This blog is not FDA approved
I’ve been ok lately, really. But it starts when I get tired. Just a little bit. I can feel it coming on like a cold at first. Then it will make the mad spread until I am riddled and wracked and laying on the bathroom floor, the cold tile on my cheek. With worry. Worry is my disease.
Worry spreads. Did you know that? For someone like me, so susceptible and without immunity, worry is airborne. It comes off people like waves, embedded in news stories and sensational headlines. By mothers expressing concern about their children, by studies and statistics, by bizarre accounts and coincidences. Worry is everywhere, and there is no sanitizer or vaccine that protects me.
I can usually fend it off. But then I get just a little bit tired, and soon nothing escapes my notice. My vision both narrows and sharpens; I can see nothing but harm in my way. I start to see patterns, and I know I can control things if I just think about them hard enough. Believing with all my might that if I spot the signs early enough I can change the course, fly backwards around the earth and save everyone. Knowing with certainty that disaster is waiting for me at every turn. I prepare. I brace myself.
I show no symptoms. You can’t see them, unless you watch closely and see my hands shake. Unless you notice the dark circles under my eyes, and notice that I am too relaxed after a drink or seeking comfort in the pantry. You might notice that I am gaining weight, or that I pulled over to the side of the road because I couldn’t breathe. You might think I am being rude when I abruptly change a conversation or disappear out of a room, but I can’t face that conversation you’re having. My feelings are boiling over into tears or rage. You might be frustrated I can’t make decisions or be assertive. You will assume I am lazy when I quit things, not knowing that it’s because I’ve lost my confidence, worried I am not good enough. You won’t know though, so you will assume that I am all kinds of crazy things.
You won’t notice until I actually make myself physically sick, when I have been up and at alert for so long that I am actually sick, and then you’ll be glad when the doctors have something real to treat. They won’t ask why I am in urgent care in the middle of the night with an ear infection that I already have medication for. Or why I have had mastitis four times in three months and need surgery to fix it. Why I took my sweet babies to the doctor more than the park, and wept openly relief every time they told me my healthy, healthy boys were ok. Why I never touched them in those first months without the benefit of Purell, or why my hands were cracked and raw from washing them. Why I can’t walk on my feet after picking the skin.
You’ll tell me I need to relax, that I should quit worrying, that everything is fine. But everything is not, because I can’t stop the worry. The doctors will tell me to relax, not understanding that I can’t relax any more than a cancer patient can root out their tumor with sheer force of will. Sometimes they will give me pills, and sometimes this is the kindest thing. I will contemplate that for ages, worried about the side effects, hating that I can’t just quit like they said.
Eventually it peaks. Sometimes sleep comes in chemical form, and I start to recover. Or something jars my vision and the patterns fade into the background. I start to gather my strength again. I tuck away the fact that I have wasted so much of my precious life at this. I get to the hard job of being me every day, I do it. I do it. But every now and again I get a little bit tired.