Sunday, February 26, 2012

:: attacks ::

when i wrote last weekend about how work hasn't been helping me through my anxiety lately, i think i may have suggested somehow that my anxiety is itself work-related.

it is definitely not.

it's the result of a series of very personal crises that all occurred in the span of approximately a week.

i never used to have these sometimes weeks-long debilitating anxiety attacks. before i had kids i would get the occasional short-lived irrational panic surge that might course through my veins for maybe 15 minutes tops.

now i get anxiety that inhabits me and lives inside here for weeks. this is my third bout with this in less than four years, and the fact that it keeps happening both scares me and pisses me off.

the frustrating thing about it is that it really does come in these little explosions, all at once and with no warning. an event will trigger the initial anxiety attack and suddenly my entire body will be flooded with stress that feels like poison. slowly over days i lose the ability to eat, and then to sleep. i can't be around my kids. i become unable to function. twice now i've even had to go on sedatives to help me get through the toughest part.

but when the attack finally wanes, i'm fine. fine-fine-fine. fine for a while.

some women hate their thighs, or their hips, or their stomachs. some hate the backs of their arms or their profiles in a photograph.

this anxiety is the thing i hate about myself. i hate that it's in me. i hate that i can't control it. i hate that it makes things so difficult for my husband and my kids and all the relatives and babysitters who help us out. i hate that i have to be medicated for it. i hate that it's probably hereditary. i hate that it makes me feel weak. that it makes me avoid stress. i hate that it makes me uncomfortable with my family. i hate that when i'm in the middle of it i feel like i will never-never-ever get out of it. i hate that even if it's not caused by my children, they're a part of it. i hate that it makes me avoid them.

what if this continues to happen to me three times every four years? what if it starts to happen more often? what if one time the anxiety does settle in and never leaves?

these are the things my frenzied brain wonders, of course. my calmer self knows that the previous bouts have ended and so will this one. it knows that each time this has happened i've learned something about my anxiety from it.

but still: it's scary.