Say The Words…

Before it’s too late,

Say the words.

While they’re still near you
While they can still hear you

While they still want to

Say the words.

Before they walk away

Before the end of the day

Before it’s all over

Say the words.

You don’t know how much time you have

How much time they’ll give you

How much longer they’ll care at all

Before the fall

Say the words.

Don’t let fear rule you

Don’t let time fool you

It’s not forever

If you never

Say the words.

The Pendulum Swings

Yesterday was…awful.

Mom called in the morning while I was at work, & told me that Dad’s best friend had passed away. This man was someone I’ve known for practically my whole life. His daughter & I were best friends and nearly inseparable from kindergarten through 5th grade. (The following summer of 1981 we moved to ND)

He and his wife were like second parents to me, as I spent almost as much time at their house as I did my own.

But, he was also the father of the boy who molested me when I was a teenager.

After Mom told me of his passing, I attempted to go back to work at my desk, but couldn’t concentrate. My head felt heavy, & I could hear a buzzing, ringing, in my ears as everything else around me started to fade out.

Then, the panic attack began.

I told my supervisor I had to go home, & bolted from the office before I went into full-meltdown mode. I didn’t want them to see me like that, couldn’t let them see me like that.

It was my worst panic attack yet, save one I had while separated from my first ex (whole other story). 

Tears rolled down my face the whole drive home, but I held my shit together till I got in my front door.

Then – game over.

If you’ve never had a real, full-blown panic attack…you have no idea how frightening one is. I hope you never have to experience it, because it’s…well…I’ll try to describe it.

As soon as my front door closed, the trembling started. I’m not talking about just “feeling shaky”. I’m talking – my whole body went into earthquake mode.  Someone just watching would have probably thought I was having a seizure, or that I’d just gotten out of ice-cold water, I shook so violently. I had to sit to take my shoes off, & struggled with the zippers because I couldn’t keep my fingers still long enough to grasp them.

The cold set in. My house is generally warm, as I can’t abide being cold. I usually have the heat set at 76. But, yesterday, I couldn’t get warm. I wrapped one of my fleece blankets around me as I stumbled through the house to the fridge for my water, & it still wasn’t enough to warm me up. It took 2 blankets & my 2 cats (curled up with me in the chair) to finally warm me.

After taking another dose of my anti-anxiety meds to try to quell the panic attack, it went to the next level. Hyperventilating.

I almost blacked out, so it’s a good thing I was already in my chair when this hit. It dragged on for what seemed like forever, swinging between hyperventilating & hitching sobs. Coupled with the shaking trembles, it most likely would have looked like a grand mal seizure. 

Finally, the meds started to kick in, after interminable seeming hours, and I started to calm. It was most likely just a handful of minutes, but time stretches out unceasingly when in a panic attack, your brain screams fight or flight!! And there seems to be no end, no exit, no rescue. 

And when you’re dealing with this alone, with no one there to comfort you, there’s no surcease of the pain until your body, quite literally, shuts down. The adrenaline of the attack does eventually run out. It has to.

But when you’re panicking, it doesn’t feel that way.

When you’re in PA mode, all you know, all you see, is the black, horrific, panic. It’s a heart attack, stroke, earthquake, flood & mental apocalypse, all rolled inside of your head & body.

It, quite literally, feels like the end, while you’re in it. Logic has no place there. None. It’s not a matter of “just breathe, you’ll be fine”.

You can’t “just breathe”, when every breath has to be fought for.

You can’t “just calm down”, when your heart is racing so fast you feel like a jet engine is going to bust through your chest.

For me, tunnel vision set in, & all I could see was whatever was directly in front of my eyes, but my brain wasn’t truly processing even that. It was in overload.

Once the attack finally crested, & I started to come down, it was like falling off a cliff.

I crashed. 

I slept, weighted under 2 blankets & 2 cats, it was more like falling into a coma, in that I didn’t dream at all. It was just – black sleep.

Today, I am out of PA mode. My anxiety is still very high, but I’m watching it. Keeping quiet, avoiding going out, & taking meds as needed. 

For those of you who do have anxiety & have experienced PA, you know the aftercare, & what I’ve been through. I know another attack could happen, so I’m being careful. Doing all the things I do to relax, soothe & comfort. Reading, to keep my brain occupied on something other than the situation. Wearing my comfort clothes to feel good against my skin. Burning candles and/or incense as needed to use aromatherapy to soothe. Staying away from caffeine, as that can trigger another attack while in heightened stress moments.

And blogging. This helps me, almost as much as the meds. Because this is my emotional outlet, my “scream into the black” of the internet. My way of getting the words out of my head, onto the “page”, & away from my emotional distress.

The worst has passed, and I’m still here…but the pendulum swings. And the moments are tentative & tenderly susceptible to another PA. Hang on, we’re not out of the woods entirely, yet.

Tremble

Anxiety has been so bad tonight. It’s been bad for the last couple of weeks.

But not to look at me.

If you just look, I am normal – smiling, joking, & getting along, doing my work, handling my business…

This is the face of anxiety.

But…

Take another look at the eyes.

Take a good look.

There’s tension there.

There’s a twitch, just there in the corner of one eye, constantly fluttering.

There’s a tightness around the eyes, pulling at the edges, headache darting between the brows.

The smile looks almost real, though, doesn’t it?

Slightly wilted, tired, resigned.

But it fools the masses.

And makes sure that no one notices the trembles.

The hint of vibration that never leaves.

My body is wound so tightly I feel like an over-tuned violin, ready to snap as soon as the bow draws across it the first time.

And this – is the face after the crash.

The face that no one sees.

The worry drawn tight over the brow.

The grief and guilt filling in the mouth.

The resignation that smears the vision.

Knowing it’s just a matter of time before the other shoe drops.

Nobody gets to see this face if I can help it.

It shatters the illusion that everything works. That I’m Ok, all lights green across the board, engines full and running at capacity.

This is the face after the mask comes off.

I’m tired of hiding, of pretending. I’m tired of everyone thinking that anxiety is just a random worry.

It’s not.

It’s real, it’s painful, it’s constant & it’s not something I can be rid of just by “calming down”.

I take medication every day to control the worst of it, or I probably wouldn’t be able to function.

This- is my reality.

It’s not the whole of who I am.

But it is real.

And that’s what I’m here, blogging for.

To be in one place where I can be real.

My nephew and I talk honestly to each other all the time. We don’t pull our words back, because we don’t have to. 

But there are times when I need to see the words in front of me, splayed out like a bloody corpse, flayed, raw & bleeding all over the page.

Therapy at it’s deepest level.

Minus the shiny buckles on the strapped jacket.

Doubt

#daily-prompt

There are many things in my life that I am certain of. 

*My children all love me, & I them. Same with my parents. 

*My Nephew is one of my dearest & best friends, & over the last few years, we’ve gotten so in synch, that often we can tell before picking up the phone, that the other one needs a call. 

*my cats are assholes, but I love them anyway. Same goes for the ferret.

*I will do whatever it takes when it comes to a loved one in need.

*men in my life will disappear without a trace.

Which leads to my doubt.

There is serious doubt in my heart that I will ever find a man who will decide that I’m worth committing to, and if he says he’ll commit, that he’ll actually live up to that promise.

There is doubt that I’ll ever be a part of a “we/us” dynamic ever again. 

There is doubt that love will ever really happen for me again.

Broken promises, fear of commitment, fear of even catching feelings… They all fall into the “doubt” trap. 

And I doubt that I’ll ever be able to truly trust any man, ever again, because of it.

I don’t really let anyone “in” anymore. Not to the emotions.

Because it hurts too much when that doubt rears its ugly head & tells me they’re about ready to bolt.

When asked how I’m doing, I usually answer – “I’m fine.”

Because that’s what they want to hear.

Whether it’s the truth or not, doesn’t matter, it’s the veneer, the semblance of normalcy, that matters.

I doubt that the full truth would change anything, so why bother? It would probably send him screaming for the exit, anyway.

So, I doubt this’ll change anytime soon.

Translate Me

There’s a code,

Written into the pieces of me

Mysterious and complex

It speaks in forms unknown

Turning this on, turning that off

Flipping genetic switches at seeming random

Lighting fires within, only to douse them later, with no explanation or apology

It’s a book, 50, 100, 1 million volumes thick, written in a language I cannot read

My own body and mind, a saga I cannot comprehend without another’s key.

“The Divine Mystery” some may call it, as they turn away from the puzzle to things they can digest. The depth and breadth of the conundrum too much for them to contemplate, they have no further wish to attempt the struggle.

But for me, I wish to delve deeper, to try to understand the whys and wherefores, the hows and whats of Me.

I seek, not only to understand for my own self, but to translate – to gain understanding, the internal “ah-hah!” from others. To see the light go on when they understand that I am the way I am because…THIS. And THAT. And THESE.

Logic and science dance seductively with emotion and faith, all swirling in their patterns together, intertwining in hypnotic rythmns, only to break violently & inexplicably from each other for no apparent reason. Then, quietly meeting again in the middle of the dance floor, to touch hands & make apologies, while agreeing to disagree.

Where does the dance begin? How does it end? And what is the meaning of that complicated bobble of steps in the middle? These are things I seek, words I reach for.

But first, I must decode my skin, my organs, my brain. I must Translate Me.

And that…might take a minute.

*written in response to the Daily Prompt*

Some Days I Want To Die

Because somedays I don’t see the point of being here, anymore, and my brain lies to me and tells me that- I’m really not making a difference in any way, and that, while my family (chosen family included) would miss me, sure, they’d learn to live with it, & it’s not like I really make a difference there, either.

Yes, I know these are lies my brain tells me when I’m depressed. And I’d never suicide, because I know how horrible that is for those left behind, but the depression still holds me down, head under water, emotionally, until I feel as though one long nap would be the end of it, & it could be peaceful & less noisy, & very little mess. 

It’s the same as the lies my brain tells me when it fills me with anxiety about anything and everything it can dredge up out of the depths of my id. 
Don’t go out, something will happen, & you’ll end up embarrassed, or hurt, or made fun of, & then you’ll just want to curl up & cry. Stay home where nothing can hurt you.  This kind of thing never ends well for you, anyway.

Oh, and remember that thing you said to that person? How stupid was that? You would’ve done much better to say…this. Or to just keep your stupid mouth shut, cause then stupid wouldn’t fall out of it.

And did you hear what that woman at work said to you today? Oh, you thought it was a nice compliment? Really? Did you really hear what she said & the look on her face & the tone of her voice & how she was talking to one of the other women later & just…stopped…talking when you walked by? Yeah…let’s discuss this some more, shall we?

And remember that thing you did 5 years ago? Let’s dissect that into all its tiniest meanings over the next 7 hours while you’re pretending to sleep. Oh? You weren’t pretending, you were actually trying to sleep? Well…not anymore. Good morning, Sunshine!

Oh, there’s a man interested in you? You know he only wants one thing, right? And you’re not getting any younger, so forget about getting that “happily ever after”, cause they all leave, eventually. Why would they possibly want to stay with you? An aging, anxious, depressed, overweight, grandmother. Yeah, there’s the brass ring. Take what they give you, because that’s all there is anymore, Chickie. You aren’t going to get what you want.

And the ride never ends, with subject after subject being over-analyzed & subjected to the highest-powered microscope possible.

So, yes, some days I want to die.

And some days I feel as though I’m just a passenger in my own skin, & I watch the automaton doing the work thing, & the talking to other people thing, & the taking care of the animals thing, & I marvel at the wonders of modern science that could create such a life-like robot that can carry passengers who watch the day go by out through the eye-windows.

And I’m glad on those days that I could just lie back & let the robot do it all, because the depression had me under water again, & the anxiety told me that if I struggled, I’d snap my own neck for sure and then where would I be?

And some days, there’s just no up…only sideways…and it’s all I can do to hang onto the cliff’s edge with my nonexistent fingernails, & shift to the left, digging for another foothold.

So, some days, I dye.

Yes, black hair.

It was time to go dark.

After all, it’s been pretty dark on the inside lately. Time to let it out.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

I just finished reading this book. The one that titles this post, by Patrick Rothfuss.

It’s a small slice of one character, a small, side character in other books he’s written, which starts with The Name of the Wind. 
Auri, the character in this story, is sweet, quiet, & broken. She hides from the world around her, flitting through shadowed places, & doing things in a way that make no sense to the “normal” world, but are totally true to herself & her perception of the world.

It reminds me a lot of Mr. God, This Is Anna, another slow, sweet, broken story about a lost girl who knows who she is, but has trouble fitting into society.

Both of these stories ring a true bell inside my heart, for different reasons, but mostly for the fact that, while these girls are completely & utterly true to their own natures, they are forever outsiders in their world at large. Each deals with this disconnect in their own way. One retreats into a quiet, safe (for her) existence, interacting only briefly & enigmatically with a chosen few… While the other is open & extroverted in her attempts to get others to understand where she is speaking from.
And I, I have found myself sliding from the extroverted “Anna” to the introverted “Auri”, retreating further & further, making fewer attempts to explain, or to try to at least get others to accept, my differences.

I’ve found that, most others either simply don’t care enough to try to understand, or fear the explanation, and what it might mean for their perceptions.  
It does no good to try to wring water from a stone… The best you can hope for, is that someday, lightning will strike, splitting a crack in the stone, & let the water trickle through.

Until then, I will keep my innermost thoughts relegated to the few who grace my closest circle, & this blog, if I feel like sharing.
Auri, I understand your yearning to stay in the Underthing, for us broken souls must stay in our true and proper place.