I am anxiety. Why? Was it the weakness for M & M’s, that boost of caffeine interring with sleep and eroding my self-esteem? Every thought bombards my flagging spirit with negativity; black thoughts, thoughts that end with disaster, every one. There’s no control button, no delete. The only escape comes during sleep… fitful, waking too early repeatedly until I am almost hallucinating.
“No one should wake each morning with a feeling of dread or intense fear,” I lament to Samuel as we sit by the fire drinking coffee; usually a place of comfort yet all waking moments carry a buzz I want to escape from.
Is this guilt over bad eating for two days, deserved guilt but must it carry such anxiety? Needing a name for it will help but no answers come. Samuel is off to work for one of his five days a month. Usually I love my alone time yet being alone scares me. It’s OK, it’s OK…
The buzzing in my head and spirit drives me to meditate. I remember Raymond working with me a great deal due to anxiety. His quiet voice comes home within as his guided meditation takes me to waterfalls and riding the warm bare back of a big white horse. Raymond. Any person who ever showed me kindness is brought ‘home’ within.
My shopping trip Monday was cut short by anxiety. Get out of the store, go home where it’s ‘safe.’ Tuesday I wanted to go to the craft store for pretty ribbon, spring scented candles and other fun things, but could I? What was wrong?
The meditation turned into two half hours. My breathing regulated and quieted. I was in my body and it was OK. The buzzing ebbed. It can be controlled! Feeling empowered I arise from the prone meditation position but the buzz begins again as the heart rate increases. Breathe; diaphragmatic breathing, lower in the chest, deeply and slower. I keep at it throughout the day, take my fun shopping trip, and do alright.
The change of seasons, March dripping into April, affect me greatly as my brain chemicals adjust to the longer days. It happens every year. I get squirrely and my usual hyperarousal goes berserk. But this anxiety is different and so similar to the time working with Raymond when he encouraged me to go out into the world and learn to be a nurse.
That anxiety was debilitating causing panic. It developed in to more fears that became life-long— elevators and flying. I still cannot fly or do elevators. Once I had without a thought or problem. His urging’s and guidance didn’t come without a price. I often wonder if my success spelled his success. Might it been better had he taught me I was enough just as I was?
Understanding the why of such anxiety helps along with the knowledge each morning that I can control it by breathing slow and deep. Anxiety continues to be an issue depending on what challenges I face. But this generalized anxiety, like a sparking, thrashing electrical wire, was hard to tolerate and weakened every ability. Each day is now faced with equanimity and possibility.
I finally take my walk to the creek feeling uneasy as I embark into the bright sunlight. Reflecting on the too white snow doubled its intensity and drove me back inside for sunglasses. Breathe.
Slowly the bubbling anxiety quiets even as the heartbeat rises. This is what you love; listen to the assorted chirps, twirls and songs of various birds as they gather supplies for nest making and a light pounding in the distance as wood-peckers drill for bugs.
The creek swells as the snow melts, the soft breeze causing ripples that glitter as sunlight pours onto it. The full sun warms my face while resting in the Adirondack chair. My body unwinds and the busy mind relaxes it’s grip. Looking upward I notice buds on the pear tree. The little snowdrops are trying to lift their frozen blossoms as they thaw.
This is what I’ve been missing for a week unable to face the cold and deep snow after the spring-like temps enjoyed before the blizzard. I sit quietly a long time, so still even the timid ducks don’t know I’m there. A group of four make a landing only feet away dipping into the water like gliders. One dives for fish then swims like an Olympian past me speeding away. I slowly get up to head back to the house, the peace of nature filling the cold empty places inside, fresh air and healthful activity chasing ghosts away.
My boots sink into the thin icy crust with a satisfying crunch. Several little birds that always gather in the bush when I walk by sing ‘hello’ and I singsong back.
My despair and desperation have alleviated for now as I await spring. Feel it’s pulse burgeoning just below the surface of the fading snow…