I have anxiety.
Its nearly always bubbling below the surface. I wake up with an anxious stomach and unless I am staying in the moment, its there waiting for me.
I had no idea what “having anxiety” even was or felt like until around 7 months ago.
When I was starting to come out of the shock. When it was finally starting to settle in… this is real, this is happening, this is my new life, whatcha gonna do about it now?
Deer in the headlights, panic mode. Enter: anxiety.
And I’ve sort of felt it in a slow crescendo ever since.
People have described to me their panic attacks or feeling anxious… I never understood it simply because I didn’t live it.
We can’t understand what we don’t understand.
I thought the sadness and loneliness was tough. This is next level on the grief ladder.
My body simmers in anxious energy almost constantly. Its like my body is buzzing, trembling with nervousness and anxiety and I’m simultaneously trying with all my mental might to hold it still and comfort myself, and try to remember that it doesn’t have to dictate my actions, my day or choices.
There’s nothing I am doing for it specifically other than, find joy. My peace comes from self-soothing and being aware enough to know what those things are.
Laugh. Laughing has been my medication.
Listening to music, its nearly always been a retreat for me, even as a child.
Reading (but even sometimes that will spike my anxiety).
And my most favorite thing to curb my nerves is DRIVE. I love driving. Music and letting my mind wander, in and out of thoughts… its where I do my processing. I handle my shit and solve the world’s problems when I drive.
So I gave my anxiety to the steering wheel and did a lot of thinking and processing on the 9 hour drive back from Houston a few weeks ago, where we had spent a week for the funeral of one of my older brothers.
I am sure I looked like a wreck to a lot of people who embraced me at my brother’s recent funeral, a lot of people got me in a dumbfounded, exhausted state.
You couldn’t possibly understand if you don’t understand, but to self preserve, I decided to shut myself down and have no expectations on how to be or act and just stay current in exactly how I felt in that exact moment.
Everyone who had the capacity to and really took me into their arms, not just as an obedience to the ceremony, but looked at me, grabbed me, like they were genuinely trying to understand all of this with me and for me …got the truth, my truth. I am so thankful for those people. Its not a blur, I know and remember who you are.
I recognized those people, and their sincerity and confided with slumped shoulders, “I’m just so tired.”
I am. That was truth. Bubbling to the surface and out. That was real, honest and exactly how I felt and wanted to be. No other words would do. Tired. I’m just, so tired.
And not my body… my body can handle the blows.
My mind and heart are so banged up.
My anxiety had been heightened the entire week, making its presence known with loss of appetite, stomach issues, and I couldn’t stop fidgeting with my hands. I was a walking, humming body of anxious energy that I was battling on whether to let it out or keep it tucked in.
No medication, no numbing.
I was letting my body act accordingly, and let it freely move on through.
I had hoped I wouldn’t stay in this state of anxious forever, just ride it on out.
This too, I knew, would pass. And it did.
Truthfully… all I can give is how I feel and felt in the moments. Nothing more, nothing less. At least not right now.
I’m mentally tired.
It still feels very bizarre, and my brain was and is already processing and dealing with a hand I still can’t make sense of and not sure how to play.
I felt like I was not willing or going to set down the grief I had for my husband to gather even more buckets of grief for my older brother. My older brother who had seen and heard and been with my husband the last moments of his life.
My heart breaks back open in the places I thought had at least felt like they were starting to mend.
I’m not sure if anyone could understand that, but it is the truth, and I don’t want to feel guilty for that.
Hurt upon hurt. My heart hurts for my family.
Because one thing I know now about losing people, is that WE are the ones that live with the pain. Not the deceased. WE have to live with it. We have to carry it the rest of our lives.
We are the ones who life after death.
And I hate the pain my parents carry now. I hate this pain for anyone.
I don’t know what it is like to lose a child. I don’t know that hurt. I don’t carry that heartache. And I will not and would not assume to know, even though I have lost.
But, my pain and angst is for their hearts. For so many reasons…
I just could not forget that I was just here, in a moment of bewildered loss, my entire world as I knew it being completely shaken up by the unexpected and sudden death of someone else, not just anyone else, my husband. I could not be expected to set that down and slide it to the side to make room for another.
No expectations on me, I’m begging… please. I can’t hold anything or anyone else up right now.
But I did what I knew I must, the right thing. Show up. Lean in.
And with all my might, mindfully ignore all the wrong things people say and do at things like that. Because to no fault of their own, do not have the perspective or insight I do.
Lean in anyway.
Having the perspective that no one else does or could understand and have to sit alone in that.
But I did find solace and gather peace in the words and hugs of those who saw me, and have seen me from afar, picking up any ounce of strength I have every day and had to to be there, sit there and endure it. All the while, knowing, I was struggling with and crying for a person who had already been memorialized.
I am beyond bewildered by the events of this life. And my faith is and has been called into question.
And I think thats what makes me so tired.
What and where is the logic?!
Makes US all so tired… us, the anxious, we try and try to pull and tug things apart to rationalize and make sense of sometimes… the senseless. Because without the logic, we don’t feel safe. We don’t feel at peace. Our mental engineering, all damn day, every day. Its EXHAUSTING. We poke and prod at the details, the chain of events.. everything gets picked apart.
I can’t understand why, only that its our human condition to wonder. Find the answer, the rationale. Only then, will we finally sleep.
And in that case, I know I have miles to go before I sleep.
For now, there’s no more I can give… I’m just going to give what I have… and what I have is the truth about how I feel and felt about the last few weeks. Its still processing, I know it is. I have tried to write and write and write but nothing has made me feel released or at peace. So maybe I just move even slower. Knowing, trusting. It will have been a year next month, I’m closing in on the anniversary of the worst, shocking day of my entire life. Just like the others, anger, sadness, loneliness, I guess anxiety has taken a seat in the back and we will just move right along… onward.
And perhaps someone else, anyone who is struggling with anxiety or confusion about their life and where they go from here, can allow themselves to sit in their truth too. And just be free and admit: I don’t know, but I do know… every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.
3 thoughts on “miles to go”
Hand in hand. Love you much. Keep letting your soul shine in it all BUT definitley with the written word.
Hey Caroline i lost my husband very suddenly 22nd March 2016. I can relate to so much of your writing and i am so sorry to hear about your brother. Thank you for being so raw. I too found myself signed up for the anxiety rocket without my permission. I knew it would be in overdrive for the 1st anniversary but it also seems to ramp up at the strangest times and sometimes it just really sux. Just wanted you to know that you are helping an Aussie widow too with your honesty. Thank you so much. Melissa xxx
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Thank you my Soul shine, my sun & moon shine too. My heart hurts for you and your older brother. My grief is hard, strong willed if you may. Feeling as though I’ve had to keep it up & away from you & your other brother. No, you cannot touch as you have All of your lives to live, still much time for you & yours. Almost like a cancer that is contagious & I am afraid to allow you to get to close. A mother’s protection for her cubs.. Yes, strange as it sounds, it still & will forever haunt me till my days end that your dad & I lost our child.. How in the hell can this happen, please Tell me How & Why? No, no one can tell me so I have to keep it up & away from harm to anyone else. And please…no more..” but it was just a very bad accident”, yes, Mr & Mrs abcdefg, I ‘ GET THAT’, but…aren’t we to believe ” Everything happens for a reason”… Well someone PLEEEEASE tell me what that logical reason is? Nope…carry on lady, just carry on.
Love you my beautiful Awesome daughter.