I don’t even remember when I last wrote something, but I think it was probably in the middle of Fire Season, which is a thing now. Several catastrophic wildfires, choking, smoky air and spiking anxiety over possible evacuations in a pandemic mostly amounted to a bunch of sleepless nights and jittery days, nails bitten to the quick, and a to-go bag still packed, just in case.
2020 had a lot going on, but not for me. My routine didn’t vary much from my “normal” – the biggest difference was no kids being chauffeured to school and back, and no one leaving the house for work or activities with friends. We were just together, and I mostly reveled in it, feeling like a stole a year of extra time with my now-adult children. The reality is they probably aren’t flying the coop in the next year or two anyway, while they pursue their degrees, but I have loved having them here. Still, we’ve all been a bit depressed and anxious and lost. We miss people. We miss doing things. We aren’t using this time to nest or tackle projects or launch a podcast or whatever other people are doing. We are waiting. Just… waiting.
Appa, our two year old dog, had a series of seizures on December 21st, and kicked off Christmas week with heavy drugs and paranoia. I didn’t sleep for a couple of days, being on Dog Watch. It felt like when the kids were babies and were sick. I lay on the couch with the dog on her bed next to me, scrutinizing every breath and whimper, following her in sleepy, clumsy circles as she lurched in circles around the house, at one point hauling her 60 pounds of fur and fluff in a fireman’s carry back into the house after she got “lost” in the yard after peeing at 2am. We made it, but it wasn’t pretty.
The holiday passed in a blur, and I slept the whole day after Christmas. I read something at some point about how the human body just can’t sustain being freaked out for too long. You adapt, and so I have. She’s doing well on her meds, and is back to her normal personality for the most part, and I’ve stopped holding my breath every time she shifts positions. She’s been diagnosed with epilepsy, after MRIs and spinal taps and blood work and Xrays. I don’t want to think about what the future holds – she’s okay right now, and we’re just going with it.
After messing around with too much flour and sugar for the last year, I’m back on the Bright Line Eating bandwagon, and I’m already feeling the positive impact of cutting the crap out of my diet.
I’m also finally going to see a counselor to work on my anxiety issues – there’s only so much guided meditation can do. Retail therapy doesn’t help much, either. I totally bought one of those Tibetan Chiming Bowls and a Buddha statue and some sort of “calming” mist that smells like grass and aside from the satisfying “diiiiiiiing” from the bowl and occasionally stubbing my toe on Buddha, you know what? I’m still sort of a mess.
Four days or so after a traumatic happening (like dog seizures, not like, the normal indignities in life), my body gets broadsided with really intense physical anxiety symptoms. Crazy shaking, racing heartbeat, wild blood pressure, the sheer panic and loose bowels that comes from being chased by a bear. And there is no bear. Even four days prior, there was no bear. I predict my therapist is going to love me. Also I might need to buy some sort of bear art.
In the middle of a surging pandemic, at the end of a catastrophic administration, with six months left of my youngest daughter’s high school career happening in her bedroom while I work in the hall, I don’t know how to look very far ahead anymore. And I think the time for big skies and broad horizons will be back, but for now, I’ll just keep my tiny little bubble floating along.