Kite Anxiety

January 6, 2015

It’s amazing how you can completely forget about something fairly serious, not think about it for years and then have it suddenly reappear in your brain with absolutely no warning and not in the most delightful of manners.

Alexander was given a kite for Christmas, which is pretty cool. It’s a tiny little thing, not much bigger than a sheet of A4 and I was dubious as to whether it would actually fly. As a child I’d regularly badgered my parents into buying me cheap kites, I recently found a He-Man kite in mum’s attic (I will dig it out for entertainment value soon), and I never had any success getting them off the ground. My own ineptitude may have coloured my view of kites as a whole.

The tiny child was desperate to give it a go, mostly because it has a picture of a rocket on it which makes it doubly exciting. We took him out to Pinkneys Green (the local recognised area to fly kites) and tried it out. It went up in the air on the first go and Alexander managed to keep a tight hold on it with no problems. He really loved it, absolute joy on his tiny face, it was ace to see my little boy getting so much out of something I’d never managed to do. He started to get cold hands and Karen asked me to take control of the kite while she sorted out his mittens. I grabbed the handle, looked up at the kite and immediately started to freak out. I managed to keep it together for about a minute and had to ask Karen to take over.

I’ve no idea what caused it, I’m torn between it being a responsibility thing (letting go would have lost the kite and upset Alexander) or some sort of agoraphobia. The feeling was exactly the same as one I used to suffer from quite seriously about eight to ten years ago. I used to find it incredibly difficult to be out in wide open spaces. Crossing a big field could be a challenge, looking up at tall buildings used to freak me out horribly but the worst of all was big indoor areas, generally theatres or shopping centres. Walking through the upstairs of the Oracle in Reading used to make me feel incredibly uncomfortable, even the relatively small shopping centre in Maidenhead caused problems, I couldn’t walk directly across the open area in the middle, having to skirt the edges. The worst case was a big shopping centre in Southampton, I was unaware of quite how big the open area in the middle was (what’s that even called?) and nearly completely lost it. I don’t remember exactly what happened, I expect Karen carefully led me away (she was one of very few people who knew about the issue).

We’re still going kite flying. Child enjoyed it far too much to abandon it as a family activity, I’m either going to have to adjust or we’ll work round it. I no longer have panic attacks in shopping centres, although I have no memory of how I made it stop, hopefully I can do the same again. I do know that last time the panic attacks started it was triggered by an unpleasant work situation, I have a similar situation at the moment which hopefully will be resolved soon and I can try and get my mental state back in the right direction.

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