• pb rippey

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s always a relief to me to be able to blame hormones–you know? That is when I remember to blame hormones instead of being all, What’s wrong with me, waa waa. Someone should bottle hormones and use them to control the world–in a good way–if that’s possible. Oy.

    http://pbrippeyblogma.com

  • MisterPrecedent

    “riding the cotton pony”

    :-)

  • SassySuds

    Sometimes I’m not even aware that it’s a panic attack starting when I get Teh Crazies. It never occurs to me to breathe into a bag or go OOOOHHHHHMMMmmmm when they start. I’m too busy worrying about whether my chest is going to burst open from an alien inside.

    I’m a strong believer in better living through pharmaceuticals. Talk to your pshrink about meds for panic attacks. I can usually head one off in ten minutes with a good ol’ hit of clonazapine. Well, my husband can head off the attack. I’m too busy watching out for that damned alien.

    I’ve heard BuSpar is pretty helpful, too.

    I used to get the worst PMS ever. I went from a working model to a sports model, take one little estrogen pill a day. Now when I’m being a bitch, I have no excuse. My family practice doctor will rue the day when he decides to take me off hormone replacement.

    I also agree with a thyroid level check.

  • mama_needs_wine

    I know this is more about the anxiety than the period (and yes, I have been there with anxiety but strangely not since having a baby), but let me say I, too, was totally shocked to get my period once I started moving the kid to solids. I mean, hello, still pumping 2x a day at work and doing morning and evening feeds and THIS comes along? Insult to injury. And having just fully weaned the kid at 15 months postpartum it is really back, cramps and all. Always something to look forward to, right?

  • TarTar

    Hang in there, as I know you will. There are so many changes..you start with your pheromones, that are ignited by the testostorone, and that jump starts the hormones that you came by way of your chromosomes…and then you have babies. It’s a very vicious cycle.

    Right now, me? I’m gettin’ ready to go through the Twighlight Zone of menopause. My rememberance of my Mother’s menopause was seeing her standing at the stove stirring a huge pan of gravy (love her gravy) and she was crying. Now I know what was going on: She hated making gravy.

    Today’s problems are tomorrow’s “that wasn’t so bad. And you can always “thank God for my chilren’s health.”

  • SerenityNOW

    Oh, Dooce!
    I may be childless but I know the HELL of having a good, old fashioned anxiety attack. My therapist tells me to “ride the wave.” I know you had a comparable experience with contractions, when you were a “yard ornament” (love that entry.) Try to imagine the same thing. Water rushing over you and RIDE THAT MOTHER F’ING WAVE. It will peak and ebb and flow just like a contraction.
    Someone else mentioned “Hope and Help for Your Nerves” by Dr. Claire Weekes. I second that. Just reading it makes me feel better. It’s probably like 15 cents, used, on Amazon.
    You have people who care about you. Don’t forget that.

  • Figtron

    Dude. I totally got pitched in the KFC dumpster. I smell lard.

    The anxiety attack thing is one practical joke from the almighty that simply isn’t funny one dam bit. Try having one at a public event (banquet style) and having to completely cocoon yourself inward to keep from freaking everyone out at your table. I felt like my head was full of droning bees, for three days afterward.

    Then, oh then, I have to deal with the REVERSE hormone thing…AND I have to deal with the fact that my nursing precious offspring will reject my mammaries in favor of hamburger steak?

    Right at this moment? Just say life can suck it.

  • SwoozyQ

    I also had PPD, with both of my kids and I have found that that my PMS has been horrendous since all functions returned to my body after my son was born… Not only has my PMS been bad but I also reverted to my 15 year old self and had terrible skin and cramps and all that crap that goes along with a nasty period. Until I was in a health food store one day and saw this vitamin call “Healthy Hormones”… I was anxious for a change (my baby is now 5… ie 4 years of nasty, nasty PMS) and my marriage would be much better off if I could get the moods under control… Well, I have been taking this stuff (it is a mixture of CoQ10, Chasteberry and other stuff that I can’t think of) for about 3 months now and I feel SO much better. Well I did, until I ran out of it just before Xmas when my period arrived just before New Years… and there was Nasty-Me again, wow, I really didn’t miss that! Anyway, I don’t work for them or anything, I actually think it is a Canadian product (as am I) but if you are looking for a natural option that may help… check it out.

  • ashby

    I have tried SO many times to explain that, like, the pile of unopened junk mail, sheets that need changing, and empty shampoo bottle all of the sudden add up to OH MY GOD I CAN’T BREATHE. and you have articulated this so much better than I ever could have. thank you, Heather, for that, if nothing else.

  • They made me choose a username

    Fortunately my anxiety attacks usually come when I’m already lying in bed, so if I just stay there things usually work out.

    HOWEVER,

    I have the rare genetic gift (I know it’s genetic because my sisters have it too) of a cycle that starts back up at only two months postpartum even though I’m breastfeeding around the clock. AND with my last two pregnancies my postpartum bleeding lasted for six weeks. That’s right, I got a two-week reprieve. And with my most recent pregnancy, my first postpartum period lasted 18 days.

    Yes, I’ve had to have iron injections. I probably need more again.

    Although the point of this comment is for you to feel very, very sorry for me, I have to admit that there’s one very bright silver lining: my fierce cycle seems to correlate with fertility such that my husband and I have been able to time all but one of my five kids’ births to within a month. The other kid’s birth was off by a few months, but I think I had a very early miscarriage in-between.

    Okay, I’m done whining and bragging,so I guess it’s time to say something that’s not about me: Good for Jon for learning what not to say, and good for you for figuring out how to survive. Keep it up.

  • Pagooey

    “Massacre at the Y.”

    But “Shark Week” is supplanting that in my affections. :)

  • WarsawMommy

    I had truly awful postpartum depression after my first son was born, just over 3 years ago. I went through it all alone, since I truly had no idea what it even was. I just thought it was sleep-deprivation, and being overwhelmed by the new baby (who seems to have MUCH in common with Leta, personality-wise, BTW!).

    When I got pregnant with our 2nd son, I swore up and down that I was not going to go through that again. After Alex was born 9 months ago, I took my ass straight to a psychologist. She put me on very mild (actually, kind of ‘herbal’) anti-depressants. 9 months later, I take 1 a day and feel great – EXCEPT the day before my period. Something happens that day, and I am weepy and moody and overcome. Knowing what it is helps, but it does not change the fact that it feels like shit.

    Hormones, body chemistry and stress: a lethal combination. But hang in there… seeing it coming is more than half the battle. Take care of yourself.

  • starrynight

    Hang in there. I know that at the time it feels like you’re running through mud and you’ll never get through to the other side, but you will. Bravo to you for realizing the hormone link. I still struggle with being able to pinpoint when hormones are affecting my mood and I’m a therapist. Hang in and you’ll get through this.

    Jon, you are a wise man. The story made me think of “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” If you don’t know what to do in that scary moment (and let’s face it, who does?), the only thing you can do is to learn from it and support your wife to the best of your ability in the future. Heather, I also thought your description of Leta’s reaction was so interesting – you have a very smart cookie on your hands!

    I read through It Sucked during my pregnancy (I had a baby in August) and loved it! I could so relate to many of your experiences and love how you handle things with a sense of humor, even if it’s only in retrospect.

    Finally, thanks for talking about stuff like this. Your openness helps other people talk about mental health. You’re amazing!

  • starrynight

    Hang in there. I know that at the time it feels like you’re running through mud and you’ll never get through to the other side, but you will. Bravo to you for realizing the hormone link. I still struggle with being able to pinpoint when hormones are affecting my mood and I’m a therapist. Hang in and you’ll get through this.

    Jon, you are a wise man. The story made me think of “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” If you don’t know what to do in that scary moment (and let’s face it, who does?), the only thing you can do is to learn from it and support your wife to the best of your ability in the future. Heather, I also thought your description of Leta’s reaction was so interesting – you have a very smart cookie on your hands!

    I read through It Sucked during my pregnancy (I had a baby in August) and loved it! I could so relate to many of your experiences and love how you handle things with a sense of humor, even if it’s only in retrospect.

    Finally, thanks for talking about stuff like this. Your openness helps other people talk about mental health. You’re amazing!

  • pineapple princess
  • Bree

    I think every husband needs to take sensitivity lessons from Jon. You guys are sweet.
    This’ll pass!! :) We love you Heather!

  • Rosebud5675

    I am so glad to have read your post. I thought it was just me and I was going crazy! Whew! Its a relief to know I’m not. Thank you Heather for your honesty. Your new baby is beautiful and Leta is growing up soooooo fast!

  • Laura Jones

    I’m glad you share. It makes me feel less alone when things like that happen to me.

  • QueenLily

    I can definitely relate. I have struggled with anxiety since I was very young. Being a parent definitely compounds it by a million. Although i wasn’t able to breastfeed for long, it took my body quite awhile to get back to “normal” and I remember realizing…”oh shit, IT’S ALL COMING BACK”.

    Thanks for sharing, as always.

  • infor10to20

    I am so relieved to read this today. Just pulled an all nighter with my 8 month old and dealing with the hormonal ebb and flow. Seems like the swings are stronger since I had my second baby and I am really hoping things level out soon.

    It seems like every few weeks I start to feel more overwhelmed and less secure in my day to day. It takes me about 2 days to realize the cause and then I try not to be annoyed :)

    I am glad that you have found something to help you. Even more, I am inspired. Your post has encouraged me to call my doctor today and see what I can be doing to support myself in the meantime.

    I just began reading your blog this past month (seems I have been living under a rock) and I look forward to checking in every morning. I have two daughters as well, my oldest is 7 (well, she says she is 7, but she isn’t fooling anyone) and one that is 8 months yesterday.

    Thanks for sharing so openly.

  • lori.ann.mcvay

    My anxiety always peaks right before my period. Shitty, shitty, shitty. Klonopin is our friend. Of course, I’m not breast feeding anymore, either. But really…Klonopin!

  • kellyfaboo

    I sail with Commander Zoloft of the Aurgon Fleet. Still get panic attacks occasionally, but they are well deserved. Sorta.

    And I can step outside myself and go, “Woh, that’s one heck of a panic attack.” Except with more profanity.

    And don’t look forward to menopause. I started pre-menopause (or peri, or whatever they call it) symptoms when I was 30. It took me forever to figure out that I was having hot flashes.

    BECAUSE I WAS 30!!!!

  • elizabethpashley

    I’m beginning to think I should get pregnant so I don’t flip out every two weeks. Just kidding. I think PMS should stand for Pre-Menstrual and Post-Menstrual Syndrome. Or just have one term for the two weeks a month that I’m NOT crazy. Like NCT: Not Crazy Time.

  • jmcclark

    I have panic disorder and sucks but I love laughing about it. Thanks for the chuckle!

  • rockalita

    We always call it “becoming a woman” – as in, “Honey, I became a woman today!” It’s funny when you’re 40.

  • Squeetthang

    Shit son! Panic attacks. Wow. I just had my first one last year. I am only 28, so I was unsure of why in the world I was having a panic attack as there are only a few things in this world that I panic about: do we have beer, where is the nearest Mexican restaurant and do we have beer. No, really, where is the beer?!?

    Unlike you, I called an ambulance because I was very certain that I was having a heart attack. It was painful to spend $500 for that special ride just to find out that it was a panic attack. Stupid hormones.

    I am glad you were able to make it through yours and I wish you all the best as those hormones start ganging back up on you!

  • emmajames

    Welcome back to the monthly roller coaster. Just wait til it’s the girls’ turn. Duck and cover!

    Happy New Year!

  • j-momma

    I made it only until my son was 4 months old before aunt flo arrived in full force, and that was WITH breastfeeding! Good luck to you and hang in there. I am beginning to experience panic attacks since my husband is very “hands-off” with the kids. Last night he was angry and yelling at me that he was doing my job. I said “What? cutting up chicken?” and he said “No, parenting”! Ummmm….? I am still speechless. Three cheers for Jon! You are a lucky (or just super smart)woman!

  • jive turkey

    Well, this is timely, as my 9-month-old daughter finally up and quit the boob on Dec. 22, and GUESS WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?! And oh yes, there was plenty of sobbing and bitchery and tense arguments between Dec. 22 and now. I thought I was just turning into a horrific bitch; turns out I was just re-living the summer before 7th grade all over again. Dammit.

  • meme0908

    panic attacks are paralyzing and they don’t make any sense… there is one thing, and only one thing that is comforting while I wait for them to pass: telling myself that this happens to other people too… and nobody ever dies.
    -Thank you for this post-

  • kriss10

    You really do have a wonderful husband…

  • CarolinaMel

    Hormones are evil. Period.

  • lbnassar

    I thought I was having panic/heart attacks around 42 (10 years ago) and then mentioned the symptoms to a BFF after. In my case it was a perimenopause symptom – chest compression, skin crawling, shortness of breath. I DID NOT WANT TO BE THERE. Been riding that hormone wave ever since; progesterone cream has helped with the height of the waves and cut the bleed from 7 to 4 days. I think I am past it now, but if I forget the cream, I spot. General wisdom says that multiple women in the house have their hormones in sync. Sorry to say my teenage daughters and I are not. My poor husband. THANK YOU HEATHER for facilitating great conversations with your experiences.

  • paginatrix

    I tell my husband I’m on the DL.
    That, he gets.

  • cvjn

    you know, i signed up just to leave a comment on this post because i had the EXACT same experience.

    after my second daughter, when my period returned i started getting premenstrual panic attacks, like i had never had before in my life. i was not doing a great job of tracking my cycle so the first couple of times it took me by surprise. and it was not every month, just the times i was exceptionally (wait for it) sleep deprived. sleep deprivations and pms together just undid me.

    thanks so much for sharing. i’m going to show this to my husband, and just maybe he’ll gain a little insight.

  • bditty

    I read your post, walked to the bathroom and BAM–first ‘monthly bill’ after the cease of nursing #4. I’ve heard about women syncing up but…I don’t think I’m on this site THAT much.

    Huge relief though, since #4 was a little surprise that snuck in when I ceased with #3!

  • juliaislaughing

    Panic attacks are terrifying, the first one, is unexplainable fear. My thoughts are with you.

  • The Bold Soul

    I just sent you an email about this (not realizing comments were open… duh!) but just to chime in: not only do you have the BABY hormones playing havoc with your body, but you’re in your mid-30s, yes? Welcome to the very beginnings of the pre-menopause years! I think you’ve got the hormone double-whammy going on here! I was about 36 when I started having panic attacks for no good reason (no babies, anyway) and after spending a fortune on doctors and tests that led nowhere and where NO medical professional even suggested hormones as a root cause (they just said I was having panic attacks), a friend told me about HER experiences with hormone-induced anxiety attacks and that made total sense to me, so I got myself to a good therapist. I’m 48 now and once in a while I still use the deep-breathing tricks she taught me. And I haven’t even done the full menopause thing yet. Oh, goodie, I have THAT to look forward to next! Friggin’ damn hormones. They can just BITE ME. Oh, wait… they already have.

  • Mommamel09

    I can completely relate. I took myself off my anti-depressent I was prescribed for “the baby blues” after having my son last December at the request of my doctor. I wasn’t supposed to be on them for more than 3 months but I stretched it out to 10. The overwhelming feeling of dread and dispair has taken over my life. I can’t even cry anymore. I’ve just become emotionally dead…

  • tokenblogger

    I wish I could say I’ve only had two full on panic attacks. Envy is here with me now.

    I have a big problem when the depression and everything else breaks through no matter what I do. With each episode it gets more and more difficult to hang on because I know another one will occur. And one after that.

    I totally get “it,” but I wish I didn’t. I know you know what I mean.

    And I wanted you to know that I love your smile in that last picture of you and Marlo. I wish you (and I) could smile like that every other minute…

  • aliplus3

    Oh, I SO remember that shock. I was still breastfeeding my twins and I thought: Really? Only seven months? That’s all i get before I have to endure PMS, three-day migraines AND two infants? Doesn’t seem fair.
    But then it got better because you get used to it again and, more importantly, because I went back on the Pill and don’t go off it except for once or twice a year out of some strange guilty feeling that I’m supposed to suffer as all women do once in a while. Makes my OB-GYN shake her head and sigh.
    And now my twins are approaching puberty, with another daughter four years behind. Oh, my poor, poor husband. he has no idea what’s coming.
    Good luck. Don’t forget to breathe. You *can* talk yourself down from those episides. And if not, then medicate. Without guilt.

  • mizjuney

    Heather….Day 18. That was always the day I would have an episode. Keep a calendar…mark Day 1, the first day Aunt Mennie (as in menstrual) comes to see you and get ready for Day 18. If you know it’s just hormones, it’s way easier to ride the wave.

    And keep your mouth closed and breathe through your nose. You can not hyperventilate that way.

    Oh, I know all the tricks. Crazy visited me almost as often as Aunt Mennie.

    Frightening, nevertheless.

  • G.G.R

    I was going to write a story about how I used to have real, actual panic attacks 5-6 times a day and how I went insane from it but then your ending went and made me laugh and ruined the entire mood.

  • saturdayjane

    Oh, good gravy. I’m sorry to hear about your panic attack…I used to have those in high school, back in the days before I cussed, and I would just stand there with my knees locked while a stream of pseudo-profanity echoed through my head.

    “GOOD GRACIOUS GEE GOLLY DANG DANG DANG DANG OH DEAR OH DEAR FIDDLESTICKS GOLLY GRACIOUS.”

    Sorry to hear that Red Ryder is back in town. I don’t envy you.

  • marshamarshamarsha

    Do you think this is Mother Natures idea of a sick late Christmas present?? I am sooo glad I am past that part of my life. Good luck Heather, sounds like you are handling it as well as you can.

  • Agent Scully

    Everything is going to be okay.

  • rbiggs

    Why, I do declare, I hate that Miss Scarlett! I also don’t love my panic attacks. Peace be with you, but not in an I’m in a Lutheran church way.

  • tsjs25

    Ok. My youngest is 4 and in school until 11:30am. My other 3 (11, 8 and 6) are in school all day. I feel the walls closing in on me. I have 1000 things to do and no desire to do them, including lose 30 pounds. I lost it all this am just getting my kids out the door, then came home and cried because I am such a terrible Mom and ruining my perfectly good kids. Why and I such a mess? Crazy holidays, need to do EVERYTHING and PMS. Thanks for what you write, because hearing you say it makes me realize what is happening with me. You have some things easier (supportive husband and financial security) and some things harder (worse anxiety than me!) We’re all in this together and we are all trying to raise good people. Thanks for your help and perspective!

  • missusclark

    Oh, man! Do I (sorta) remember those days! First, you have the period for 6 weeks after the C-section, whereby you were gutted like a fish. Your hormones are all over the place. Then, the soul-crushing sleep deprivation that causes psychosis. And you have to act reasonably normal, ’cause folks is comin’ to see the baby (Babies in my case. Twins!) and you don’t want them to call Child Protective Services. I mean, you can get a way with a messy house, but Mama’s got to have her act somewhat together. Perpetrating was *hard*!

    So glad that’s over and will *never* happen again!

  • tracy

    having a husband who knows when to shut the fuck up can make all the difference in the world.

    p.s.? hormones can suck it.

    hugs ~