I suffer anxiety. I have an anxiety disorder. Specifically, a Panic Disorder. I live with it. I have to. I have probably had this my entire life. Maybe in the womb? I’m not sure that they have scientific proof of this yet. I’ve been mildly anxious for as long as I can remember. I started to get help for it in my late-twenties. That was HELPFUL. However, it has never been as bad as it’s been since having our child. I’ve never been as obnoxiously anxious since having our child. It’s been embarrassing, really, even if I know it shouldn’t be.
Shame, for days.
Anxiety is hard to explain. It can manifest itself in such unbelievable ways. Terrifying ways, really. It’s left me (a generally upbeat person) laying flat on the floor in the kitchen crying over the idea of something possibly happening to me and those I hold dear. It can stop me fast in my tracks and hold on to me for days on end.
It’s an annoying life mate. But I have learned to accept that it will be with me for my life. I had anxiety back when I was religious and had a “faith”. It’s not better or worse since I disconnected from religion. It is what it is. I just have to live with it. Live being the key word here. Because if I let it get to me, I totally stop living. I lay on the floor in my mind crying and trembling over what I totally recognize is absolutely nothing. Do I know how bat shit crazy that makes me sound? Yes. Absolutely. Do I hate that? I really do.
I didn’t have a happy-go-lucky birth story with our son. It was messy and scary and it didn’t have to be. Mistakes were made. Mistakes by doctors. Mistakes that made me all too aware of my own mortality. Mistakes that have given me PTSD. It’s been three plus years since his birth, and now that we’re talking about having another child, I know I need to keep working on healing. Because, I’m going to be back in the hospital in the next year to birth another child. I need to be in a place of trust.
I plan to have a whole team with us this time. My husband, maybe friends, mid-wife, doula – the whole freaking shebang. Because, I’m gonna need it. We are going to need everyone watching our back. Because, this is our life. Our child(ren) are our life. Being parents is our life. Being each other’s best friend is our life. This is our life. Writing that fills me with deep peace, and not even a little bit of anxiety.
The tiny triumphs are not really enough; I need more. I’ve been considering going back to therapy. It’s not that I question whether I should go back to therapy, not at all. Hello, I need to go back to therapy – three years ago. I just question the process of therapy. Finding the right fit, finding the time, finding the groove of it all. I know I need to do it. Because I have an anxiety disorder and I need help. Because I’m a mother, and a partner to my best friend, and a person who loves her people. I want to feel like I’m living that every day of my life with my people. Trauma has taken too many days from these last three years. It’s riddling me sick most of the time. I need it to just fucking stop. I need to be able to feel like I have some power over all this anxiety again. The tools of before are just no match to the trauma, I guess.
I take a lot of deep breaths. I tried to count the other day and I stop counting at 15. Oh, and that was before 11:15 am. Fifteen deep breathes before noon. Not because my life is hard. No, no. It’s because my brain is loud and my spirit is afraid. My heart is sad and my brain is noisy. So, I take a deep breath to get to the next moment. If I’m lucky that next moment isn’t for an hour. That’s a really good day. On a good day, I’m in the Brave Kindness.
Exercise helps, until it doesn’t.
Exercise has been really helpful to me. Running, walking, moving. It’s been helpful for most of the years. Because I can turn off my brain, drift with the music. It was that way until last summer when I had a health scare. It wasn’t even a real problem – it was only a scare. A scare that became all consuming ever since. I was filled with gratitude for it being “just a scare” until I started to think about all the stuff it could have lead to…death. I call this the death dance. It is a dance that can last for months on end before I have a break. I’m not afraid of actually dying; I’m afraid of not being here for my son and my best friend. Because we’re only just starting this life (says every parent everywhere). Sometimes I’m afraid to go for a run alone with our son because – maybe I’ll have a heart attack. Never do I fear the normal stuff that could happen like zombies or a bus hitting me as I run across the street. Nope, I fear the unusual. The death dance is a cruel, surly jerk. Those fears are booming in me almost every day.
Fear and that feeling of powerlessness are the two best words to sum up a panic disorder. Bourbon helps (but I really don’t wanna become an alcoholic). Coffee helps on the days that idle at a peaceful pace. Talking helps, until I can tell the person is tired of hearing about the death dance. Crying helps, until it leaves me feeling consumed. I need real help, help. I need it soon, because this is my life and I really don’t want the fear to win. Anymore.
This isn’t going to be noteworthy to those of you who have known me for years. Some of you might just be really uncomfortable reading this. THAT IS OKAY. I was really uncomfortable writing it. Mostly, I just wanted to be real. Our life is stunning from the outside, and that’s why I take (and over-share) so many pictures and tidbits. Because I need to be jolted out of the fear and stunned back into this amazing life I’m LIVING.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for being my people.