Posted in Anxiety

Heaviness

I’m in a complete funk.

You could call it writer’s block.

Or burnout.

Or lethargy.

Or what feels like the onset of depression.

So, I haven’t really blogged.

I haven’t shared many small moments, or things that brought me joy, or much, for that matter.

I just haven’t had it in me to write.

But, I know that in order to get back to it, I have to just get something down, even if it doesn’t make much sense.

So, here’s some of what’s swirling around in my brain right now…

I need to learn to take on less…to say “no” more often.

Apologies, even when heartfelt and accompanied with regret, aren’t always accepted. And I have to be okay with that.

This baby that we want so desperately may never come.

Far too many small moments have been slipping right through my fingers and I’ve felt powerless to stop them.

There hasn’t been nearly enough music, laughter, ice cream, finger painting, and squealing lately.

Everything just feels big. And heavy.

And that has to change.

Please bear with me as I regroup and refocus a bit.

I’ll get it together…I promise.

Never Far From the Door

I’ve struggled with anxiety for my entire life.

Over the years, I’ve learned various methods for dealing with everything from basic unease to full-blown panic attacks.

In my experience, the latter have been far easier to cope with.  They come and they are frightening and truly terrible, but then they pass and they eventually release their grip on me.

The anxiety that latches on and slowly, but surely, nearly pulls me under, is the most difficult for me to overcome.

When that anxiety creeps up on me, it tugs at me when I should be happy. It pokes at me when my mind is still for even a second. It nudges at me while I’m sleeping.

Over the past few weeks, the tugs, the pokes, and the nudges have been increasing. Each day, they are just a little bit worse.

I’ve struggled to put my finger on exactly what has been bothering me.  I have been on the edge of tears, afraid to let them fall, becomes sometimes, when they start to fall, they are nearly impossible to stop.  Once I have lost that tiny bit of control, it can be so incredibly difficult to regain it.

In my attempts to figure out what has been bothering me most, I have felt as though I have been trying to hold onto water.  Every time I have tried to grab a handful of thought, it has leaked through my fingers, leaving me with empty, useless hands.

Then, the other night, I finally realized that the thing that’s bothering me most is the fact that my children are growing and I just long to stop time.

I’ve joked about it before.

But it isn’t a joke and I’m not really laughing.

Sometimes this feeling borders on desperation.

What am I afraid of exactly?  So many things.  And when I entertain those fears and try to make sense of them, I often uncover new, frightening possibilities to add to my list of worries.

It is truly a slippery slope.

I just have this feeling of doom…like the best part of my life, my beautiful life that hasn’t come easily, is slipping away.

I have written about this before, about my fear of growing old and losing these precious memories.

Although I know that there will be beautiful and breathtaking moments as my children grow and change — proms, graduations, weddings, grandchildren — just thinking of those beautiful and significant life events somehow makes this feeling worse.

Because for those things to happen, my babies will no longer be small.

They won’t be right here, by my side, to hug and to hold.

They won’t give me sloppy kisses and ask me a million questions.

Their idea of a perfect afternoon won’t be sitting and reading books with me.

They won’t be within my reach so that I can protect them.

I worry that the closeness that we’ve built will slowly slip away.

And the weight of their childhood is always there…the realization that they get but one childhood and I get only one chance to make it everything that it should and could be for them.

What if I fail to give them all that they need before they grow into young adults? The list of things that I have yet to teach them is so long and it is ever growing.

What if I run out of time?

What if something unthinkable happens to them?

What if the hole that they leave behind when they grow up and move on is just too gaping?

What if I smother them too much in my attempt to hold them close and savor the tiniest of moments?

What if…

What if…

What if…

How Do I Do This Again?

I have sat down to write no fewer than what feels like a thousand times and I can’t formulate my thoughts into a whole.  My writing has become stream-of-consciousness at best.  I sit down to write, I struggle through a few sentences, and then I walk away.

So, in an attempt to get back in the swing of things, I’m going to just go with my stream-of-consciousness writing and I’m hoping that you’ll all bear with me.

I feel like I’m betraying my mother-in-law’s memory by blogging so soon after her death.  How can I write about everyday things when I have the gravity of her death on my mind?

I want to be able to write about the joys of summer, ice cream sandwiches, kiddie pools, and bike rides, but my mind is consumed with the fragility of life, fear of more heartache, and ways to hold my family even tighter.

I was lying in bed last night, thinking about how much fun it would be to go camping.  My mind wandered to when the kids are a little older and I had visions of them wanting to sleep in their own tent.  My heart started to race and I nearly had a panic attack lying there.  I realized that I truly doubt that I will ever be able to let them have that kind of freedom.

When we were at the dentist today for Katie’s check-up, the dental hygienist led her out of the room without me to choose a reward for being so well-behaved.  Anxiety gripped me immediately.

I’ve always struggled with anxiety, with fears of the worst possible thing happening and I’ve spent my share of hours talking to a professional about it.  But now, I am feeling that familiar panicky undercurrent, nipping at my feet and it scares me.

My mother-in-law had struggled with health problems for quite some time and I think in some strange way, we took for granted that she’d always get through her challenges.  She was so upbeat and determined.  The latest hospital stay and her subsequent death truly caught me off-guard.

Now I’m feeling afraid of my own shadow.

I want to be carefree, I want my to make my children laugh, and I want to loosen my hold on them just a bit.

I want to blog again about happy and trivial things.

I’m going to keep writing and hope that little by little, I’m able to breathe a little easier and laugh a little quicker.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Fear and Brownies

Fear is such a complex emotion. What may seem trivial and inconsequential for one person, can be positively horrifying and inexplicable for another.

If adult fears are difficult to rationalize, then childhood fears are seemingly impossible, as a child’s ability to distinguish between real and perceived threats is isn’t yet fully developed.

Katie is brave about so many things–she has no fear of monsters or darkness (yet)–but garbage trucks simply terrify her. The truck passes by our house no fewer than four times each Monday, beginning around 9 o’clock and wrapping up around noon. Over time, she has become increasingly concerned about the truck’s whereabouts. It has now reached a point where she trembles as it approaches and begins to tear up, begging to be held.

We’ve tried rationalizing with her, offering up the following standard, predictable reassurances:
The garbage truck won’t hurt you.
The garbage truck can’t fit in our house–you’re safe in here.
The gentleman who drives the truck is going home now to see his kids.
Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t let anything bad happen to you.

None of these have worked.

BabyCenter has a helpful article on preschoolers and fear, with tips including acknowledging your child’s fear, working with her to problem solve, and using pretend play to work through the fear.  We’ve tried several of their suggestions, with little success.  Today we employed the article’s suggestion to “explain, expose, and explore.”

Since we’ve done about as much explaining as I think we can do, we moved right into exposing and exploring.

I wondered if we put a face to the driver and she could speak to him for a few moments, if she might be less afraid. So yesterday we got serious and made him some brownies. She was so excited that it was nearly all she talked about all day.  She stirred and chatted with me about how much he was going to love her “yummy brownies.”

This morning was spent listening and waiting, pacing and anticipating.  We heard the truck rumbling down the street and Katie was equal parts excited and petrified.  She waited, in my arms, as he approached, brownies in hand and the sweetest, most timid smile I’ve ever seen.  We waved him to a stop, they exchanged names, and we gave him her brownies.  As he drove away, she was smiling and appeared less afraid, but I don’t think she is over her fear by any means.

Does anyone have any tips or stories they’d be willing to share, just in case the brownie trick didn’t work?

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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