Friends, how are you? How are you in the midst of a global pandemic? How are you in the loneliness of social distancing? How are you in the time of canceled plans, seasons, games, and long-anticipated vacations? How are you in the uncertainty of…everything? How are you in the fear for your own life, or the lives of those you love? How are you?
I would like to talk specifically to those of you like me. Those of you for whom the phrase “don’t panic” rolls off your back like water on a duck. It doesn’t sink in, because panic is the water you’re swimming in. It’s your norm.
I have an anxiety disorder. It is, according to Mayo Clinic, “a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to …
Brave. Not a word I would have used to describe my oldest daughter only six months ago. With a mental disposition much like me, I feared she would follow in my anxiety-laced footsteps. Her fear made me fearful. My nerves made her nervous. We’re a sometimes-challenging duo, her and I.
You see, I don’t want her to be like me. I want her to run through the sprinklers of life instead of skirting the edges. I want her to be Ria. I want her to live with less fear, but I know she’ll never be completely free of anxiety’s bonds. Or will she? Will she break free of the walls within own mind…and mine? …
Oh my goodness. The kite thing. Never did I think I would find someone else who shared this idiotic phobia with me. That someone else is my daughter.
I watched her face as her new Hello Kitty kite began to take flight, lifted by a rare gentle Kansas breeze. As it began to ascend, her brow furrowed, and a panicked look replaced her smile.
“I don’t want it to go too high mommy.”
I knew that look. And I knew that feeling. “Is it because it makes you nervous when it starts going up real high?”
She shook her head up and down, and I reassured her, “I know exactly how you feel.”
This didn’t seem to surprise her at all. After all, I get her. Just like my dad got me. She has no idea how precious this bond …
Scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, I came across a video several friends had shared. They used words like “awesome, cute and joyful” to describe it, with no warning that it would make me cry fat, rolling-down-cheek tears. But how could they have known? Rarely do I know when something will stick me between the ribs, grasp my heart and force me to pay attention to some God-ordained message. This morning, sitting in my rectangular living room at the edge of my rectangular state, I was opened up wide, my tightly-secured gates blown from the hinges. And out they ran. My white-eyed wild emotions, penned up for too long.
I’ve been very open in …
God rest my father’s soul. He always told me he would disown me if I ever drank decaf coffee, had a fake Christmas tree, or drank Dr. Pepper. (He said it was for “liberal college weenies.”) He was totally kidding (except maybe not about the Christmas tree), but I have to admit I felt disloyal to my family when I decided to quit my caffeine habit a month ago. When my family gets together (on both father and mother’s side), there’s a steady stream of coffee to be found nearby (and beer if you’re with the right crowd). But my health has been dismal for the past six months, and I was desperate to try nearly…anything.
My anxiety was derailing my already …
Oh. My. God. OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!
My hands were shaking and my heart bulging from every artery when I saw what was on the screen. A picture of me. Well, half of me. From the waist down. Pants around my ankles. Sitting on the toilet. On Instagram.
Did it post? Did it post? I didn’t know. My phone was frozen. I clicked, nothing would work. I was unable to delete, rewind, go back. My life was ruined. Ruined.
“I take your picture Mommy! Yaaaaay! I did it! Yaaaay! You like it?” My round-faced toddler hovered at my feet, right near where my pants were not yet pulled up. “I take your picture Mommy! I did it! See?”
I had to move to Mexico. I have to delete the Internet. All …