A Frozen Summer and Writing Therapy

Shiva in a rare sweet mood…

I had a great talk with my therapist a few days ago. I told her that I was yet again in what I can only describe as a frozen place where my anxiety is so intense that even the most mundane tasks feel monumental. I have withdrawn from just about everyone and everything and I feel terribly about it. It is totally a result of self-preservation, even though I realize that engaging with my friends (not just on social media or text) would be so good for me. I guess the truth is that I just don’t have anything left to give to people right now; my battery is depleted and I can’t seem to find a way to get it recharged. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes even the thought of having to interact with people causes ripples of anxiety.

Morning in Southside

There are just a lot of things going on in my life and in the lives of people I love right now. I am an unapologetic worry wart like my mother before me…no matter how hard I try not to be like her in that regard. When there is absolutely nothing to worry about, I project what I should be worrying about in the future. It is exhausting.

I shared with my therapist that I was also frozen when it came to writing, a habit that I love and that is truly therapeutic for me. She suggested that I just write for me, even if I never share it, as it will help me to process everything, published or not. So, here I go. It may turn out to be verbal diarrhea (as my mom would’ve said), but I think I will share this, as I promised myself from my first blog post that I would write honestly about my life in the hopes that it might help even one person going through something similar.

My BFF Diane, the cancer ninja.

First of all, my best friend just had breast cancer surgery for the second time (her third battle with cancer). I flew to Lincoln, Nebraska, to be with her and help her before and after the surgery, grateful that I was able to be there as she went through such a scary and stressful time. I have been so worried about her. She is doing well, still dealing with pain and fatigue, but she is incredibly strong and determined to beat this awful disease. We had some wonderful talks, along with lots of laughter and tears, too (and she got me hooked on the show Schitt’s Creek and I didn’t realize how badly I needed this show in my life!). The hardest part was leaving her to head home when I knew she still needed me there. It was just awful pulling away from her house as I headed to the airport.

Dan having an Electroencephalogram.

Another huge worry is about my sweet Dan. Since he had Covid when the virus first began circulating around the country in 2020 he has dealt with long-haul symptoms, including some cognitive issues. He is involved in a study at UAB and is having several tests run that his neurologist has requested, including testing for Alzheimer’s indicators (his father had Alzheimer’s). I also discovered that he has been having mild seizures/events about once a month or so and I recently witnessed one as he was talking on the phone. It really scared me to see him suddenly change, having obvious difficulty finding words. It lasted about ten minutes and then he was back to normal. I was thankful that the neurologist was also able to witness the episode in their telehealth meeting.

Dan and Marley- morning snuggles.

Dan is one of the most kind and generous men I have ever known and I love him with all of my heart. The thought of what might happen cognitively in the future is deeply sad (for either of us- Alzheimer’s is in my family, too). I do want to be clear that Dan is fine right now. He has some forgetfulness (so do I…) and these occasional episodes where he says his brain goes “sideways”, but he is sharp as a tack and active, teaching yoga at the Downtown YMCA and running a very successful AirBnB with our guesthouse, as well as working on our home and yard every single day. He is still his gentle, loving, self, always making me feel cherished. No matter what the future brings, I will make sure he always knows that he is loved.

The worry list continues; along with Dan and Diane, another friend is having serious health issues. I serve on the board of my professional association and one of our board members, a truly good and kind man who I have served with for six years, passed away of pancreatic cancer a few days ago, leaving behind a wife and two young sons. Oh, and the pandemic seems like it will never end and the evening news makes my brain explode. If you have stuck with me throughout this diatribe, first of all- thank you- and remember that I warned you about the possibility of verbal diarrhea…Boy, now that was truth in advertising.

A little sunshine

As always, writing all of this out was cathartic. This is not intended to be a pity party, no matter how much it may seem otherwise; I just needed to write it out in all of its stream-of-conscious, awkward, glory as a way of releasing the worry- or at least working on it. I also know that I’m not alone- everyone is struggling during these strange and difficult times and we’re all doing the best we can based on where we are in our lives.

All I know to do is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’ll keep working on myself, fighting the endless anxiety loop that I seem to be trapped in. Anxiety is such a waste of energy…but I know it holds lessons for me, too.

3 thoughts on “A Frozen Summer and Writing Therapy

  1. It can be helpful to see all that’s going on, each one a major source of stress and concern, and listing them all here can help you see what you’re experiencing. I’m autistic, and when things get too much, I experience overload and go into shutdown. Well, neurotypicals can experience overload and shutdown, too. It’s a way to cocoon yourself to recover and repair from the stress, a signal for providing care and compassion for yourself, when you’re able. And when you’re not able, even the shutdown serves a purpose of letting your body and neurology recover from the stress.

  2. Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – LaoTzu

    Hugs to you and prayers for all…

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