Mr. Curry has no work today, so we are both home. He's eating Organic Maple Oatmeal and I'm here, clacking away. I take Zoloft for anxiety and have been feeling a little dull lately. It makes me sad to feel a little dulled, but not. even. close. to as sad as I feel when I'm panicking. * I tried natural methods, I really, really really did. They didn't work well enough. *And that's nooo good for a Mommy of three, nietha. I have been incredibly anxious since childhood, because of the state of my family. There were a few good years, Mom tells me, but I only have glimpses of them, that always resolutely remind me of the way sunlight slips in and out of the clouds on an overcast day. Mostly I remember the sadness and the lonliness and the fear. I feel terrible about this for my Mother. Every single good memory I have revolves around her, and I can't imagine how hard it must be to have both of your children remember their childhood with such sadness.
I love my Mother.
It's amazing how much the body/mind connection has influenced my life. My parents took me to see some wildly inappropriate movies at the drive-in growing up, and one of them revolved around a young nun who had convinced herself that Christ had impregnated her at the nunnery, when indeed a man had raped her. She bled from her hands and feet. On the way home I asked about this. I was eight? Maybe nine? My parents explained stigmata to me, how a person's own will and mind creates the bleeding of Christ from their ankles, hands or feet, how some believe stigmata is a sign of God's hand.
Well I was fascinated. Dumbstruck with awe and horror. Not only did I have to deal with what was brutal, I could create brutality with my own mind? Did this mean that if i was afraid of something, I could make it real?
I have thought about this ever since.
My anxiety has created a whole host of physical symptoms at times, ranging from tics to pain, from cold and hot patches of skin to a numb crawling of the nerves. Telling the difference between anxiety and a real symptom is impossible, especially since I do have endometriosis and hypothyroidism, both of which are autoimmune and come with a host of symptoms. I seem to have a particular genius for this kind of creation: I can fall asleep thinking of a toothache and wake up with throbbing molars. I can worry I'm pregnant and my breasts swell and throb. A young hypochondriac wrote a book about this phenom, and an article here at Salon.com.
On the other hand, I can use this power for good. When I was in the 5th grade, we had moved back from Jackson, Mississippi to San Diego, and I attended school in Pacific Beach, not knowing anyone, intimidated. However, I decided firmly that not only would I be the most popular girl at school that year, I would get straight A's.
Guess what happened? I was the most popular girl, and I got straight A's.
The problem is that I am full of fear. It ebbs, it flows, sometimes I feel I have won, but it lurks in my cells. My family history is one of brilliant alcoholic manic-depressive anxiety ridden men and women who have great accomplishments ( My Grandfather Ethridge was the Supreme Court Judge in Mississippi, for example, and wrote THIS ) but serious mental undoings. There is schizophrenia on BOTH sides of my family. Take this soup and mix in a scary childhood- and you get Me.
I like to think I've done an amazing job with this history. I found a therapist who saved my life, and saw her for years. I worked DAMN HARD, let me be sure to say, I hurt badly and struggled and made mistakes, but I never gave up. I had my son, and I knew the road ahead of me was hard, but I had to make it my own.
However, the fear lurks. I have a stronghold of weapons against it, most of all, greatest of all, Love. Not the idea of love, the actuality of it- Mr. Curry, holding me through hours of panic years ago, my daughter, falling asleep with her hand in her brother's, Dakota whispering to me in the late hours in his bed 'Mom I always know I"ll be OK, because you always believe in me. If you believe in me, I'll never give up' , Mr. Curry, changing diapers, walking crying babies, forcing himself to listen to his exhausted and frustrated wife at night when he should be sleeping, all the years of our marriage, the day in and day out of never. giving. up.
What we get from that struggle to rise above is pictures like the ones in the last post. We get the breath and smile and eyes of our children rising in front of our eyes when the skies go dark and that dull, sharp pain or hollowness threatens to consume: I know these are the things that will comfort and staid me in any darkness, illness or death....
I am hungry for information on the mind body connection; I want to know how to control my mind. There is a fantastic book, ' The Body Never Lies ' that is all about this, written by, I think, a British woman who is famous for her theories. She uses examples of famous men and women who suffered during childhood and then were very ill in adulthood, or died from their illness, as proof of her theory that holding down emotion, forcing forgiveness, muting pain, creates disease.
I am looking to create life.
So here's to the praying (to a God I don't know is there or not), the exercise, the writing, the reading, the healthy eating, the vitamens, the talk therapy, the day to day doings, all that I gather to my chest, press into my body, to clear the past from my cells and create a mind-body at peace at last.