And So…

you know that dream where you are chased, but your legs feel thick and won’t move?

or how about the one where you need to scream because either you or someone else is in danger, but nothing but some forced air comes out?

what about the one where you forgot something, lost something, need something and it is nowhere…impossible to grasp?

I have these dreams all the time.

But worse?  I feel like this during my days.  During my waking moments.

I didn’t know how to talk about this.  I just didn’t know what to say.

But it’s been on my heart.   So I wanted to write about it.

It has been “right behind my eyes” as my friend, Adrienne, would say.  So I HAD to write about it.

But I have been struggling.  Then I read this by my wonderful friend, Nichole.  She describes this feeling as “trying to hold tightly to water.”  YES.

And I read this, by Tiffany.  She describes the overwhelming anxiety of what “could” happen as time passes.  YES.

These posts that these women have written are the tip of the iceberg for me.

I toss and turn at night with feelings and images of me not keeping up.

During the day I grasp at time.  I try to halt it.

Where is the time going?  It’s such a cliche question, but it is one that plagues me.

Time takes things and people away.

I am told that time heals all wounds, but I don’t believe it.

I have wounds that are far from healed.

Time?  Is a thief.  Time steals people from me.

Time took my father-in-law.  It took my grandmother.  It is taking my grandpa.

Time is taking my baby and all his cuddles and giggles.

It will take my parents and my husband some day.

Time is taking my friends.  While I struggle to keep all things around me in orbit, my friends have slowly moved away.  They are still with each other, but apart from me.

I am angry at them.  But really it’s my own fault.  But I am tired of everything being “my own fault”.

My overworked self.  My fault.

Not spending enough time with Eddie.  My fault.

Not being the wife I could be in SO many areas.  My fault.

Not having time to respond to emails or comments or people I love.  My fault.

Everything is from choices I made.

I am struggling to hold water.  Water that I chose to try to grasp.

Everything is slipping away from me because you can’t hold water unless you have a vessel.  And I am not sure if I ever had a vessel.

Sounds like the ramblings of a crazy woman?  Yeah, I think so too.

But here is the catch.  I understand that everyone goes through this.  I have a logically sound mind that gets all that.  But I can’t help not FEELING the logic.

I know the logic.  I can’t feel the logic.

This is where I feel my therapy sometimes fails me.  I can nod along and understand that I need to say no to things, I need to realize everyone goes through this, and I need to not worry about things I can’t control.  I get it and feel ok about it while I am sitting there in that chair.

But the very next day?  The fear and terror and dreamlike feelings come flooding back.

The feeling that everything is on the precipice of falling apart.

The want to hold my little boy tightly in this minute–suspended forever in time.

The closeness of being young and healthy with my husband–never changing.

Because of this overwhelming anxiety, I am in a constant state of annoyed.  I isolate myself from everything.  It’s not fair to my colleagues or my students.  It’s not fair to my friends.  It’s not fair to my family.  It’s not fair to me.

I KNOW THIS.

So how do I overcome it?  What do I do?

The anxiety was there before the postpartum depression, but it has gotten worse.

I don’t just worry about deadlines and failing students anymore.

I worry about death.  I worry about the time slipping away.  I worry about something happening to someone I love.

Because as I get older?  All that stuff becomes much more plausible and real.

I have lost people.  It happens.  And as we get older it happens more.

I don’t want it to, though.  I don’t feel like I can handle it.

And so I am anxious.

And so I get depressed.

And so…

Do I hit publish on this?  If you are reading this, I guess I did.

Please don’t forget about all the discounts that are available on my Top Ten post from this week. Since I am hitting publish on this train wreck of a post, I may as well remind you that the ladies who are offering the discounts are super awesome and are a great source for holiday shopping!  And the discounts?  Won’t last forever!  They expire next week!  So go support handmade goods!

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Ok, can I just say? You have put words to my feelings in a way that I have been unable to. I have the *exact* same feeling. And it sucks. There are some days (that I find annoyingly close to a certain hormonal time…) that it is almost unbearable. I just have this nebulous fear and dread about, well, the passage of time.

    I know just what you mean about things becoming more plausible. And worrying about loss. And about your baby growing up (mine will be *5* in 2 months. Not sure when that happened…). There are some days I just want to curl up in bed and just cry. Or sleep. Or something that keeps me from having to deal with the pain.

    Also? It makes a big impact on me to know that it’s not just me. I’m not crazy. Or if I am? It’s a kind of crazy other people get. Which makes it better. 🙂 If I come up with a solution? I promise I’ll share.

    • We are not crazy. I am convinced of this after seeing that everyone else suffers from this too. It’s just that time is so fleeting. And one minute you have the world, and the very next time sweeps something away. I have to remember that time also gives. It gave us Eddie, after all 🙂

  2. I understand the feelings that you (and Nichole and Tiffany) are expressing or trying to express. As someone who lives with an anxiety disorder, I also logically understand and accept all of these things, but my mind’s feelings do everything possible to run the other way from them.

    These are the best days of my life, no matter what trials and tribulations may have been or will be thrown at me. I do what I can to enjoy them, and try not to regret any decision I make.

    This is why, despite increasing anxiety over our upcoming NY trip for Thanksgiving, that I again forced my socially inept self and my daughter to an unfamiliar playground for a playdate with some of her classmates. It was good for both of us.

    I think my point is that making the decision is the hardest part. Whether it’s to add or subtract something from life, we have to make the decision to accept the change, at least for now. We cannot do it all, and must make choices to keep us from regretting decisions or having loved ones slip away whether by age or death. It’s always one step and one day at a time.

    • Erin you are so right. We have to make the decision to accept that change is going to happen. It just is. We can’t always regret things or worry about things. We have to live in RIGHT NOW. I was getting so good at that…but I let it slip away. Thank you for the reminder, my friend.

  3. Oh sweetie! It hurts my heart that you are feeling this way. I don’t have any wonderful advice except know that people are loved as much as the love they give. And you are loved A LOT!

    • And I love those people who love me a lot. I feel extremely lucky to have friends like you, my friend. EXTREMELY lucky!!

  4. katie, you are so brave for being vulnerable. It’s easier to hide in our own pain sometimes than to open ourselves up for help and potential regret.
    anxiety is scary. been there. especially when it gets so bad it feels like the night may just swallow you whole. Can you see a psychiatrist for some anti anxiety meds while you figure out a long term plan?
    email me if i can help in any way. love you so much. you are not alone!!!

    • Grace, I want you to know I appreciate you so very much. Yes, I sometimes forget my own advice to people to find the good, and instead I see only bleakness and darkness. It’s friends like you who remind me that there is a way out of the dark. Thank you for always being there for me!

  5. I feel the same way that you do at times and I think that others do as well. There simply is not enough time to do all the things that we want to do and it’s hard.

    The best part though is that you’re addressing the anxiety and trying to deal with it through therapy.

    Just remember that you have a large circle of friends and an even closer circle of family that will always be there for you.

    • you are so right. Isn’t it funny how I KNOW that I have support, but there still come times when I need to call on it…to hear/read it? Thank you for being one of those people.

  6. I also have [and have had] that crippling anxiety and such horrific post partum depression that I am amazed, honestly amazed, that I am here now. It was awful.

    It’s gotten less awful.

    I’ve gotten better at recognizing the anxiety rearing it’s stupid, all encompassing head, and I know that I need to immediately deal with it. Whether it’s hiding or telling someone [it amazes me that people are so giving – strangers, family, everyone], I do it.

    People understand. You won’t win every day. But it does get better.

    • Just putting it out there and getting it out has brought on so much support…so many people to remind me that it’s not all darkness…there is lots of light too. thank you for being one of those people.

  7. Wish we could go for coffee and I could listen. I’m so sorry for what you are going through.

    • wish we could too. I wish I had more local friends…and more time…to just go out for coffee with a friend.

  8. This is amazing and right on! I have been dealing with the same negative feelings! I think we as moms go through these feelings so that we can draw closer to God and lean on him through our trials! You have a way with words, a wonderful gift!

    • you are very right. we go through the darkness to appreciate the light even more. Once I am out and on the other side, I try to see the darkness as a blessing. But while in the darkness? It’s so hard to even find the strength to make it to the light.

  9. I feel the same way, only I haven’t been as eloquent about expressing it. You are taking a step in the right direction by seeking therapy. If you aren’t connecting or feeling “heard” with this therapist, maybe it’s time to find a new one?

    • I do like my therapist, it’s just that she is extremely busy and I only get in about once a month. It’s really not enough. I tend to only get caught when I’m feeling “good”, ya know? And reflecting on the bad. It’s weird, but I would like to have therapy when I am stuck in a funk, ya know?

  10. Oh, Friend! I am so sad to know you are struggling so often. At least take a minute to celebrate the no you gave yourself next semester by quitting job #2. Love you and miss you and can’t wait to see you over thanksgiving weekend.

    • Well, I didn’t quit, but yes, I have off until next fall. I do love job #2…it’s just that I love my family more and have to make the choices. I can’t wait to see you either. Sometimes I wish more than anything that we could just bust out for coffee together. Love you.

  11. It so hard when we feel like we are failing at our own standards. There is so much pressure to be the “It Mom” who’s doing it all in stilettos and Dior sunglasses. But the truth is we all go through this. Some of us often. And that’s okay. You did a graet job with this post!((hugs))

    • thank you so much. It is true. I very much suffer from wanting to be and do it all…and do it perfectly. For some reason, I get obsessed with doing it all wonderfully…and that is just not possible! at least not all of the time!

  12. Oh, what a post that you’ve been needing to write, I think. You are so brave to put this out there, and I think that by doing that you will see many, MANY others who feel like you do. Time does seem to be evil at times, but I also try and look at time as a gift we are only allowed to unwrap a few minutes at a time. It helps me be more mindful of the things that are going on right now, things that I can touch or feel. Keeps me from mindlessly paying bills when I could be wathing my kids play outside. Keeps me listening when my son goes on and on, when I could be tuning out and making a grocery list in my head.

    This won’t help, I know. But I am so very proud of you for posting this, and please, please listen to your commenters and their ideas. Something just may click with you. Sending you **hugs** tonight.

    • This DID help. It’s true. Time sends us many gifts as well as taking things. It’s the whole close a door, open a door theory. And yes, I am listening to my commenters…YOU 🙂

  13. I am so sorry you have these stifling out of control feelings. John Lennon had it right, didn’t he? “Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans.” I don’t know what to tell you as someone who has never felt this way… and given the other comments here, I’m guessing that’s pretty rare. But just know that every tomorrow is a clean page. A page that you can write on what you want and make it look the way you want. Feel like you didn’t hold your boy enough today? Make up for it tomorrow. Weren’t as loving to your husband today as you should have been? Be attentive to what he says and what he needs tomorrow. And while our tomorrows are never guaranteed… more than likely, tomorrow will arrive without any pomp and circumstance and you can do what you wanted to today. But don’t feel guilty and don’t feel like you’re catching up. You’re not. You’re just making adjustments to the things that you weren’t thrilled about today. And don’t try to do it all at once. It’ll just make it worse. Take small steps. You’ll get there. You are the most perfect version of you there has ever been and ever will be. No one is you better than you are, so just make the adjustments you want and let the rest take care of itself.

    HM

    • You have said it all so wonderfully. I love this: “no one is you better than you are”. so true. so very true.

  14. I know exactly how you feel! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  15. Oh honey, I grasped at the first few sentences because they sounded like they came from my very own head. I cried at the end for me, for you, for every soul who has to face this demon.
    I want to tell you some magical way to erase this feeling. I want to tell you that I can fix you. I want to tell you that by eating Lucky Charms you will find peace (well you will for like the 20 seconds it takes you to scarf down that bowl)….but I don’t have the answer for you.
    Just know my friend, that we, that I am here for you. Cry. Scream. Moan. Punch. I’ll be here. You know that. I hope you know that.
    You can do this. You are strong. You are beautiful and you have a world of incredible women behind you. You have Eddie and his adorable face and Cort…I’d insert some sappy line about Cort but I don’t want my husband to be jealous.
    I love you my friend and I pray for healing to come your way.
    I’m an email and a tweet away. Love you.

    • Oh friend. I can always count on you to know what to say to my broken heart. It’s true. Our boys get us through these tough times. So do our friends. I am lucky to have amazing boys and amazing friends. I love you, you know.

  16. Katie,

    I don’t even know where to begin. I understand this feeling…maybe not completely, but I do understand grasping water and trying to hold on and not wanting another second to pass. I was in tears by the end of this, because I too, don’t want another second to go by. I want this moment to be forever; with my wonderful husband and our amazing son. Just like this, forever. But the thought of forever also scares me. I do look forward to see Christopher grow and change and learn new things and experience new things, but what does that mean for me? Maybe that is selfish, but that means I am getting older. I have a ginormous fear of death that I am trying to cope with. My parents are getting older, my grandparents older and older. I am almost in denial. They are still 60 something, but in reality they could die tomorrow. Just try to keep your chin up and cherish these precious moments with your husband and Eddie. If you worry too much about the possibilities of tomorrow, you will forget the today’s. That is scary. I am always here if you need to talk.

    Rocky Mountain Mama

    • I meant to say that in my head my grandparents are still only 60 something, but in reality they are 80 and could die tomorrow.

      • I am finding that we are not alone in our fears, friend. There is so much to be afraid of, and once we let it in, and let it fester? It starts to kill us from the inside out. All these comments, all this support…it has helped me to realize that I have to STOP dwelling in the fear. I have to STOP letting it be in charge. I am so lucky to have amazing women like you in my corner. Thank you, my friend. Thank you.

  17. Like I told Nichole, I’m working on a machine that’ll stop time. If I ever perfect it, I’ll trade ya one for one of your pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

    Crazy little thing, this life, huh? Thankfully, it’s filled with awesome people and moments. It’s hard grasping for water but it’s worth the effort.

    • Yes, hook a girl UP when you get that time stopping machine, will ya? There are TONS of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins in it for you if you do. And they are YUM!

      After wallowing in the dark, I decided to take a peek at the light. You know what? You were right. All the water grasping? Totally worth it.

  18. Oh darlin’…

    I have no words of comfort or support that other wonderful friends or qualified people have told you.

    But I’ll share this with you.

    I read someone once you said, “Being a parent is like have a hostage to the world.” Every potential hurt, wrong-doing or tragedy manifest in perfect clarity in your mind once you have a child, because the fear of those things for our children in a million times stronger than they are for ourselves.

    I resonated with that statement, because it was true. I’ve always had low-grade anxiety, I think it comes from having a vivid imagination. But once I had my son it went through the roof, and I think that sums up why.

    And it was somehow comforting to realize that every parent feels that way.

    And when all the fears for my son, my step-kids, my husband, my friends, my family, swirl around me and threaten to keep me from seeing anything positive or joyous, I just remind myself how many other people feel exactly like I do, and how the world keeps turning, and people keep functioning, despite those same fears and anxieties.

    It doesn’t make it go away, it just keeps me from feeling alone.

    And if I’m not here all alone, I can keep my feet going.

    And some days…that’s enough.

    Love you, wonderful lady.

    • Oh friend. First of all…look how eloquent you can be even when ill. I love you for that. Secondly, you are right…so many people go through it all and SURVIVE and can actually be HAPPY every single second. I can keep my feet going too, friend.

      Thank you. Thank you for loving me even when things are all dark and scary.

  19. You took the words right out of my mouth. Nice to know you aren’t alone, right? Hang in there momma!

  20. Great post!! Major kudos to you for feeling, no being brave enough to write about it. I know all too well how you feel. It is something I have struggled with for a very long time. There is a strange comfort in knowing that I am not the only person out there feels this way. Thank you for being strong enough to write about it.

    • thank YOU for coming to read about my feelings. It was hard to decide to put it out there, but anxiety is something that consumes me if I let it. I don’t want that to be the case in 2011, but I am only cautiously optimistic. this is something I have also struggled with for a very long time. There is always a friend over here if you need one!!!

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