns to his face and hands.

We ended up seeing a burn specialist the next day in San Francisco where they gave us the incredibly good news that he should heal up just fine over the course of a year.

The part that I have noticed now, a full year later is this. 

I worried for 4 years ahead of time, about “the worst that could happen” and felt awful.

Then, what I could imagine as the “worst that could happen” actually happened. My son was burned, and I felt awful for 48 hours.

Go figure. It wasn’t fun. But to be honest both were uncomfortable. All of the worrying I did beforehand did not prevent the injury from occuring.

The worry and discomfort ahead of time lasted for 4 years and was optional. 

The actual thing that I was worried could happen, DID happen and the discomfort lasted 48 hours.

This is how it works. You can worry ahead of time and suffer, or you can experience the discomfort when and if something happens and leave the suffering ahead of time alone.

If you’d like to learn more about how to manage your mind and anxious feelings, book a free consultation and let’s talk. You can start feeling better today.