A Week at the Dentist’s Office

Blogging this week has been like pulling teeth, I think due in part to my relatively solitary weekend. It only took 24 hours for me to nestle deep within myself. Now I’m reluctant to come back out and bare my soul. This type of quiet downtime is an essential component of my existence. It’s a newish quality that intrigues me, especially since overall, I’m an extrovert. I never used to do ‘me time.’ I hated being alone. When I was with people, I could ignore my feelings. I didn’t have to acknowledge how hard things were. I’ve since realized I can’t run from those feelings. My body forced me to internalize this through an insistent campaign of anxiety attacks.

Mind: What are these unacknowledged feelings scattered about??

Body: Heart racing…

Mind: More in this dusty corner and this junk drawer? You can’t hide these forever!

Body: Feel like I’m under water. Shaking. I must be going crazy. Afraid of everything!

Mind:That’ll learn you to ignore me! Bwahahahaha!

Aside from a difficult time in fifth grade, my first major encounter with anxiety came around the time I turned 18. It also happened to follow these events:

  • Four years of caring for my father during the worst of his bipolar disorder
  • Four years of hiding his illness and constantly explaining oddities, just so I didn’t stand out
  • My Dad’s inability to continue working as a minister and his erratic, mania-driven spending, compounded by my Mom’s struggle to get her PhD, meaning money was BEYOND tight
  • High school graduation
  • My Dad’s announcement that he’s gay
  • My parents divorce
  • My uncle’s battle with AIDS and eventual death
  • My grandfather’s passing
  • My Dad’s move to VA
  • My Mom’s and my move to a teensy apartment in MN, leaving behind my “family” of friends, who’d helped me survive the last four years

It was a scary, awful time. I thought I’d never feel OK. The pain was so intense and all-consuming, it hogged the spotlight for a long while. Eventually, things got better but by a young age, I’d used all my allotted feeling-burying credits. Now, it’s physically and mentally impossible for me to run from my feelings. Neither my body, nor my mind will let me.

What was my point? Oh yes: blogging seems arduous this week. Also, I love this purse.

P.S. There’s been a lot of hard stuff, but there’s been wonderful stuff too. In many ways, I am blessed.

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