Monday, July 30, 2012
.....FROM PANIC TO PEACE
I found a greeting card in a shop that says, "You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you." ~Vandana Shiva
I should have bought it for myself, but that would have been a bit odd sending myself a card. I read it and re-read it and still didn't feel any better. I still feel overwhelmed and consumed and strangled and wonder if Atlas too was also strangling with chaos and drama surrounding him as well.
Yesterday, I suffered one of the worse panic attacks I have had, or at least in the top three. I will spare you the details for they matter only to me, but suffice it to say it was like wondering through Hell. It is a place at once dark and hot and then cold. I trembled and sat on the edge of my bed for fear of falling or dying or ending up chewed and devoured by the viciousness of it all.
My precious golden lab knew instantly. Kelsie, curled up as tight as she could next to me with her head on my leg and never left my side. I must have rubbed her raw in one spot on her back, as I tried and tried to focus on the single strands of hair on her side and remember to inhale for fear if I didn't I would die. I buried my face into her neck and cried like a baby. I had taken medication at the onset and had only to wait until they took effect, but the time in between found me breathless, totally unable to inhale deeply ~ totally lost in a wilderness where everything was ugly and hateful and dark and lonely. It is a feeling like none other. Then once it passes, you are exhausted, spent, and begin to live in fear of another attack that comes out of no where with no yellow warning light.
I try to think that perhaps I have been gifted with these episodes, for lack of a better word, so that I can join hands in a most unique way with the warriors that return from combat to face an enemy that for them still lives around every corner, an enemy called PTSD. A place they fear, dread, and want to avoid at all costs, because it is horrific. They look at me differently when I describe to them that I know how they feel and the dread and horror that lurks always nearby. I am not just providing lipservice as so many do. I get it. I feel it. I know it.
What causes mine you might be wondering. The answer is simple, I don't know. Stress and anxiety and a complete lack of peace in my life perhaps. Perhaps reliving the terrors of war with warriors and seeing the physical and mental damage they endure. Perhaps something in my childhood. Perhaps but who knows. Sometimes there is so much chaos and drama dropped in my life I can barely breathe. The more I try to escape it, the more it rains on me. I feel as if I am in quicksand going deeper and deeper.
As Stephen King says of authors and writers, "It is your job to say what you see, and then get on with your story." So for today this is my story.
Over the weekend a dear friend found his 52 year old son dead in his bed in the morning. Another friend's mother died of pancreatic cancer. I lost a dear warrior I have cherished for years. Chaos and fear surrounded a MST (Military Sexual Trauma) survivor in my charge. I felt lost and helpless. I wanted to run, to hide, to seek refuge from everything. I longed for the mountains of Colorado and the mesas and pueblos of New Mexico. I longed for a cool mountain stream where there are yellow and bright pink wildflowers growing near cool green moss and the sound of the water rushing over river rocks where peace is found. I closed my eyes and tried to visualize this place, but found tears washing the images away.
Every story comes out of somewhere. We all have them. Some are beautiful like that of my best friend in New York City on her way to spend two weeks on the rivers in Russia. And then some are astonishing in the ugliness of the moment. A new friend just wrote me that only I can write my happy ending. I know she is right. Right now I just don't know how.
I try over and over and over again. And it seems like the universe is out to sabotage my awakening to peace and to beauty and to joy. A warrior recently wrote me, "We may be home from the war, but the war hasn't left us. Often the war seems like home." This is the way I feel.
I want someone to hear me screaming out for peace, just as our warriors do. They aren't understood by most any more than I am.
Stephen King also wrote "writers can damn well write about whatever they please..." Today I write about what I feel.
Perhaps tomorrow will be better.