I continue to take the bus to work at the moment. During our busy period at work, I have meetings at 8.30 each morning and in order to be prepared after the weekend, I need to be there at least an hour before hand.
If I am driving into work, I like to give myself a good hour and a half to get from home to my desk. There are of course elements which influence the time factor. Traffic volume and any accidents can be the key to either a good or a bad run in.
But back to the bus…. I took my computer with me this morning. I have a mobile broadband USB stick which means I can ‘usually’ access the internet and either work on my website or check emails etc.
I didn’t expect to get on the ‘net’ this morning though, as I had noticed the ‘mobile’ icon was displaying an error in regards to Registration. This happened about a month ago as well, and I needed to ring my Service Provider to sort it out. I didn’t have time to do that before I left home this morning and sorting it out is not an option on the bus.
I wasn’t too concerned though as I had a couple of letters to write and I also have a folder with Anxiety articles I have copied off the net and have yet to read. This was an opportune time to do some housekeeping. Needless to say, I have read one article and here I am writing a blog – so much for housekeeping!!
Anxiety and the Empty Nest
It is an article about the time in a family’s life when the children move out – become independent (if only for a short time) – and a couple find themselves back at the beginning – together….alone. It hit a personal chord in a way – so many of the ‘signs’ outlined in this article featured high on my own list of what happened in my own circumstance.
The section that most related to myself was ‘Anxious and being alone with a spouse’.
The difference between ‘now’, and when you were courting, or first married, is a lifetime of children, other priorities and other focus. There has been a lot of water flow under the bridge of your partnership and often the water will have been muddied and filled with debris.
Suddenly your world is not filled with what you must do for your children but neither is it filled with the blinkered love and starry eyed view of the world that you had when you were young.
The lost soul
Questions start to creep in – who is this person that you are living with? He/she is not the person you married. You have grown apart. He/she is comfortable with their lot while you now have the opportunity to find a life for yourself. You find your partner boring. You find your partner dull and set in their ways. You could write a book about all the things that are WRONG in your life right now.
I know I found this. I found so many things wrong with my marriage, I couldn’t find anything right. I was completely miserable (or so I thought). And everything I thought, or felt, was justifiable – to me. In my anxious way, I became obsessed with what was wrong. I was consumed by what was wrong. I voiced my misery to my family and friends. They were so supportive, so empathetic, and seemingly so aware of how difficult it was for me and how I deserved so much better. No doubt their opinions were firmly based on what I had told them, but I was receiving the feedback I wanted to hear, confirming what I already knew, affirming to myself that my marriage was over.
Depressed? I’m NOT Depressed!!!
In my mind, I was depressed because my family could not make me happy. But because I was depressed my family was not happy.
I was to blame – it was my fault the family unit was disintegrating. I was causing all the grief. The family would be better off without me, without my moods, without my changing personality.
As far as I was concerned, my husband could no longer make me happy and there was certainly no hope for a future together. After 22 years of great times, great children, and great memories, I chose to walk away because I knew best.
The walking away solved nothing. It brought on a new direction for my worry – for my guilt. There has been not a day go by over the past 14 years that I haven’t spent some energy worrying about the consequences of my actions.
Facing the demons
I am sitting writing this now, and I don’t know how I feel after having read this article this morning. ‘If only’ – If only I had known that my anxiety was such a factor in the way I was behaving, the way I was seeing my world, the way I was reacting. If only I had known I suffered from an anxiety disorder. If only……if only.
For me, this article has made me even more aware of the impact ‘untamed anxiety’ can have on your life. Just in the reading of this article, I have had some questions answered. I now know my actions were fuelled by a head full of anxiety and irrational thinking.
As I journey my way OUT of a constantly anxious state, I am understanding more and more about my condition and how so many of my actions and reactions in the past have been as a direct result of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
The knowledge is certainly not going to change the past, it will not repair the damage to a marriage which, I now know, was not miserable or flawed beyond repair, and my acknowledgement of my condition will never be enough to justify the hurt that was inflicted on my family at that time.
Knowledge and Acceptance
With the knowledge, and my acceptance, of Generalized Anxiety Disorder has come a lessening of the guilt I have felt for 14 years. The time and energy I have spent on guilt for a lost relationship has been time and energy I have denied my current relationship.
In June 2012 when I made the decision that enough was enough and I was going find a way to overcome (if not cure) my anxiety, I knew it would be difficult. I knew I would face uphill battles, I knew I would be in constant conflict with the voices in my head.
I had even come to terms with my fear of wellness – a fear that in order to overcome my anxiety, my whole personality would need to change, and that I might ‘lose’ some of the traits that I really liked about myself.
I hadn’t expected to have so many questions answered, so many of my ‘natural’ behaviours to be explained, so many ingrained beliefs challenged and destroyed.
I hadn’t expected to find so many of my behaviours ‘unnatural’.
The Merry-go-Round is OK
Well, here I am only 6 months down the track and the merry-go-round is not so bad after all. The merry-go-round actually brings some stability and some degree of consistency. If you are on the roller coaster ALL the time, there is no stability, no consistency, the peaks and troughs give no time for respite or calm.
Over the years, I have dismissed the merry-go-round and convinced myself that I love the roller coaster so much, I never want to get off. But I see now, that if you never get off the roller coaster, the ride becomes predictable, monotonous, repetitive, less of a thrill, and as time goes by you hear yourself SHOUTING……….‘LET ME OFF’!!!!
And, in re-reading the previous paragraph, I have just realized I had never considered this before. I had never considered that it was OK to get off the roller coaster – take a breather – smell the roses.
That is such a revelation – and this is why I love to write. So often I surprise myself with the logic that naturally flows when I write.
I am certainly not cured by any means, but I have more, and more, good moments, good hours, and, dare I say, I even have good DAYS.
From this moment, as I come to the end of my blog and my bus trip, I am going to enjoy that merry-go-round and when the roller coaster arrives, I will be ready, willing, and more than capable, of enjoying the ride.
Thank you for reading