Sunday, September 9, 2012

Slogging through

Today I was in the grocery store, and I felt the now-familiar sensation of anxiety rumbling in my belly. My breath started coming fast and everything looked very sharp, and very clear. I knew right away that I was on the edge of a panic attack, and I slowed my breathing way, way down. I felt this moment and just noticed, rather than fought. It's like being on a river and knowing that your best way out of danger is to ride it for a while and steer within the current, rather than trying to paddle up stream.

Ever since I went to the Redwoods and had that crazy panic attack, I notice that anxiety is just something I get to experience now and then. Curious. Fortunately distancing myself emotionally is something I'm good at- in a healthy way, not like a cold, mean way. I can switch into observer mode which allows me to look at things from far away and be curious, rather than trying to catch my breath while dipping under the churning water anxiety dumps over my head.

I'm getting ready to go to Africa and I just know some stuff is going to come up. Ask me what stuff it is - couldn't tell you - but every day I just feel a little like I'm in between different worlds rather than fully present.

Considering how much happened this summer, cancer being the biggest, but also fundraising all summer long, and then preparing physically, and now finally emotionally, for an enormous trip - it's no wonder some anxiety is coming up now.

It feels right, and it feels okay- and I don't like it. I don't like waking up in the middle of the night with a racing heart, or that wide-awake-adrenaline-sensation where my eyes pop open and stay open for a long time. It's uncomfortable, and who wants to be uncomfortable? No matter how well I know that 'uncomfortable' is where the juicy pulp of life really is, it doesn't make me happy to experience it!

I keep trying to find a way to say that my family didn't call me when I had cancer, or surgery- a few facebook comments but no phone calls, no one at the hospital, - and I'm scared to put that out there and have people judge my family, but the truth is that I'm still struggling with this experience and not knowing how to process it. It's the #1 topic with my therapist. How can I not speak it? So there it is. Generally, when someone is experiencing a crisis, the whole family swoops in with food, jokes, baby sitting, vigils, prayer- and I didn't get it. Getting invited to participate in family events now sort of leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I don't want to carry anger around, and I want to be understanding, but on the other side I do NOT get it, and I don't honestly give a shit about reasons. See- I'm very conflicted, and unclear, and unsure how to proceed in a healthy way with this, and honor my family and their experiences and journey, and respect everyone even if we aren't on the same path together- and I'm not there yet.


  1. Praying for a calmness and joy withing more than not! Love you. I hope Africa rejuvenates your soul. I know you've been insanely busy and I don't know how you do it. Keep up the good work.

  2. Kristina, we've briefly touched on this before - the family stuff. I know you'll find your way, but I hope you remember to honor yourself first. Sending love tonight...