I had the first anxiety attack of my life the day before Mike’s memorial service. It was a little scary – heart racing, gulping for air, talking really fast, feeling completely out of control. I’ve had two more attacks since then, and I thank the universe (and my doctor) for Xanax.

Today is not a good day, so far, even with the aid of Xanax. My stomach has tied itself in knots and tears are always close to falling. I’m feeling anxious and overwhelmed about my financial situation, about finding a new apartment and moving, and about how I’m going to just continue to handle a job plus all this other stuff while I’m grieving.

I’ve never been particularly prone to either anxiety or depression, but both always seem to be lurking in the shadows these days, waiting to pounce on me when I least expect it. I used to be good at rolling with life’s changes and maintaining a positive attitude even when things got rough, so much so that friends used to teasingly call me Polyanna. But what I’m dealing with now is very heavy, very dark stuff… and I can’t Polyanna my way through it. What I need to do, I know, is let myself sit in that dark place, sit with the pain and the fear until it starts to shift and transform. But I don’t know how to do that while still continuing to function at my job, plan for a move, and be available for my stepkids.

When Mike went to dark places, I did my best to be a beacon of light to help him find his way back out. I stayed positive, reassuring him, giving him a safe space to deal with his darkness. There’s a line from the song that was sung at our wedding (Sarah McLachlan’s “Answer”) that speaks to this: “I will hold the balance when you can’t look down.” That was our promise to each other, along with another McLachlan lyric, “and when I fall you offer me a softer place to land,” which I referenced in my vows. But in the end, no matter how much I loved him, I couldn’t hold the balance for him any longer and he fell far beyond my reach. I try to comfort myself with the knowledge that he found a soft place, a peaceful place for his final landing.

And now here I am, walking a tightrope over a chasm of despair, without my other half to hold the balance for me. It’s enough to give even Pollyanna anxiety attacks.


~ by hourbeforedawn on April 19, 2010.

3 Responses to “Anxiety”

  1. Celexa, yoga, writing, swimming, talking with good girlfriends, meditation….I’ve used all of these at different times and in different combinations to deal with the incredible anxiety brought on by traumatic loss. I hope you will be extra, extra kind to yourself, reach out for help, and move as slowly as you can through this difficult, difficult time. You are a beautiful writer. Keep on sharing and writing.

  2. Dear Lira, I have no words to comfort you except to pray for guidance and peace of mind. God hears our prayers.
    Michael is still with us, we just can’t see him. I continue to ask for his help also. He knows our needs. God bless you!

  3. You are surrounded by others who can help hold the balance for you. Know this…

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