Everything

I love the word maelstrom, even though I don’t use it in conversation. I don’t get the opportunity, not being a sailor, which, I suppose, is a great thing for me. Or not, if you consider that I really would have liked to have been a sailor (in theory, at least). This week, however, is a maelstrom of stress. Sucking, swirling, drowning, whirlpool of stress. I’m back to therapy after more than a year away which feels necessary but also disheartening. There is not one thing that isn’t looming, pressing, pulling, or flattening me.

If it’s work, then home is an oasis. If it’s home, then work is an oasis. A long walk is a vacation from them both. But I know things have gone into a full tailspin when even a walk cooks up anxiety. For example:

Breathe. Focus on the world around me. Again. Let my mind empty. Just walk. Is the dog limping? Just walking. Not watching the dog. Why is he limping? Do we need to stop? If we stop I’ll never get ten thousand steps in. Breathe. What does it matter, the steps. Clear my mind. When the dog dies I’ll have to walk alone. I’ll never want to walk again. It’ll be fine. He’s young. He’s not dying. I’ll die too, of heart failure from sitting on the couch weeping for my dog. Can’t breathe.  

Right, then. Back to therapy. I’m also registered for a class called Meditation for Stress Relief beginning today. Ridiculously, one of the jabbing, nagging, frustrating things has been the lack of communication until yesterday. No confirmation. No idea of what the first class will hold. No real directions. If it were me and I knew I was leading or organizing a class that had stress relief in the title I’d probably go out of my way to get information out as fast and as fully as possible. What will we do, exactly, for two and a half hours?

I feel tremendously guilty for snapping at RR because she was putting too much glue on her valentines. I feel sad because I feel frustrated that she cannot figure out potty-training. I feel disappointed in myself for going back to therapy and embarrassed by the privilege of using a therapist for something that feels less than important. I feel inadequate for not connecting with my wife in the evenings and instead feeling my heart race and falling asleep paralyzed. My parents are back and while my wife is a subtle reminder to be grateful for them, I still can’t fully relax while they are around. How long until my mom lays down eggshells in her path? How long until their teasing goes too far? How long until another formal dinner sends my wife over the edge?

Work deadlines are looming too close. Planning is taking too long. There is nothing there that can’t be knocked out relatively quickly and yet I seem to be paralyzed. I’ll go in tomorrow and the same pile plus some might still be sitting there, waiting. And then there’s the snow forecast for tomorrow evening. It may keep us home. With my parents. Having a lot of togetherness. By the way, my head has hurt off and on for days. I can’t think. I can’t even breathe.

I know all of the coping skills are tied in together. If I could de-stress, I could relax. If I could relax, my head might stop hurting (or it might not, that’s the fun of migraines for you). If I were more relaxed, I would be less inclined to crumble under stress. My wife keeps asking what’s causing it. Everything, I say.

Things will straighten out again but, in the meantime, I’m nailed to the floor, not breathing.

 

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9 Responses

  1. I know this feeling, and it sucks. I hope the calm is around the bend.

  2. Meridith, if you’re willing to consider something different, I know a method to really break all this crap up, really easily. I’ve used it in times of stress as well, like when I was studying for these interviews at work and couldn’t get my brain to remember anything, and I was on the verge of full blown panic. I called up a person I knew and had my Bars run. The Bars are 32 points on your head that when a practitioner touches them, they discharge all the stuff that you’re holding onto. I know that won’t make much sense, but it works really well. If you lived near me I’d run your bars for you. What I love, besides that it works, is that you don’t have to talk things out. You don’t have to ‘do’ anything, just lay there. People often fall asleep during it. And when done, you simply feel better. You can find a practitioner near you using the Access Consciousness website and search for your state. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask. http://www.accessconsciousness.com/facilitators.asp

  3. Maelstrom is going around. At first I just thought it was the month of January, but man, February is sucking too. At least you’re not alone in feeling this way.
    High five on using a cool word.

  4. February is always full of suckage. You’re not alone. This is a hard time of year for ever. Pile work, family and other stress on top of it and it all just makes you want to run and hide under your covers for the rest of your life. Or is that just me?

  5. for everyone, not for ever. Good lord I’m running on 4 hours of sleep. Can you tell?

  6. I hear you. Maelstrom begone!

  7. Hope things get better for you soon. ((HUGS)) I know the feeling all too well and thus far, therapy has been a great thing for me. I am currently working on my own stress and anxiety – I hope you find the peace you are searching for.

  8. I’m thinking of you. I hope that an eventual escape from February helps things, too.

  9. Aside from my wife’s birthday (which I failed pretty epically at honoring this year), February kind of sucks as a month. It’s when the dregs of winter are still hanging on, and everything is cold and soggy and you just want to be done and have spring *start* already, but it won’t, and there’s nothing for it but to trudge along and just keep breathing. And remember that this too, shall pass, cliche as that is.

    At least that’s how it is for me. It will get better. In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with going back to therapy, and I hope that the meditation class is useful. Big hugs.

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