Usually there is a rush, first. A whoosh as adrenaline bolts from the solar plexis gate and the race begins-- down arms, and legs, up along my jaw, into the top of my head, and neck, and into an emotional whatthefuckness of total hijacked badness.
in this land of no lions, the dangers the threats are ghosts. ghosts of old wounds, rubbed new by navigating grief.
ghosts are reminders of vulnerability, true vulnerability, true threat, true aloneness without resources, without backup, without the ability to keep anyone safe.
ghosts haunt with memories of insufficiency, of true inadequacy, faced with problems that I could not solve, were not solvable, about which I felt responsible even if I was not truly responsible, and ended in the ultimate failure of loss of a loved one.
this cocktail is a potent one,
the pin is pulled, the trigger, touchy, everything good feels temporary, and the anxiety, when it comes, feels like it will never leave.
I have so many tools at my disposal. Yoga, breathing, nature, love. Meditation, mindfulness, awareness, curiosity. I have art and friends and family and doctors. I am lucky beyond measure. And yet, with all of my tools, all of my resources, I am failing. (don't worry, I KNOW better, but that is what it feels like).
beyond the triggery rushes, there is a low lying fog of it too-- potent in its own insidious ways: the fear of fear. a cloud-headed cool tingly feeling of waiting and sadness.
the grief of losing what felt like my own unconscious but oh now i know how sweet it was sovereignty
the grief of losing the innocence of life without this brand of Fear.
This is Anxiety plus Grief.
The timing and the emotional depth suggest the triggering may have started as I truly began to face the grief associated with Jeff's death after avoiding it for so long. But it is cleverly mixed with triggers embedded in things that every parent of a toddler faces. Often.
To get a handle on it at all, I asked for medication about a month ago.
I felt better knowing I had something to take, but I also felt more and more there is some sort of emotional scope creep where I was feeling fear more and more often. So, with my doctor's blessing I am doing an ativan boot camp-- medicating before physical responses as much as I can. This, I thought, would allow me to address the mental and emotional parts more directly without having to cope with the physical manifestations.
But in the 7 days since my plan was implemented, I have had two big triggers, two floods, two chunks of time washed away into the foreign and unpleasant land, and countless hours tinged or awash in fear of fear and grief about the fear.
today, the morning after the second trigger...I am so tired, bone tired. but also trying to revel in the good feelings that the lack of anxiety-in-this-moment means.
when it is not here, my ordinary, spectacularly ordinary life is so rich with good feelings, with openness with unclenched body.. but even with the relief, I am now on watch
and I hate that.
aware, alert for any change that may mean It's Coming Back.
constant vigilance. vigilance does nothing but sap me. it does not keep it back. hold it at bay. make me more effective. it does not make me a better parent, a better person, a better artist (oh, maybe it will actually, who knows?), it does make me more compassionate to all who suffer from this bullshit.
man alive. I am just so tired.
this month marks one year of this dance.
and I toast it, with irony and a quarter of an ativan.
I am working this, hard. and also trying my hand at allowing. at listening. at believing there are messages in this for me that are important. I have a care team, I have Doug, I have my own stubborn tired self.
there are gifts in this, I am sure. and I say I am open to finding them. but in this moment, knowing there must be gifts is not the same as feeling it to be true.