Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Walking on eggshells

This morning I would no more have wanted to walk Jacob across the street to school than I would have wanted to fly. We had thunder snow during the night--a bolt of lightning woke me just as my furnace kicked on, and in my daze I thought, "The furnace has exploded." But the flash of light was soon followed by thunder. When I got up and looked out, the ground was white, though the streets and sidealks were merely wet. Still it looked like there were patches of ice here and there. Because I'm a worrier and because I'm terrified of falling, I began to worry about getting Jacob at three. Of course, by then, the streets were dry and it was fine--though darned cold.
It was a perfect day to be a recluse, and I stayed in all day. Did my yoga and got a lot down on the manuscript I'm editing. Had a pimiento cheese sandwich for lunch--yum!--and a good nap, and then it was time to get Jacob. We did all his homework--math exercise, reading, essay in response to the book, a pre-test for spelling, and alphabetized his spelling words. Bless him, he'd look at me occasionally and say, "Are we having a good day so far?" I assured him we were. (We didn't have a good day yesterday because he wouldn't focus, and I grew impatient--we both vowed today to change our ways!)
Tonight it was tempting to stay inside with the fire in the fireplace, but I also liked the idea of company, so I went to meet neighbors at the Grill and have my meatloaf fix. Cold coming home, and I dreaded the walk down the dark driveway--motion sensitive lights but there's a gap and a time limit. And I did what I know better than to do--I faltered, and once my confident stride was broken, I was a mess. I ended up taking the funniest route to the house you can imagine--holding on to the fence, then hobbling across the drive to a tree and then the side of the house until the lights kicked in.
I know that about walking and anxiety. If I lose my confidence, if I break my stride, anxiety kicks in, and I feel that I cannot take another step. But if I keep walking confidently, I'm fine. I'm glad no one saw me scramble tonight, and yet I've learned to tell myself that I did okay. I made it into the house. Elizabeth did not find me lying in the driveway when she came home.
Almost everyone feels anxiety, but for some of us it can have disabling effects. Mine takes the form of this fear of walking and falling. Those who don't know say "It's all in your head." Yes, it is, but it's very real, and the numbers of people in this country who suffer from anxiety to a disabling degree would astonish many.
Most days I do just fine. I've learned to deal with it. But it does come creeping up to bite me, and tonight was one of those times. I'll just have to keep walking down that dark driveway, with confidence--and a walking stick. If that's the worst of my burdens, I am blessed indeed.

1 comment:

LD Masterson said...

I love idiots who say, "It's all in your head." Of course it is. Every thought or emotion we ever have comes from in there someplace. Whatever is in our head is our reality. And your reality happens to include an anxiety about walking and falling.