Last night I woke up every hour, heart pounding, a little confused, upset. Anxious. At one point I leaned over Lola and touched her cheek, it felt too cold, I turned her, she didn't move or budge or blink and so I pushed my hands under her nose and her eyes flew open
Mommy? What's wrong, Mommy?
I'm sorry honey. I...thought you had an owie. She put her hand on my arm, smiled. Mommy if I had an owie, I'd wake you up and tell you, it's OK Mommy. And she went right back to sleep.
My fear stirs it's hydra head now and again at different levels of aggressiveness, and I do all I can to keep it from poisoning my children. Too much coffee on Sunday, the juggling act of full-time work, parenthood, marriage- sometimes it is beautiful work and sometimes it is graceless stumbling. Traumatic events of my childhood, of friends lives, or even strangers on the nightly news stay finely drawn and felt in my mind, and at times rise darkly. Last night I was thinking of my friend Anna as I leaned over, and her son Jordan. He died at age 21 a few years ago, at home in his own bed, in the bloom of health as far as his mother believed; he had been sick for a week but a doctor had checked him out and found nothing alarming. The reason for his death was eventually understood to be a heart attack resulting from an invasive virus. I have turned and turned the image of Anna coming into her son's room and finding him there, turned it in my mind, trying to focus my prayer on her, her grief, her son. Still, as I lay in the darkness, I could not help but find Lola, touch her skin, and fear her loss.
" Dread is a sympathetic antipathy and a antipathetic sympthay. ' - Kierkegaard
I take a small dose of Zoloft to avoid panic attacks, chronic debilitating anxiety, the kind that causes enormous, roller-coaster worthy jets of adrenaline to pour into my abdominal area ( home of the 'second brain', the producer of hormones that rule our emotions ) and make me feel light-headed, out of breath and terrified. It's my conclusion that this is the result of a genetic predisposition to mental illness ( runs on both sides of my family in all stripes ) and the chronic abuse and fear of my childhood. This is probably also why my thyroid went bad at such a young age- 22 - because the constant rush of hormones ( adrenaline, cortisol, testosterone ) 'kills' your thyroid and your adrenals. I've had a number of physical problems that are the direct result of my childhood. A wonderful book, if anyone is interested, on this cause and effect is called The Body Never Lies, by a Canadian psychologist who has researched the connection between abusive childhoods, the retaining of guilt and fear, and disease.
' Perfect fear casteth out love. ' - Cyril Connolly
Today I will work out after work, at 6:30pm when I least want to. I will drink decaf tea. I will pray, although I don't have faith. I will let my husband hold me and kiss me. I will make it my job to strengthen my spirit and lessen the fear, so that I can lead my children into life with a brave heart and upturned chin, and not a night spent wasted on what might be. What will be, will be, and I don't want to waste a second of this beautiful life on the anxious machinations of my mind.
' Anything scares me, anything scares anyone but really after all considering how dangerous everything is nothing is really very frightening. ' -Gertrude Stein