My anxiety is getting worse. I’m calling it anxiety but openly, I’m not 100% sure if that’s exactly what it is. It starts to feel like a combination of anger, impatience, wanting to throw something and wanting to cry all at the same time. It’s bizarre. And while the glass of wine helps (doctor’s orders remember?) this morning at 7am when I was dropping my daughter off at school, even I couldn’t justify day drinking with the, “Well it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” excuse.
So now I’m sitting on my couch with my heart pounding wanting to yell at someone and wondering if I should go back to bed, try some meditation, or just run around the block. Since I don’t run, I’ve settled just on typing. I know journaling was one of the things that kept me sane in the hospital with Em. A stream of consciousness running from my heart to my head out of my fingers onto a keyboard in many ways has been better than all the years of therapy I’ve been to. (Apologies to my former therapists). Maybe writing will unearth some deep revelation or “Ah ha!” moment which will cause this anxious feeling to disappear in a puff of smoke.
Instead, the bunny just starting to rattle his pen and now my heart is beating even faster. Great.
Last night I kept thinking maybe my body is telling me something and I’m just not listening? Maybe it’s having to talk louder and louder and now at it’s at a point of screaming and that’s what I’ve been feeling? I mean, I am a spiritual being before I am a physical one (one of my favorite quotes is: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”) Maybe this feeling of rage/impatience/exasperation that I’m calling “anxiety” is just my body’s attempt to communicate?
What’s strange, is this seems to have come out of nowhere. In which case I feel forced to ask myself….well what’s changed?
I wonder. I stopped going to yoga because of my knee issues (started PT this week). So maybe it’s the lack of exercise?
Fall is my least favorite time of year, knowing that winter is mocking me and hiding around the corner. So maybe that’s it? But truth be told, it’s been hot and sunny here in NJ and it’s November. I mean this morning on our drive to school I wore a t-shirt during an hour that’s normally freezing out. I even ate outside both Saturday and Sunday last weekend because it was so gorgeous. I think back to growing up as a child in NJ and how by Halloween I was often torn between wearing a snowsuit and my costume because it was friggin’ freezing. Even as a child, I hated the cold and would more often choose the snowsuit. My mom used to try layering me with multiple layers under my costume in an attempt to keep me warm, which didn’t really help, and only resulted with me moving in a slow motion fashion like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. So even though I’m not a scientist, I’m pretty sure they are right about this whole global warming thing. (And then I secretly feel guilty because my laying on my deck basking in the sun is really because my grandchildren’s future planet is slowly dying.)
I can’t really blame fall this year.
So what else has changed?
I had an unfriending this week. If you follow me on Facebook you heard the news. I removed someone who was constantly attacking my faith and labeling me as a “Conservative” and a “Republican” (which in today’s climate, is basically like using words that years ago might have left you with soap in your mouth for such profanity). Ironically, I’ve always been a registered Independent. I also arbore labels because it assumes we know everything someone believes, thinks, or feels. Liberal? Oh, you must be one step away from a Communist. Conservative? You must be picketing Planned Parenthood and throwing Bibles at people’s faces. So before going down a long political tirade ….. I’ll simply say it was hard for me to set that unfriending boundary. It was hard to say, “Wow, even though we disagree we can’t agree to disagree”. It was hard to say, “I’m sorry you can’t talk to me like that.” (Then wonder, was I really sorry or just pissed?) It was hard to see a 15-year friendship be gone with a click on my laptop. But mostly it made me so sad to realize someone I had been friends with – good friends with – was constantly so triggered by me. I mean, once I posted a selfie in my living room and you could see a cross hanging on the wall behind me and he just had to make a disparaging comment about my faith. Strangely I, the Christian, didn’t even notice the cross in the photo until he pointed it out. I found it odd that the cross is what stood out to him the most. As if his eyes were drawn to the sign of Jesus. Then that just started me wondering all about what his spirit was really trying to tell him…not me. But that’s another post.
Yet, I don’t think the unfriending has caused my heart palpitations because these started before last week. So I’m brought back to…. what else is different?
I’m working differently. I live on zoom now. I love it because it has proven to me I can have complete and totally freedom to travel, live and work wherever I want. The flip side is, thanks to COVID and this bondage called Emily’s high school, I don’t actually get to travel, live and work wherever I want. One of my BFF’s just got a swanky RV. Correction, her husband got a swanky RV. She’s still not sold on it. I’m drooling over her new found freedom of the road. I mean, she now can literally pick up and go anywhere she wants simply with one foot to the gas! But, like me, she is also bound to school and her husband’s M-F 9-5 job so yeah, it’s more like a mockery of freedom that she might use a few times a year. (Which I think she is 100% aware of but her husband is still in blissful denial). So, I think I might do an under/over on how much this RV is actually used and then maybe won’t be so jealous after all.
So what else is different? (See how I keep asking myself that?) Trying to dig deeper to the bottom of this.
My daughter’s grades. Ugh, that is a tough one. She is struggling in high school. I know this could be a late effect as a childhood cancer survivor, but it’s never been an issue until this year. And, like everything with childhood cancer survivors, you never know if “that’s the reason.” I mean, it also could be that since she is a proficient lip reader maybe the zooms and masks aren’t working as well as she thinks they are. (Afterall, you don’t know what you didn’t hear. It’s not like you can say, “Hey that thing I didn’t even know you said because I didn’t hear it, can you repeat that?”) Or maybe it is virtually schooling, and only being in school 4 hours a day and only live in person 10 days a month, just really isn’t working. Maybe if COVID never hit she would be doing just fine. Or maybe, it’s because she missed 10 days in the first semester for doctors’ appointments and surgery and it was just too much, to soon and it set her back. Or maybe, it’s because I pushed her into honors classes and a level 3 Spanish class because I thought she could handle it because that’s what I did (ok not the level 3 Spanish – I actually failed French my freshman year but shhh….don’t tell her that). Maybe I am trying to make her into the student I was and not accepting the student she is. And maybe I need to let her find her own way. She is responsible and does want good grades and maybe “regular classes” and not honors classes are ok. Maybe I’ve being sucked into the cultural lie that an honor student bumper sticker actually means anything more than a parent feeling like they got a gold start in parenting, when really that honor student still might drop out of college or move to Oregon where now after Jan 1st meth was just decriminalized. Or maybe it really is a late effect of chemo.
The truth is I don’t know, I’ll never know, and I need to find a better way to support her. Support her more like someone I was coaching instead of just getting frustrated she doesn’t openly and joyfully embrace all my scholarly knowledge on how to be an “A” student. Or maybe, it’s just because she’s on Tic Tock too much (my personal nemesis) and is short circuiting her brain with scrolling (an actual real possibility and much more toxic than chemo). And maybe that’s all my fault because I don’t enforce those Unglue apps or put strict time limits on her phone or change the Wi-Fi every day and make her do chores to earn screen time like all the Karen’s in the world probably do. So maybe my anxiety is because I feel deeply responsible that I am failing her as a parent and my free-wheeling, non-structured lifestyle has doomed her for a life of struggle and failure. (Although I also believe if you asked my daughter if she had a “free-wheeling relaxed mom” she would probably laugh in your face.)
Maybe my anxiety is coming from the list of worries I have running through my head 24/27. Like:
- My daughter’s hospital just informed us on 10/30 that starting 11/1 our insurance is no longer accepted there. That means all 9 specialty doctors are dropped. Yup. I have to deal with that. Started making calls yesterday. I keep asking the universe, “What’s the good that will come out of this?” I’ll let you know if I ever get an answer to that one.
- I need to get us new cell phones. Yup, less then 6 months after I just paid off our current cell phones and am reveling in the $50 a month cheaper phone bill, her’s is glitching and mine is heating up like a Duraflame. Funny how that works. It’s not the money even that is stressing me. It’s the having to call, go through a bunch of robot prompts, talk to a customer service person, find out what our options are for upgrades, compare plans and then maybe make 2-3 more similar calls to see if that’s the best deal that has me stressed. I would love to be a Kardashian and just be like. “Hey I’ll post a pic of me holding the new iPhone 12 on IG and I’d like new ones for my entire family for free. Great thanks!”
- The dog needs her checkup, Em needs two cavities filled (her first) and I need to book my 6 month ultra-sound (apparently my boobs like to be checked every 6 months because once a year isn’t enough for them).
- There is a giant bin in my office that needs to go to the consignment store. And it’s going to be a pain in the ass to drag down the stairs and get in the car. And the consignment store lady isn’t all that nice to begin with. So maybe I should just drop it all off at the Salvation Army. But then, I feel like I’m throwing money away. And then I wonder if that bit of cash is worth my sanity. It’s a toss up right now.
- I have a list of things that need to get done between my two businesses which I honestly know one person will never be able to do on their own even if I did actually grow up convinced (and trying to convince everyone else) I was secretly Wonder Woman.
- Oh and I need to cook dinner….again. Turns out as an adult you have to do that every night. Yeah, no one tells you that horror story growing up.
Finally, I wonder if maybe it’s something bigger than me. Maybe my body is just feeling all the anxious anger in the world right now. Maybe it’s like a tuning fork (I mean after all, we are just lots of tiny spinning bundles of energy) and I’m being affected by the worldwide vibrations of election angst, anger and hate. Energy which is so out of alignment of who I am and what I value, that my body is fighting against it and causing these feelings of panic and stress. I wonder what would be different if I just allowed that energy to move through me. Not stay with me, but just let it flow like a river passing through and continuing on it’s journey downstream. Maybe it’s the fighting, the resistance, that’s causing the anxiety. It’s strange to think maybe I am feeling the whole world’s pain.
Ok I know I just lost a bunch of people right there. That’s a little far out even for me. But is it? I mean science tell us we truly are just energy. And if you believe you have a spirit too and all spirits come from one source (God) then we all are connected. Quantum physics is teaching us more and more about this every day. It fascinates me. So maybe while I have been attempting to live in my own ignorant blissful pink bubble, I have failed to acknowledge I am affected by the world around me. I know it’s becoming hard for me to watch the news. Any news. I start to feel like I’m being manipulated on what to think and how to feel. I also feel like I’m choosing sides just choosing which station to watch. No matter what the final election results show, one this is clear. We are deeply, deeply, divided. There was no red or blue sweep. There will be tens of millions of disappointed and angry people regardless of the outcome. Almost a 50/50 split that is shocking I think to everyone on both sides. That’s a lot of energy. That’s a lot of vibrations. Maybe that’s why my body feels like it’s being hit with electric shock therapy.
So if that’s truly the deeper reason for my anxiety what is there to do? I guess the only thing I know to do. Connect with a higher vibration. Connect with God. Maybe not going to church every week (I stopped when COVID started) has been like a slow power drain. I was charged up enough to last the first few months but over time my battery life has gotten shorter and shorter until now when it’s completely drained. My own energy source is so weak that everyone else’s energy is overtaking me.
It’s a strange image in my head. I feel and see myself differently when I am filled with the Holy Spirit and fully connected to God. I picture myself as a bright glowing body of energy. Shinning so brightly that whatever other energy tries to get into my space is drowned out by the brightness of God through me. Yet, without that energy source I picture myself hollow, open and vulnerable to everything and everyone else around me. Being tossed about like an empty glass bottle at sea. At the mercy of the wind and the waves around me.
So maybe I’ll try that. I’ll try praying and meditating every day and filling myself back up and seeing if that changes how I feel. I mean, I expect it will help (there’s lots of medical research to show a strong correlation between meditation and a reduction in anxiety) but I’m more curious in how much will it help. Enough to really experience a daily difference? Enough to not need to self-medicate with wine? Enough that Emily would see a difference? (Now that would be the true test!)
I’m not sure, but like any good Christian, I’m ready to do some good ol’ fashion scientific research. I’ll report back and let you know!
*and see, journaling was better than day drinking…cheers!
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash