I’ve got to come to terms with the fact that I will be afraid every time. The fear is always there. It is not an omen, not a mark on the map telling me to go another way. It is just a faulty compass; the instruments, not the stars.
Things I fear: Phone calls, grocery store check out lines, drop-off and pick-up, requiring assistance of any kind, hitting send, lunch, success, leaving the laundry in the washer too long, failure, burning down the house, observation, medicine, all the things my children will inevitably think and feel about their childhood, running out of gas, parties, invitations, knocking on my door, no one ever inviting me to anything or knocking on my door, vine borers, my husband’s untimely death, stuff stuck to the bottom of my feet, holidays, 4 o’clock, alcoholism, the word publish.
The word for the day is this:
Do not reinvent the wheel.
Do not make it harder than it is.
You are doing just fine, little zealot.
Burn right there.
Today is a doctor day. A day I march boldly into the oddly lit waiting room and arrange the chairs and magazines as a service to all the other psychiatric patients. I have done this with great love in my heart ever since the day a dear man brought his daughter in, and with such confidence, comfort, and familiarity, reached up to a high shelf to turn on a lamp that had always been switched off. I over-thanked him, but he seemed to understand the impact of a small change in such an important place.
I will carry my ownership of the space right in to the office, on to the black leather couch, where I will, without wavering, tell my doctor I am discontinuing another medication. She will push me, but I will not not be moved.
I confess that I am nervous about this one, an anti-anxiety medication, because it is probably helping with irritability and depression, and the withdrawal is known to be brutal, but it is requiring me to sleep 10-12 hours a day and feel like I’ve never had enough (that’s from the moment the baby falls asleep at night, until the minute she insists I get out of bed in the morning, plus her afternoon nap). AAAAAND it made me eat a cookie sheet full of nachos. Twice.
Now, I am the first to say, “You are responsible for your own choices,” but I am telling you, this medication has caused more cravings and insatiable hunger than anything I have ever experienced before in my life. It is worse than pregnancy, worse than mania. It feels like the urge to binge in emotional eating, but without the emotion. I am constantly white knuckling it through overwhelming distraction and anxiety about FOOD. As a woman with a history of morbid obesity, a present of need for nutritional therapy for pain and mental health management, and future of required weight control for spinal stability, food is the very last thing I need haunting me.
A medication that consumes all of the time and energy I have to write, exercise, bathe, and engage in conscious solitude, while crowding my waking hours with thoughts of inhaling bricks of cheese and bars of chocolate, spending every ounce of my self-control (which I desperately need to keep my tongue in check while raising three small children) makes me really anxious. Therefore, I have decided I would no longer like to take it to combat anxiety.
But nachos taste good.
A raging wall of water ripped houses off their foundations and tossed them whole, all the pie plates and Fritos, sliced watermelons, Pack-n-Plays, bathing suits and dominos out into the river. It is easiest to make it sound like a rained out picnic, a holiday gone wrong. It is easiest to go touring the waterline, measure our height against the muddy marker on the bent over tree, and not think about a body pressed hard against it by the current, dumped out of a bed while sleeping. It is easiest not to think about the babies.
Maybe stick to the Instagram feeds and the downtown floods that only kill money and cars.
Maybe just pretty pictures of clouds.