Anxiety Comes

{four weeks ago}

When I feel it coming on, I brace for it. If you have ever been in a car accident, you know the brace I am talking about. My muscles tighten so fiercely, my bones ache. My brain scrambles for the coping strategies we are familiar with.

“Slow down. Breathe. Nita, Breathe. Slowly, you can get a hang of this one”. Heart racing. “Breathe. You got this”.

Most of the time, I am able to lean into it until it passes. Usually, I get through it with a modicum of control. Sometimes, control is lost in the wave of heat, pain, and illogical panic. Sometimes, the deafening, paralyzing sensations get a hold of me, and I succumb to its wrath.

In our bedroom, I was folding laundry, and Tim was packing. His work was keeping him super commuting between Boise, and Seattle. Seattle, my home, my comfort. Here in Boise, I feel like a foreigner. The kids and I are settling into this new (beautiful) life largely alone, and apart from Tim. Making friends isn’t easy in my thirties.

My mind starts racing. School, laundry, the dogs, sports, housekeeping, dinner, breakfast. No friends, all alone. My only adult connection is packing. He is packing. Oh God, he is packing and leaving me here. With all this. This laundry never ends.

Heart racing. “Keep it together, girl”, but no one hears me, not even myself. My body is rebelling against my urges to control the anxiety.

I drop the shirt I was folding. Suddenly I’m on the floor in a puddle of panic. It’s hot. Control is lost, I cry, yell at my sweet husband, who is not equipped for these moments. I’m rubbing my foot on the floor, as if the stroking will calm the pain.

10 minutes pass.

He holds me. I weep.

Then he continues to pack.

Wrestling Pain

I sat with Max on my lap as my therapist and I covered the past weeks events. My sweet boy is struggling with his first season of basketball. His emotions get the better of him. He feels frustration and confusion so deeply, he often shuts down and cries.

“I don’t even know how to walk him out of this”, I told her.

She listens patiently as I describe how well he is improving, but how he can’t see it much of the time because the overwhelming sense of “not getting it” clouds his perception. How can I get him to persevere? How can this turn into a character building moment for him? How do I get him to balance his feelings with reality? Good or bad?

“Moving on, let’s talk about you”.

“I feel great this week”, I told my therapist.

It had been two months in this new place. This new place without friends, or family, and Tim’s work is keeping him in Seattle. Two months of figuring out a new rhythm, fumbling for a social life outside FB, and home school. All my support is 8 hours, or at best a Face Time call away. Finally I was feeling progress. Movement in the right direction. Just the week before, I felt totally lost, defeated and useless.

“Yeah, that concerns me”, Jill replied with a genuinely caring voice. “Your highs and lows are strong, how will you feel when Tim leaves again”?

My head shot up, recognizing the acute similarity in my son’s behavior to my own. Then the pain came. The pain of a mother who’s shortcomings have manifested in her sweet blue eyed boy. My heart wrestled- How can I possibly walk him through this, when in my thirties, I still am stumbling with waves of emotion fueling  my highs, and the depression breathing down my neck?

Too many questions and worries for a fifty minute session.