Diapers and Dragons

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Trapped Inside My Own Mind

There are days when I get stuck inside my own head, when my cheeks flush with heat and my heart pounds heavy in my breast and my thoughts whirl and twist and turn upon themselves like dervishes gone wrong. There are days when the slightest thing gone wrong rouses rage and I must choke it down, yell at myself inside my mind to calm down, chill out, treat life like reality instead of some ridiculous soap opera. There are days when I want to scream at the world to just shut up, shut down, go away, leave me alone to breathe for five minutes five hours five days five weeks until the thoughts slow down and drain away and I no longer feel like a fish gasping for air on a flint-sharp shore.

But I CAN'T, I can't shut it all away because life must go on, and I have two little boys who need to know I love them and am there for them and I really don't want to be paying massive therapy bills for them years down the road when my salary has been slashed and my benefits are pouf and they're blaming me for all the ways they're F'd up. I'm supposed to be the rock, I'm supposed to be the stable one. And when I feel like the weight of my world (I'm not saying THE world; I know so many people have it worse; I know and I feel guilty about that too because how can I feel like this when I have so much that others don't) is so heavy on my shoulders that my spine may break with the strain of it, I still have to keep moving, pushing through my day so that my students learn something and my children are fed and clothed and loved.

Still I get trapped in there, pounding my fists against the locked doors of my mind. I trap myself: I am not so naive, so un-self-aware that I don't realize that I do this to myself every time, and somewhere, somehow, there is a key to how I can get out. It's just...that key isn't the same every time. It morphs, it changes, it camouflages itself so that only when I stumble across it by accident, by trial and error, do I find what will fit the lock and open the door and free me from my own cage.

I feel overwhelmed by the emotional load I'm carrying right now. Work is no solace, because we are in financial crisis and friends are losing jobs and my students are carrying burdens of their own that sometimes are brought to me in the hopes that I can lighten their load or find the key to their own cages. As for home: I have no real home right now, and while kisses and hugs and cuddles and funnies from my adorable children are often a key of sorts, there is also all the stress and strain of single-parenting two very young boys. And have I mentioned that divorce sucks? Even when it's the right choice and both people are trying the best they know how to make things work out?

There are so many reasons I want to fast-forward life by half a year or so.

For now, blurting these words onto this screen, sending it out there without even allowing myself to check back over the draft--this is a key, of sorts. My heart is gentling its beat. My cheeks are cooling. My thoughts are slowing, are calming, are allowing my fingers to keep up.

Perhaps my prayers can become more than panicked gasps. Perhaps I can marshal myself enough to get through the lunch I forgot to bring and the class I still have to teach and the shopping I need to do for our school gift drive and the fundraiser I have tonight and one more night.

Because as hard as it is for me to focus on the present and not obsess and worry over my future, all I can handle right now is this day, this moment, this thought.

10 bits of love:

Heidi said...

If you can, look into picking up a self-hypnosis/meditation tape (or I guess they're probably on CD these days ;) ) Twenty minutes of listening to one and intentionally calming your body and quieting your thoughts can make all the difference.

Arby said...

How often do you pray? I am not referring to the "Oh, God, help me right now!" type of pea, but an intentional, non-reactive, prayer. How do you start your day? The Lord's Prayer is an exceptional tool for calming the wild thoughts and slowing the beating heart, if said over, and over, and over again, as often as needed, until things smooth out and settle down. The Serenity Prayer works wonders, too. If you are looking for a key, active prayer is the master key to add to your key chain. I know this from experience.

mom said...

Amen, Arby. I know the same thing, from experience. And the simple prayer, "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me" is one I'm learning to use now in my old age, learning humility and recognizing my daily need.

My dear one, you are in one of those very hard places, actually a very hard journey. Like 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. But there is hope, and you're not alone.

And focusing on those two little boys and their needs is so very right, so much your calling. Just keep doing the next thing.

I'm praying for you too.

Kathleen said...

Praying for you!


michelle said...

This stuff is just hard. That's all there is to it.

Draft Queen said...

I would swear to you I wrote a very similar blog in the past but you actually have access to it so it's not like I'm dangling an invisible carrot and just saying these things.

All I remember about the post was that I felt like there was a child throwing a tantrum in my head.


It does get better. It does get easier.

GingerB said...

I'm sorry life is kickin' your you know what. I have felt much the same over this last year. I think you know all the tools to use to help, and mostly its time and experience.

Honey B. said...

I'm going to totally echo Heidi's stuff aboiut the self-hypnosis CD's...I do one every night, and it helps me sleep better, which helps me keep everything together during the day!

Beck said...

You poor girl.
I actually really agree with the other commentors that praying intentionally at the start of the day gives me a calm center even when there's no other center in my life.
Earlier this year, I went through such an awful time that my only comfort was that at some point, it WOULD be over, would just be a hard time I remembered. And you know what? Half a year later, that IS how things worked out. It will eventually be okay. Hang on.

Dad said...

Praying for you. I have been reflecting on Ps 130 and 131. 131 tells me that things can get too much for me, and that in need to rest on God's lap, leaning against his breast like a weaned child against his mother!

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