Archive for January 17th, 2008


They showed this clip on Pioneers of Television last night.  Absolutely. Kills me.  Watch Carol try not to laugh.


Tom Jones woke me up about 4:15 this morning.  Tom didn’t appear at the foot of my bed in a dream swiveling his swivelable hips.  My cell phone rang (I’ve never been able to give up “It’s Not Unusual” as my ringer.  I just love it) and it was my mother. 

Mom was having a “spell”.  My mother is known for her anxiety spells. Mr. Smiff was the good son in law and went over there.  I just talked to him a bit ago and he’s still there.  He’s probably digging the quiet.  What if he wants to move in with my mother? 

Twice in the last couple weeks I’ve had calls either late at night or in the wee hours. It had been awhile since I had gotten these calls.  They used to happen a lot.  Since her husband died in January of 2005, I haven’t had to make a midnight run to her house.  She is going to have to move closer to us.  35 minutes to her driveway from ours.

I’ve had anxiety problems before (not lately…long time ago) and totally understand what it’s all about.  It’s very real for the person experiencing it.  It is so not fun. 

The first time I had an anxiety attack was in 1987.  I had just been to see that movie “The Lost Boys” and I don’t know what it was about that stupid movie that triggered it (it probably wasn’t even the movie) but lordy mercy….I ended up at the Brentwood Police Department, I was so freaked out.  Did not know what was happening to me or why. I just had the one then and didn’t have one until about a year and a half later.

I had them pretty bad in the early part of 1989 and here and there the next couple years.  After I had the Manchild in 1992, with my Dad’s death following 6 weeks later and then a few weeks after that, the death of my good, good friend, Kent..between birth and hormones and losing two special people…I don’t know….I never cried about either death.  Something in me shut down emotionally and it was like I was numb in a way.  I didn’t want anybody to see me cry and I guess I just didn’t quite know how to deal with the huge losses.  (I have to do a Kent post sometime.  I don’t think I’ve ever talked about him here.  A wonderful, wonderful friend…he died of AIDS at 24 years old).  I can remember thinking it might get on Mr. Smiff’s nerves if I cried too much or talked about it too much.  Pretty stupid, yes, but, I was a kid.

Over the next few months, I started having the crippling fear, tingliness…thought for sure I was dying of cancer.  I was just positive I was.  Any little twitch, ache or pain I had, I was dying.  I was going to leave my little baby without a mother.  He would grow up and never know me.

The episodes got worse and worse.  It eventually got to where they happened in public.  Nobody would’ve known I was experiencing this to look at me.  It was horrendous.  I don’t think Mr. Smiff quite knew what to make of it all.  I may have mentioned it to my mother but I think they all may have thought I was wanting attention or something.  I don’t know.  None of them had ever experienced it before. 

Finally, about 8 months later, I called my OB/GYN and said I thought something was wrong with me.  Because her nurse was very perceptive, she knew immediately what the deal was.  She said something about Postpartum Depression.  (This was before Brooke Shields and Marie Osmond had their bouts of it. It was not talked about back then).  I didn’t take any medicine or anything but the doctor sent me to a wonderful, Licensed Clinical Social Worker who helped me realize all that anxiety was grief that was just sitting there and needed to be let out.  Also the fact I was a 23 year old girl, with a new baby, a husband who was gone all the time, I had no girlfriends or any sort of contact with the outside world.

I’ve always been so grateful that the Manchild was such a perfect baby and so good natured.  No telling what kinda shape I’d have been in had he been colicky or anything.  He was the best baby ever.

My mother’s anxiety stuff started a couple years later when she got the letter from Vanderbilt saying they had used Dad’s remains and were going to bury them.  She, like me, had never really cried much about the whole thing and kept her grief stuffed inside.  Stuff like that tends to catch up with you. 

I’ve never understood why people act like, when at a funeral, when they say “So and So was so strong…held up well” or “Poor So and So just fell apart…didn’t hold it together well.”  I’m here to tell you, falling apart at a time like that is the HEALTHY thing to do.  Whenever I’m at a funeral and the family is all crying and letting it go…as pitiful as that is to see, I’m always glad to see it.  I always know that person is going to be just fine.  It’s the stoic ones I worry about because I’ve been the Stoic One.  Stoic is not always so good.

I don’t have panic attacks anymore.  Haven’t in years, thank goodness. 

Anyway…I felt bad for my mother this morning and was thankful Mr. Smiff was willing to go over there for me.