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Panic at the Porta-Potty!

by Leah Morgan, CCAP

Dear Readers: I wrote this BEFORE the latest restrictions in B.C. were put into place, so my past tense musings are once again my current anxiety. But, I am choosing to use our current situation as an opportunity to practice not panicking! I wonder how I’ll do?

It’s hard to believe that it was a year ago that everyone’s lives flipped into a serious pandemic tailspin of fear, panic, and uncertainty. I can’t help but recall how I thought that I was going to go bankrupt, along with almost everyone else.

Panic is an interesting emotion when you look at it in hindsight. I don’t know if anyone behaves rationally when they are panicking. Do they? Is that even a thing? Rational behaviour and panic don’t really speak the same language. They just go toe-to-toe in the ring. Panic always wins the first few rounds, but rationality usually wins the title belt.

I do think some people are wired to be able to handle terrifying situations better than others. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. When a situation arises in which I need to think quickly and engage fast problem solving skills, I will undoubtedly panic and behave totally irrationally for an amount of time that seems like forever before, my wits return, and then I am able to act like a normal functioning adult again.

Case in point: I was with my 2 ½ year old granddaughter at the beach the other night having a fire and she suddenly needed to go to the bathroom. You would think because I have actually raised a child into adulthood that this possibility would not surprise me. However, no diaper at the beach, and far away from a functioning toilet seemed like disaster waiting to happen.   

So, there I was trying my best to deal with this child in my care that was having somewhat of a personal emergency of her own. I hastily put her into the car and drove to the closest porta-potty, which was less than a minute away. By this time it was dark, so I needed to use the flashlight on my phone so we could see what we were doing… I put my phone with the flashlight facing outwards, in my mouth, my keys on my front seat so they wouldn’t fall in the toilet and grabbed my granddaughter and brought her into the dark and dank porta-potty….

Now, because I had my phone/flashlight in my mouth she was able to peer into the depths of that toilet and let me tell you… she was having none of it. There was no way in hell she was going to sit down and do what she needed to do….

Still wondering, on the scale of 1-10, what the emergency level of this situation actually was, I put her back in her car seat and told her I would take her home as quickly as I could. I closed her door… and then I heard that terrible and very ominous sound… CLICK CLICK…. All the doors locked.

So there I was, at the beach, in the dark, with my tiny granddaughter who had her own situation happening, which was obviously of some concern to me, and she was locked in the car. This is when my panic set in. Like serious, big-time panic. I started running around my car, trying all the doors and all I could do was yell (somewhat under my breath) f*&^! f*&^! f*&^! f*&^!

I called my husband who was still at our beach fire, and told him that he needed to drop everything and drive to our house to get the spare key. After a small argument that entailed him asking me how I could possibly have let this happen, he abandoned all of our stuff at the beach and started making his way home. This was when my nervous system did a mild reset and I was able to calm down enough to have at least one clear thought. I shone my phone/flashlight into the car and looked at my sweet granddaughter who was, surprisingly, just sitting there calmly, and I asked her to push the unlock button. And she did.

Problem solved. Disaster averted. All the doors unlocked and she was none the wiser. This entire panic driven episode which will probably scar me for the rest of my life, lasted less than 5 minutes.

I wonder how differently things would have gone for me if I had had the sense to ask her to push the button in the first place? Did my prefrontal cortex actually cease to function completely for those few minutes? I’m not an incompetent woman… I know that that's all she would have had to do… but apparently I lost my mind instead. The sympathetic nervous system takes over and all bets are off.

This is what happened last April, too. Total pandemic panic. Complete and total meltdown. Then some normal brain and nervous system functions started to re-emerge and I came up with a plan to have a 25% off everything sale on my website in hopes of not completely drowning. It saved me. For real, it did.

So at that time, I decided that as a thank you to all of “my people” for saving me and supporting me even though we were all going through our own sense of panic, that I would continue this as an annual sale.

Full disclosure, I am moving at the end of April and things will be a bit chaotic around here so if you do decide to take advantage of this sale extravaganza, please be patient as I try to get orders out and pack up my entire life at the same time. 😀

Yours always, in love and aromatics,

Leah Morgan, CCAP

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