The ground is shifting beneath me, and I’m not handling it very well.
This is a season of many changes for me, and I am becoming increasingly overwhelmed. My anxiety, which I had managed to manhandle into a low hum, is shouting again. Every day is hard. I am shaking from the inside out. I’m crying a lot. I’m restless, agitated and generally not at peace.
Well, a lot.
The 30,000 foot answer is that literally since the dawn of 2018, our life has been completely unmanageable, with lots of activity, twists, turns, health issues and major changes.
A certain level of balance is critical to my ability to maintain mental stability, and our life has been anything but for a long time. I’ve been doing my best to roll with it, and I’ve been doing a pretty good job of hanging in there, but it has all caught up with me, and I am on the verge of mental collapse.
I fear that if I don’t find a way to course correct, something bad is going to happen. I’m not suicidal or anything of that nature. But I am incredibly fragile, and I feel I could break at any moment.
You’ve noticed I’ve gotten pretty far into this without being more specific about what’s going on. That’s because “talking” about it brings me to tears. So, I’m stalling.
Now, I will go for it. Here are the things weighing on me now:
- We are moving across the country in two months. I am leaving my entire family, many friends, a home and neighborhood I adore, and my lyme and mental health support network.
- Our house sold faster than expected, so we have been navigating a complicated move. We moved a fraction of our belongings to an apartment, and then sent the rest to our new home in Virginia. In the meantime, I have been trying to keep track of three households: the one we left, the one we are living in, the one we are going to live in.
- Our new home requires renovations, so we are in the process of trying to figure that out long distance.
- I went through the sad process of saying goodby to a house I dearly loved and that was the site of many, many happy, loving family times.
- My only child is about to graduate from high school. Of course, it’s a happy occasion, and I’m excited for her, but it’s also the closing of a very big chapter, and I have sadness about that. About the passing of time, but also my changing role.
- In the middle of the moving madness I have been trying to plan my daughter’s graduation party, which is no small feat.
- I got sick as a dog with a brutal virus during the move. It’s been three weeks, and I am finally getting my strength back.
- My husband has been carrying a heavy load with work, a lot of business travel, and trying to finish a novel. All of that bleeds over to me.
- My child will be off to college in the fall. Again, happy for her, but also facing the empty nest.
Generally, I am very fine with facing my emotions, and knowing and processing things that are hard to know and process. But lately, I am literally running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to keep up with everything. And the more I do, the less I feel, and the more my anxiety grows.
You’d think it would be the opposite. Being busy is a good way to keep your mind off things that trouble you. The problem with that is hustle and bustle doesn’t quiet the emotions that roil within me. The only way to quiet them is to acknowledge them. Uncharacteristically, I’ve been avoiding that.
I think there is just too much to know right now. My whole world is literally shifting. So many endings. So many lasts. So many goodbyes.
Of course, these will eventually give way to beginnings, firsts, and hellos.
But first, I need to grieve what I’m losing. And acknowledge the fact I feel lost. Everything familiar is being pulled away. Literally, everything. I have spent the least three years doggedly fighting for mental stability, and I found something close to that. I finally began to feel safe and secure again. I was starting to live my life again. And now, at the worst possible time, the rug has come out.
I know it’s part of some larger plan, but it’s hard to see it now. Right now, all I see is fear, disruption, and change I wasn’t looking for.
After Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss in the 2016 presidential election, her spiritual advisor told her God never closes one door without opening another. Then he added, that the hallways are hell.
I’m in the hallway.
And it’s hell.
I feel naked. Exposed. Alone. Afraid.
So many doors closing all at once.
Of course, I have my husband and daughter by my side every step of the way. However, they can love me, but they can’t cultivate my internal harmony and happiness. Only I can do that. Only I can figure it out.
To quote the closing lines of Invictus by William Ernest Henley:
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Right this moment, I’m not feeling very brave or masterful or captain-like. I’m feeling like I want to curl up in a ball. I want to go to sleep and wake up back in my ordered world where I felt safe and everything made sense to me.
Of course, I can’t do that, as life only moves in one direction, which is forward.
My therapist often tells me to do my best to go with the flow of life. He likens it to a flowing river. If you put the river in a bottle, it’s just water. All the movement and magic disappear.
It’s the same with life. When we try to control it and bend it to our will and desires and wants and needs, the result is the same as putting a river in a bottle. All the movement and magic are gone. We miss the moments of serendipity. We miss so much.
As so much change washes over me, I’m trying to keep the image of the river in my mind. On a good day I can see how my attempts to control that mighty river of life only add to my anxiety.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier to experience life as it happens each day rather than bend, force and will it to my wants, needs and desires?
I know in my heart this is true, and if I can live this way I will find the inner peace that so often eludes me.
But understanding something and executing something are two very different things.
All I can do is try.