The Occasional Hermit of Southside

Yesterday was a fun and challenging day, starting with teaching an early lesson then heading across town to play double rehearsals for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with the symphony (we’re playing the music as the movie plays above us). My crazy schedule hasn’t allowed me to play with the orchestra for a while, so it was an especially wonderful treat to sit on stage, surrounded by an amazing group of musicians and John Williams’ swirling, gorgeous (and hard as hell) music. I am so grateful to do what I love every single day.

Afterwards, I raced back to school to teach one more lesson and then headed home, planning to practice some and then go to see our Department’s opera production with Dan. My body had other ideas, though; I sat in the living room after dinner for a bit and started to feel off; at first I was just a bit queasy, but then I began to feel a full-on panic attack settle in. My chest felt tight, I felt like a caged animal in flight or fight mode, a tight ball of anxiety settling into my chest. These attacks had gone away, so it was disappointing to have them return, especially with such a vengeance.

Dan rubbed my shoulders for a bit and told me I needed some dog therapy. I took Marley upstairs to my cozy chair in our guest room, lit a basil candle, and put my noise cancelling headphones on with peaceful music playing, trying my best to breathe deeply and purposefully. My wonderful Chair sent some calming vocal music from the Renaissance period to help me…heavenly.

Shiva came to visit for a while and Marley lay at my feet, knowing as animals do that I needed them, and I began to soak up the peace of the room. I am a huge introvert and an INFJ personality type…sometimes I just have to become a hermit and disconnect from the world to recharge and find my center of gravity again. I’m so grateful that my husband, friends, and colleagues allow me the space to retreat as I work through dealing with the frustrating effects of unresolved stress.

I wish that I could snap my fingers and have the anxiety and worry go away forever, but I realize that I’ll have to do the hard work required to figure it all out before that happens- and that will take time. In the meantime, I love that our home has several retreat nooks, places that are quiet and peaceful both inside and outside. I am grateful for my Dan and our animals who bring us great joy (yes, even Shiva…most of the time…). And of course spring has come to Southside, my favorite time of year, filled with beauty and life. I’m counting on taking part in some of that excitement as I enjoy the green lushness and color that is enveloping the world- and me- in hope.

5 thoughts on “The Occasional Hermit of Southside

  1. I’m sorry too that your stress has resulted in the return of the panic attacks. I hope the warmer weather and the color and joy of Spring are a balm for your heart!

  2. I’m sorry that you have these bouts with anxiety and panic. I know you always try to be all things to all people, but, as you know, you must also be kind to yourself. I am grateful that Dan and your Fur Babies are so attentive to your needs. The photographs are, as always, stunning, and the musical video was very appropriate and healing. I feel the need to share that work, aptly fitting to the beginning of what many call Holy Week. No matter what a person’s spiritual beliefs may be, I think the music and the text from Psalm 51 is moving and fitting for all…it is just a matter of perception as to how others respond. I think that Allegri Miserere, and the Tenebrae services and sentiments are beautiful. Thank you so very much for the share.

    1. Thank you so much, Jan. I am working hard to learn to take care of me sometimes, too. Not easy… I seem to put everyone and everything else first. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the music, I loved it. Patrick sent it to me and it really helped at a time when I needed it. Sending love to you, my friend.

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