Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
It happens all the time. I start to worry about something–big or small. The worry turns into a palpable feeling of failure and self-doubt. Then the feeling dives deep into body to nag my thoughts and soul. The nagging tugs at my stomach and lungs causing butterflies and trouble breathing. The tugs, if I’m not careful, can turn into panic. Panic envelops me, making me dizzy, nauseous and fearful of death.
Luckily, none of this is life threatening. It’s just anxiety. I’ve dealt with it more years than not. In college, I’d lose sleep over exams, boys and money. In my late twenties, after a blood-letting breakup, I collapsed from a panic attack outside of busy Bloomingdale’s department store. I immediately started seeing a psychologist who prescribed Xanax. Relief came in that bottle. I also talked openly to the therapist and my best friend about my fears. At the time I had been rejected and was terrified of growing old alone and childless. My best friend took my phone calls at all hours to talk me down from my nervous ledge–and she wisely reminded me to take my medicine.
Things improved. I married, had kids and worked. But like a large mole that can never be removed, anxiety persists. Now, my nerves come undone over my new things, especially my kids. It goes something like this: Will I get up in time to get them to school? If they are late to school, will the teacher think badly of my family? If I make them late once, I’ll just do it again and again. I’ll teach my kids that being late is okay, but it’s not. They’ll be late to everything in their lives–and they won’t be able to keep their friends or get into a decent college. Now I’ll never be able to fall asleep.