I’ve been meaning to post for a while about my low point at the beginning of the summer. Somewhere there is something raw I wrote at the time that I was going to use, but I’ve had to admit defeat in finding it. Then I think I’ve been subconciously waiting for the right time, to find the perfect words. But tonight I feel I just want to have written a satisfactory description and got it over with.
My anxiety is patchy, it doesn’t cover all of my life. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true, when it’s really bad it leeches into other areas and starts to discolour them, but I’m putting that to one side for now. Even during an anxious period there are certain things, I can immerse myself in and do just fine, particularly mundane things, where you don’t have to think, like buying groceries and doing things with the children, then there isn’t time to think, you just do.
It’s dealing with the outside adult world that I struggle. Answering phone calls, opening letters, reading emails. It’s hard to explain why or what it feels like. Part of it is just not feeling able to cope with sorting things out. That all my energy is being taken up with the mammoth task of daily routines faced by a household with two small children and I can’t do this right now. Initially I think I’ll do that later. But the later never comes and the undone things stack up. Then they meld together and morph into a Big Thing.
So I avoid it, I try not to admit to the undone things piling up, but all the while they grow out of all proportion in my mind. And I fear exposure, so I can’t open an email or answer a phone call because I dread communicating with someone that I’m letting down by my avoidence. Often my failure is purely imagined and they are completely unaware. But if they actually do need to get it contact then they start phoning more, send chasing emails and the whole things spirals out of control.
Not answering the phone is easy when you’re alone in the house. And I have trained my kids that it’s ok too. But husbands are harder to train. Sometimes you can be conveniently up to your elbows in baking or in the bathroom and they take a message. But they start to notice if they are constantly fielding phone calls for you and start trying to get you to deal with it, unaware of the chasm that opens up inside you when the phone rings.
So that is how I found myself running in panic into the garden and hiding by the dustbins one evening when we were all in and the phone rang whilst I was cooking tea. And my confused husband found me shaking and snotty with tears, ashamed and hiding. And he gave me a big hug and I cried into his shoulder. And I was so afraid of what was happening to me, I felt like I was going properly crazy and had no idea of where it would end up. I think that it was later that day, after the children were in bed, that he made me promise to go to the doctors.
I know that going to the bottom of the garden to avoid a phone call is pretty small fry when it comes to the problems that people face everyday. I try and appreciate that I have come off fairly lightly, I really do. But the reason that feeling that way is such a problem is that it’s not logical and it cannot be reasoned with and argued away and it looms large over your whole life overshadowing everything, it robs you of perspective and twists your guts and shits of your method of communicating, isolating you from friends and family.
Anyway, that was my attempt at describing how I felt at my worst. Hopefully it will help me stay clear of that in the future.