We are fortunate in that my parents take us to the Outer Banks each year for a week-long get away as a family. Anxiety often plagues me the weeks before these trips though and I worry, though I have gotten better at handling it through the last few months. I guess the meds help. I think the copying tools do too.
I worry we won’t have enough money, that we’ll break down on the highway somewhere or will have some life changing accident at the hands of a drunk driver or wild animal. I worry that the ocean will swallow up one of the kids or Kevin. Mostly, Kevin, he goes so deep into the water, I can hardly catch my breath sometimes. I worry that something, anything might happen that would take away the happy the trip makes my family. Last year, I had a miscarriage and didn’t tell anyone for fear I’d be the ruiner of all the good things. This year, I buried the shell I’d held for the last year, in the sand on the beach I have grown to love very much. A silent goodbye. A letting go. A small battle in the war I have with this anxiety that is eating at me every day.
Mostly this last week, I felt peace and calm. I napped a couple of days and never put on a pair of jeans. I managed to get myself to the gym most of the week and gave myself some freedom with what I ate… although now I am kicking myself because I gained but I am going to try to take it as a lesson and not a failure. It was a much-needed mental break. A rest of sorts. I needed it.
Saturday we left in the middle of the morning. The drive home was long and I was anxious to get home. Anxious in a good way. Until I came off the exit and straight into the view of Chick Fil A. And realized that all the gunk I’d left was still there. And the next day I felt my chest seize up as I walked into the Target and then Starbucks and wondered again what next. What will happen next? When will I have to deal with it again?
Will this place ever feel safe again? Have I once again, lost my home?
Most of what I have read links all these feelings, these emotions back to PTSD. I guess with the year or so I have had, and especially the last few months, it does make sense. And that I feel as though I’ve talked way too much and people are running out of things to say, well, that is a shitstorm soup. I even feel a bit of trepidation when bringing any of this up with my therapist. But I don’t know how to get over it. And I don’t know that I ever will at this point. It feels as though everyone has moved on and I’m still stuck on that raft in the ocean. And I’ve got to stop talking about it. Or I will never get over it. Or if I stop talking about it, will it fester inside forever?
See? That’s the trouble with anxiety. You are never totally sure if it’s real or if you’re making it up. Am I anxious because there is actually a threat in front of me or has my anxiety made a mountain out of a molehill? Lately, it’s probably been a combination of both. But I hate that I even question my own feelings.
I don’t want to be here now. I would give anything to be back on the beach or at least away from here. My “tools” for remaining calm and balanced aren’t working and my imagination is getting the best of me these days. I am overwhelmed with the idea of school starting too. Everyone in all different directions all the time and me, doing a lot of it on my own. I added more than I can probably handle to an already chaotic life…. and now there are some new pressures making it impossible for my mind to rest. Falling asleep is easy. Staying asleep has become a chore. I laid awake this morning sad about my birthday. Feeling sort of invisible. Wishing I could find the words to tell people what I need. And then heavy cry in the shower, a foot in my mouth and this need to just deactivate my life again. I can feeling the impending doom. I can feel that thunder cloud coming….. shaped like the mistakes of the winter. Mistakes that weren’t even my own but I seem to be the only one paying for. I guess maybe I am just tired. I am very tired these days.
I think too, people have this idea I am “strong” and I will be honest, now and since April, I have felt desperately weak in so many ways. Weak because I let all this happen and weak because I can get out of it. I feel weak because I desperately need help but I can’t communicate what I need from people. I feel weak because sometimes, I just want a hug. And I hate being touched. I feel weak because I want more than anything to rest. But I don’t know what shape that rest comes in. A day in bed? I am not sure. But something to make my mind shut off. I wish I knew what that was. I wish I didn’t feel so invisible. I wish I wasn’t so anxious and sad.