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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anxiety & Panic, a bane.

After our house fire, I had my first panic attack. You would think the actual fire would have caused me to panic, but it didn't. It wasn't until weeks later the whole thing closed down on me. Post traumatic stress. Fabulous. They blame it on my father the fallen fireman, but I'm not sure that was it, I think it was realizing I wouldn't graduate college because I had three kids under the age of 5 and we were suddenly homeless.

Since then it seems that I always find myself with things to fix. They are never small things, but the sort of things you ruminate upon and worry over and regret for years because of all the could have beens.

Right now? I'm hiding. From everything that's good in my life and every spinning whirling thought I have in my head. I can't remember a time when things didn't worry me and my head wasn't full of gyrating concerns. I've cleaned the bathroom and it's spotless. I'm thinking of who I would want to raise my children if I were gone. There are enough ghosts in my past to make worry about that. I hope everyone feels this way, because if not, I must be crazy and I work so hard at making things orderly that I would rather die than be crazy.

"Anxiety is the space between the 'now' and the 'then'" ~Richard Abell

Earlier, after I cleaned the bathroom, when I felt like a panic attack was coming on, I got in the closet because scrubbing the shower and the toilet didn't help. I like that closed up muffled feel of being encased. It helps. It probably makes me crazy but it helps. One can breathe in a closet, with all those walls everywhere.

I'm lucky. I've been loved. By my mother and sisters and brother. By friends. And by the boy and men I've loved in return. I wonder who I would have been if I'd never let them in. Why is it that men shape women's lives to such an extent? Why is it that they come in and have the ability to alter our courses so inexorably? Please appreciate the subtle hint at pregnancy, it's intentional. I would like to say that I influenced them right back just as strongly, but that's not true. They walked away unscathed, even when their time on earth was through. And me, I'm freaking out in my bathroom.

There are days, when I'm driving my mini-van, heading out to work or to buy toilet paper or cat food, and I feel like *HSBFOD is sitting in the passenger seat, amused by how grown up I've gotten. I can feel him smiling. The girl in me belongs to this boy-man who never really grew up, and who took the course of my life and choked it into what it became. Stupid boy, sitting there smiling at me. I knew he loved me, even when he did what he did. It haunts me, wondering if maybe as he realized no one was going to save him, he might have looked up at the sunlight slanting through the water and thought of me and our baby and wished he had stayed true. He could be alive today if he had.

need to shower and get dressed. And I do. It's a holiday and my family is chomping at the bit to get to grandma's house. My mind is not on the job though. It's circling around and bringing me back to places I wish I could fix.

hen my husband comes to see if I’m ready, and smiles his little smile at me that says “aren’t you pretty,” I roll my hair into a twist, clip it up and I’m ready. Living life well is about learning how to focus on our blessings. Being married to someone who can calm you with a smile is a blessing.

or those of you who have anxiety or panic attacks, breathe. Breathe. BREATHE. This too shall pass. Focus on something positive and be strong.

*HSBFOD: high school boyfriend father of daughter

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