It’s 5am. I’m awake, largely thanks to Miss H, but in reality I was already nervously lost in my own ridiculousness. I say that smiling, but in all honesty my heart is thumping and my fingers shake. My husband is about to get on a plane for work and already, my crazy has begun.
Just writing this post is tempting fate; tempting the fate I’ve firmly set in my head. You see, after watching the gorgeous Kerri Sackville talk about her book The Little Book of Anxieties, I recognised something in myself. Something I’ve never spoken about because firstly, I didn’t understand what I suffered from, but also because I’ve convinced myself that if I do speak out loud about it, whatever awful disaster I’m imagining in my head will actually come true. It will happen and I will be responsible.
I can’t sit alone with my thoughts anymore. They plague me. They frighten and worry me. I’ve decided if I write them down it may help me face the crazy head on.
I am rambling. My fingers are paralysed.
My nervousness today has been compounded by the fact I dreamed I was standing on a beach, watching a plane circle. Moments later, the plane nose-dived into the swirling sea. I fell to my hands and knees crying. I awoke with a start, wanting to tell my husband I had had a terrifying nightmare, but I didn’t want to worry him. I know it’s just me projecting things that will not happen.
I just watched my husband walk out the door. I wanted to grab him and say: “Please don’t go, please stay”. I didn’t, I just hugged him tight. I always make sure I hug him like it’s the last time. I know this freaks him out, as it would me, if he was in my place.
I have already gone through my ritual; my ritual I have never told anyone about. I have already visualised him leaving, getting into his car, driving through the streets of Adelaide, getting on the plane, flying safely over the water to Pt Lincoln. I’ve imagined him getting in another car, driving safely around the town, stopping to take photographs, before driving back to the airport and getting on another plane. I’ve visualised that plane flying back safely over the water, landing in Adelaide and him driving safely through the suburban streets back home to us. In my head, I’ve already played out the moment he walks through the door and I hug him and he looks into the room at our sleeping children.
I’ve touched my heart tattoo on my wrist, to my beating heart, and said my mantra: “Touch wood, touch wool, touch all”. I’ve reached out and gently held my hand against my husband’s skin.
I made up my mantra years ago, after first starting with the much simpler: “Touch wood”. But one day I couldn’t find any wood to touch and I panicked further. I had a woollen jumper on and I figured it was a natural fibre so it would be perfect. I added the “all” just in case there was no wood or wool around. I over think things. Earlier this year, I got a little heart shaped tattoo on my wrist. Now I simply touch that if I am feeling anxious. I saw it as my first step to facing my fears. My first step to stripping away some of my rituals. Simplifying things.
My second step is to speak about it. By speak, I mean write about it. I feel braver writing. For me, I don’t feel so exposed. I do not want to speak actual words out loud about it yet, it’s pushing fate too far.
I tell myself these things will not happen, yet the moment I share my fear I know I will struggle. I will want to come right back here and pull this blog post down. Why would I tempt someone I love’s life by writing about all this openly? Why am I choosing now to try and fight fire with fire.
I am choosing this moment, because it has got out of hand. I can’t keep up with the worrying. I can’t keep up with the rituals. I can’t keep up with the secrecy, hiding how frightened I am that by sharing my fears I will tempt fate. I have worked so hard to convince myself over the years that I will cause bad things to happen by admitting I have a problem. I have wrapped myself with my own heaviest of chains.
Until my husband comes home tonight, I will worry. I will worry that I am tempting fate. I will attack myself for not staying quiet.
Yet, still no matter how irrational I know I’m being, I am terrified.
Tell me I’m not alone?