So, you’re 160 feet below the surface of the earth with your spouse and two kids and there is only one way in and one way out. You are in a cave. Water is dripping and there are actually pools of it around you. What do you feel? Me? Nothing. Totally fine. Granted we’re talking about the Luray Caverns here. It’s not exactly some random place we found and crawled around. I know, some of you can’t breath right now thinking about either…sorry.
No, I’m talking about lying in bed, sitting on the couch, even just walking around. Nothing particularly wrong. Nothing new, nothing coming up, nothing just past. Yet, there is this sense, this feeling, this nearly (but not quite) overwhelming sensation of…pressure. It resides mostly in my chest but can in a moment slide up into my throat (near tears) or down into my stomach (kind of nauseous). Not debilitating but oh so very not comfortable.
Anxiety. Before I go further I very much need to tip my cap, bow my head, acknowledge in any way those of you who know this all too well. This is just about what I have been experiencing. I’m not talking about severe anxiety and I in no way want to diminish what you experience or act like I have a clue what I’m talking about for any one other than myself.
However, this is very new to and frustrating for me. It started 2 or so months ago. Kind of out of the blue. Perhaps the worst part is that I can (I’d bet) totally explain it. You see, if you’ve been with us here for awhile or have read a few of the links I’ve talked about where hurts go, what happens when an emotional need goes unmet or is taken from you. For me, I typically build up a good bit of self condemnation more than anything else. Now, it seems fear (or it’s stealth-like ugly friend “anxiety”) has found it’s way into my world.
“Of course it has!” many of you must be thinking, “How couldn’t it?” You are actually, in a way, glad to hear that we (I) am having to deal with this. I have spoken to more than a couple people who think that we are not grieving or hurting “enough.” I always assure them that we deal with things as they come over here. We are not skipping through life pretending that nothing happened to us 9 months/almost 5 years ago/whatever. Further, it is my surmising that what we have and are going through has ripped open hurts that were buried/side stepped/”forgotten” years ago that were never processed/comforted. Thus, a build up and physical/emotional manifestation of said hurts come oozing out in ugly ways.
One of the more frustrating components of all of this, for me, is that I am aware of what needs to be done. I have the tools. I teach the lessons. Physician heal thyself to a degree. Therein lies some of the trap as well as I, at times, just feel like I can’t do everything that I want/need to and am left mentally (perhaps emotionally) cramped and stagnant. Blech.
I see it and am aware of it in the rest of the family as well in different ways. To a degree Bella shows it the least but there is only so much that a 10 year old girl can process. Sadly, it is in there…somewhere, lurking (probably hiding right next to or just behind puberty, that should be fun). Thus, what to do? Well, specifically incorporate that which is at our disposal. I have been speaking with the Highmark Caring Place and will continue to do so. They are a highly recommended family grief center that is exists for folks just like us. I had done my research on them long before Trey passed and am excited to move forward with them. Rachel and I have even talked with the kids about it and they are on board as well.
Personally, I met with a brother in Christ this week who has gone through a lot as well. He is both one I have a lot to learn from but also one who is open to what I know about emotions etc. He was always my “ace in the hole.” If things got bad enough, I knew he would be there. We had a great time sharing our stories and comforting one another.
Once again, I see on facebook some of the tools folks use for their anxiety and my heart just breaks. I am no where near that level and yet I can’t stand how I feel from time to time. I can’t even imagine. I came to realize this morning that one of my frustrations/anxieties is that once I wake up in the late night or very early morning I get trapped in a thought or dream. It most often if not always has nothing to do with anything. Yet, I cycle through whatever random thing it is and can’t shake it. I toss and turn, sleeping for 40 minutes or so a clip (or less) with this (whatever it is, again nothing major or even negative) just repeating in my head. It is not that (the thought/dream) that causes my anxiety, it is the fact that I can’t shake it. Gah!
Pardon this poorly constructed post (though allow for the all right alliteration) but I remembered these words from a post a year before Trey passed. I wrote…
“I am in charge. I lead the way. I am responsible for leading this family. I am not in control of Trey’s physical condition but I am put in this position to love each of those and care for each of those that God has given to me. I will not be taken out of this fight. This is just another round. I will go another round. I have been trained for this through many trials and tribulations. I have the God of all creation beside me, behind me, and leading the way. I have the support of countless faithful people begging God to intercede on our behalf. I receive the comfort of those God has put in my life to fight with me. I will go another round. I don’t know what round it is. The apparent battle ahead is daunting. The way I see it now is the “final” chapter of one fight is beginning. Then, there will be some rest. Then, the battle for Joe and Bella will resume.”
Prophetic and encouraging I suppose. So we battle, we fight. Anxiety is the assault I face these days…to some extent. There will be others. I again, tip my cap, nod my head and cover my heart for those of you who fight your fight with me. You are not alone.