This isn't a post. Not really.
I haven't blogged or written a word in almost two weeks; that's never happened before. My creative/writing brain is off somewhere... it has fled to the hills, or wherever it goes, and I don't have it in me to write something creative. So this is just an update, of sorts.
I've gotten so many 'where are you' and 'are you okay?' emails, and I appreciate each and every one of them. Thank you, everyone, for all your heartfelt words of encouragement, advice and support. I will try to respond to all of them, but truth be told I'm not on the computer much these days.
I'm okay. Mostly. Or, at least, I will be.
I'm in a kind of purgatory, an emotional limbo. The anxiety is still there, and it sucks so much of my mental energy that I've scaled way back, simplified my life, focusing my energy on the thing that matters most: my family.
There is some kind of medical thing going on; the swollen lymph node in my neck that I wrote about in my last post is still there, and it is the source of most of my anxiety. I don't have answers, not yet, as to what it is. I'm getting lots of tests, talking to doctors and specialists. I'm not sticking my head in the sand and ignoring it, which would have been my old response to fear. I'm talking to people - my close friends and family - and I'm not isolating, even though I want to. Badly.
I don't get to go around things anymore; I don't hide in a bottle or curl up into a ball. I'm mostly grateful to be sober, to be present and feel my feelings, work through this instead of skirting around it. Whatever the outcome, I know this is a hurdle I'm meant to face; I'm learning, slowly, how to sit with fear, breathe and talk through it. Fear is forcing me to grow and stretch in ways I haven't had to do since I got sober. It hurts, but it's like the ache you feel after a tough workout - I feel a twinge of pride in the pain, knowing that I'm pushing myself towards something. A breakthrough, not a breakdown.
Day to day life hasn't changed much at all. I shuttle the kids back and forth to activities, make small talk on the sidelines of soccer fields and birthday parties. I play with the kids, help with homework, administer baths and read bedtime stories. I pack lunches and prepare dinners; I show up where I'm needed, and I try mightily to be fully present for my kids. Through all this an engine of fear churns madly in the background of my brain, and during the day I tuck it away, put my Mommy poker face on for the kids.
Then I tuck them into bed, the house grows quiet and the engine churns louder - it's clanging and banging is a familiar soundtrack, now.
I reach for other distractions - reading, exercising or sleeping, mostly. Two things I don't do? I don't drink or eat myself into oblivion. I have to keep reminding myself that this is progress.
I've been thinking a lot about control, about how badly I want the hard stuff to be solved - tied up in a neat little package with a pretty bow on top. So much of the challenges in the past few months have been completely outside my control. My Dad's sudden death in June, and my unexplained health problem. These things just are, and I can't think my way out of them. Anxiety is my brain's way of trying to control the uncontrollable.
I ride the emotional ups and downs. I sit with pain. I breathe through fear. I have gratitude for the peaceful moments. I hug my kids and my husband. I talk and talk and talk.
I try not to leap before grace.
I don't know how much I will be writing here in the coming days. That's outside of my control, too. I know I can't force words that don't want to come. I have faith they will come back, in their own time.
In the meantime, I wait.