Wednesday, March 28, 2012

:: not a cry for help, a cry for change ::

life here at la maison green continues to be stressful. circumstances continue to suck, sometimes just a little, sometimes more than that, and sometimes a hell of a fucking lot. there have been big stresses and littler ones. some that have swept in quick and fierce and some that have simmered, simmered, simmered.

back on my medication for anxiety, i find i am less apt to have panic attacks now than i was a month ago, which is good. but now i'm finding warnings creeping into other parts of my life: i wake with tension headaches, for one; my left knee hurts, which makes my left calf muscle hurt, which in compensating for has made my left hip hurt, and that in turn has left me with a weird pain in my left foot. it's totally and completely ridiculous.

it's affecting brian, too. he gave himself a concussion a few weeks ago (silly, freakish accident involving a cupboard door and a two year old under foot, but still, it seems to be both a cause of the stress at our house and a symptom of it). and now he's the only 30-something i've ever heard diagnosed with shingles (the adult resurgence of chicken pox, which usually doesn't strike until you are in your 50s or 60s, if then).

our bodies are telling us that our life is too much for us right now. they are screaming at us to figure something out.

and yet we're able to look around and find people all around us who are in worse circumstances than we are in. we're surrounded by people struggling against greater foes than we are, facing less sleep, fighting stronger viruses and ailments.

i see these people, and i talk to these friends, and i give myself an "it could be worse" and a "life is hard" and i remind myself that for millennia people have known these things. life is suffering. isn't this literally buddhism's first noble truth?

i say this over and over to myself. life is hard. it's supposed to be hard. who told you it was going to be easy? your life isn't even that hard. it could be worse. after all, my kids are healthy. my marriage is good. no one in the family currently has cancer. we have a house and two cars that run. we have so many blessings we probably can't count them all. so i repeat the chorus to myself: life is supposed to be hard. it could be worse.

the trouble is, my very core just can't accept this. life may be hard, and yes it can certainly be worse than this, but to me, when circumstances get this bad and the stress mounts this high and our bodies yell out to us that things just ain't right, to me this is when you need to step back, reassess, and change something. accommodate the suffering, maybe. find a way to care less about it, perhaps. or maybe just give the suffering more room to breathe -- take away the things that compound the suffering. make life easier.

because i'm very open about my anxiety and depression, i find that people often come to me about it. i get a lot of emails, even some phone calls. this shit is widespread, my friends. many many of us experience it, sometimes acutely, sometimes indefinitely. and as you know i'm the first one to admit (and advocate for the fact) that sometimes, you just need help in the form of medications. but i also completely believe that these times of discomfort, pain, fear, anxiety, sadness -- these are our bodies' ways of saying CHANGE THINGS THE FUCK UP OR ELSE.

i'm in a place now where i'm just not sure what form the change needs to take. it's so much more complicated to change a family's life than to change a single person's. but my kids are still happy and seemingly unaffected yet by the chaos their parents find themselves embroiled in, and i want to keep it that way. i want to get us back out of the fire so that we can get back to not suffering all the time even when circumstances are bad.