When you hit old age before you’re old

000000_DSC_3270-EditI wake up with a weird, buzzing, anxious feeling in my chest.

Everything is wrong, but nothing is wrong.

Everything is scary, but nothing is scary.

Everything is death around the corner, but death is not there.

Restless.

That’s what the ladies in an online support group I’m in call this feeling. I call it sheer terror.

This buzzing,crazy, I’m-going- to -crawl- out of -my -skin -feeling.

I don’t know what to call the internal buzz other than a feeling of doom and darkness, the feeling something bad is about to happen but I’ve forgotten what so I sit for a while each morning trying to remember what in my life is bad and terrifying. I can’t think of anything I should be anxious about so my brain conjures up something for me.

That twinge in my hand.

Is that numbness?

That pain in my back.

Could it be my heart?

Crap.

My cheek feels funny.

Is that numbness?

It’s probably a stroke.

That’s it.

It’s a stroke.

I’m having a heart attack, a stroke and a brain aneurysm all at once.

Before I can decide which ailment I’m dying from there is a kid in my room asking if he can go outside and ride his bike and a toddler hanging off my neck like I’m playground equipment, asking if she can have candy for breakfast. Now my heart is pounding and both my hands are numb and my right ear has filled up and I can’t seem to move my legs right. I’m not old enough to be old but here I am at 40 with all these terrifying symptoms and general feelings of oldness.

The anxiety is nothing new to me, it’s been there off and on for years. The intensity of the thoughts and the inability to slow them down, that’s slightly new, a bit of a sign that something is making this curse progressively worse the older I get.

Despite the horrors my brain keeps screaming at me, I’m certain what I’m dealing with is hormone induced and that learning to cope is what I’ll have to do, especially since the worst time for these thoughts and feelings are right before the cliche “Aunt Flow” stops by for a visit (like a nagging old lady). I’ve told myself I’m not alone in having these feelings and I know I’m not because I’ve read their stories.

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So many women with so many of the same thoughts and all of us terrified and being told it’s all in our head and we just need this pill or that surgery and we will be fine. And don’t forget the traditional lines that always begin with “Well…you’re a woman, so…”

We have become our own doctors, doing research, reading books and blogs and asking questions that many times don’t get answers. We have left behind doctors and “experts” because none of them have helped us and we have had to become our own expert.

And we are cutting out certain food and adding certain food and dropping supplements and adding supplements and living our lives by trial and error to see what makes us feel less like we are hanging by a thread that is about to snap at any moment.

We share our self-care with each other over coffee and via technology and together we find assurance that we aren’t “just women” and, more importantly, we aren’t alone.

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She adores him but he’s a bit clueless

DSC_6570-2My daughter certainly adores her older brother. He’s 11. She’s three.

He went with a friend to a gadget club at the local library and while he was gone she found this dress and put it on, telling me how she wanted to look nice for him when he got home.

We had actually gone upstairs to look for her swimsuit because she was determined she was going swimming, even though it was too cold and I had told her I was too busy making dinner to take her out to her small, plastic pool. She’d already turned down her one bathing suit, insisting she needed the new one daddy had got her, when she saw the white laced dress with the pink ribbon. It was a dress she had previously refused to wear for me on more than one occasion.

This day, though, she saw it as an opportunity to grab her big brother’s attention, something she’d been doing even inside the womb. When I was pregnant with her she would begin kicking whenever I curled up with him at night and read him a book before bed. We were all convinced she came two weeks before her due date simply because she could hear all the fun he was having and wanted in on it. She never crawled, only rolled and started pulling herself up on chairs at seven months and walking at nine so she could chase her brother around the house.

“Oh, when he sees me I just know he’s going to tell me how beautiful I look,” she told me. “He’ll say ‘oh my gosh! Grace, you look so beautiful!”

DSC_6516DSC_6497DSC_6528While we waited I had to take the new puppy out to do her business, as the saying goes, in the backyard. My daughter stood at the door and said she couldn’t come out because she didn’t want anyone to see her not wearing pants in public.

I explained she was a girl and girls wear dresses so it was okay if she wasn’t wearing pants with her dress. She didn’t seem convinced but she came out anyhow. I should have also reminded her that she was running around our side yard in the middle of town without a shirt the night before, imitating her brother, so I didn’t know what she was worried about now.

Finally her brother came home, looked at her standing out in the backyard in her pretty dress and said, in a tone of voice similar to a person who has just been forced to watch an hour of NOVA. “Oh. You’re wearing a dress.”

DSC_6529DSC_6543Standing behind her I tried to hint to him that he needed to tell her she looked beautiful. I mouthed the words, “tell her she looks lovely.”

“What?!” he said loudly. “I can’t hear you!”

I mouthed the words slowly again, whispering a little now , but again he squished his face up at me and said “What?Huh? What are you saying?”

Finally I gritted my teeth a bit and whispered loudly at him “tell her she looks beautiful!”

He said, “ooooh!”, looked at her, shrugged his shoulders and said with not much emotion, “you look beautiful.”

It was good enough for her because the rest of the night he was the recipient of the most adoring look from her and she wanted him to carry her and play with her and sit by her at dinner. This adoration was, of course, gone by the next morning when she woke up cranky and told him to stop touching her and that he wasn’t allowed to hug her.

Ah. Siblings.

Always an adventure.

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Looking back at January

I thought I would share some photos from the month of January. I haven’t committed to a 365 project, but I almost take a photo a day anyhow. These are simply some family documentary photographs from our month, which actually wasn’t very adventurous due to snow and a winter cold and working through grief from the loss of my aunt. We also adopted a new puppy, which was been very overwhelming and turned our house upside down a bit.