I should be writing my book. I had absolutely nothing planned for this weekend except for book writing. It’s just awful that my brain had other plans…
My brain is acting out the Civil War in my head with the South being my Depression and Anxiety and the North being my old self. The South won a battle last night.
A few days ago I posted a poem entitled “Cough, Cough, Cough…” While some might of blown off reading this poem thinking it is about having a cold, it really is about way more than that. It’s about being triggered, triggered into the nightmares of my recent past.
My daughter has had a cough for over a week. I knew it was having an affect on me, slowly pulling me back down to the emotional pit I was in. I had started to become irritated whenever I heard her cough which was plentiful at night as she would fall into slumber. By the time I went to bed, the house was silent and all was well… until last night. I could hear her coughing. A dry hacking cough, no other symptoms. I climbed the stairs, tripping on the last two, skinning my left shin. I opened her door and all was silent. My angelic child was sleeping. Creeping silently, I kissed her forehead and returned downstairs. I just wanted to make sure she was okay.
Well, through all this, I worked myself up. Was the coughing ever going to stop? Would it continue? If it did, would I get worse? Would I wind up deep in the dungeon of another Depression episode when I haven’t even gotten through this last one? Would the anxiety cause me to become Anorexic like it did in January?
Catastrophic thoughts racing in my mind for something as simple as my daughter coughing. That is my Anxiety talking. What ifs… my Anxiety loves to feed off of them.
Coughing… why a trigger? As I heard my daughter hacking last night, as the anxiety rose once again this week, it brought images in my brain from last December, the holidays, the hatred of weekends, of how I was, and of Tyler. Once the last two images started playing like a DVD in my head there was no going back. I would have to relive them and wait until the end to calm down.
I saw myself, emaciated, pale, nauseous, dizzy, crying, hyperventilating, pacing, dry heaving, panicky…
I saw Tyler, my former foster son, clueless, happy… and coughing.
He had quickly gotten a cough like any toddler who has been quarantined in a house since birth. This cough kept me awake so many nights. This cough lasted until he was removed from our house and probably hung out a bit longer. This cough was my enemy. This cough enhanced the film playing in my head.
As the scenes of the month of December and then ultimately January played out through my brain, I cried. I cried… long, hard, delusional, anxiety, depression cried. These memories stirred up bitter emotions I had quelled, or at least I thought I had. I replayed the last day I saw Tyler, what his cheeks felt like when I held his face in my hands, his blank stare as he attempted to understand what was happening, the softness of his forehead as my lips touched it. I remembered his dark hair being ruffled and exactly where we were in the house… Tyler standing, his back toward the dining room and me kneeling facing him. I remember what I said to him, almost a whisper as I choked down tears, “Mommy’s sorry. So sorry. I love you. I will always love you.” I hugged him and walked out the door.
After that the picture changed. I was crying in my psychiatrist’s office, “I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know what will happen if I am alone. I’m afraid to be alone.” The hospital came into view, the wood doors entering me into the Behavioral Crisis Center… the screw on the lunch tray table I was planning on pushing deep into my head just to end the pain…
Twenty minutes had past. My husband was standing watching me, asking me what he could do. Myself, sitting on the sofa, crying, wiping tears from my eyes and mucous from my nose. The delusional thoughts returning… Would her coughing stop? What happens if I hear her coughing the next night? What happens if I don’t sleep and my Anxiety Attacks worsen? What if I stop eating because I just can’t fathom putting anything in my mouth? What if I need to be hospitalized again? What if I don’t survive this time?
My breathing had started to get shallow. My heart began to beat slower. My tears became less. I spoke to my husband through what tears were left:
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I miss him. He should be here, he should be mine. I don’t think I will survive another battle with Depression. I think the next time will kill me.”
I was empty, empty of all emotion. Drained. In mental anguish. Still feel that way now, just empty.
Anxiety has won this battle. It is waving its confederate flag proudly. It is laughing at me, laughing loud. I am wounded, the scars internal, healing once again. I know there will be another battle to be fought, and next time I want to be on the winning end.