Some nights I let myself look back at old blog posts. They seem like they were written by someone else, about another family, living another life. I barely remember writing those words. I barely remember feeling so carefree. I do remember thinking how good my life was.

I’ve been having a lot of panic attacks lately. At first they were all centered around Annabel. If I couldn’t see her when I was falling asleep for a nap, I would freak out. So Mike started sitting with me until I fell asleep. It helped me get much-needed rest.

But now that Annie is bigger and sleeping better, my panic attacks have morphed into something different, something worse. I have started having what I call “alternate realities.” My brain starts imagining what COULD have happened, and they are always about Madeline. What would have happened if she’d died the night she was born? What if she’d died in the ambulance on the way to the NICU? What if I hadn’t checked out of the hospital in time? And then I think about the day she died…what if I’d still been working? What if I hadn’t been with her that day? What if I’d been stuck in traffic?

Just writing these has caused me to panic, I have tears on my face and I feel like I can hardly breathe. I try to talk to my therapists about these but I just cannot adequately convey the absolute FEAR that strikes me when these scenarios race through my mind – even though these things didn’t happen. It’s hideous post traumatic stress.

I don’t know what to do. Usually when I give voice to my fears, they go away. But not these. I still have a giant lump in my throat. I am still gasping for air. I’ve had to stop writing this post eight times.

My psychiatrist has given me a safe prescription to take if I feel wildly overwhelmed by these attacks, but I am very reluctant to take anything that would make me less present for Annabel.

In the end, pills are only a temporary fix anyway. I still have to live this life where one day I can function, even laugh, and the next day I am so low that I am crawling on the ground. I still have horrendous memories and giant “what if” question marks floating over my head. My Maddie is gone. I don’t know what to do.