Yes, I’d like some cheese with my whine. Preferably gouda.

by Karen on January 11, 2010

You know those dreams where you’re being chased, but you can’t get your feet to move? And when you try to scream, you discover that you can’t? And you know whatever is chasing you is coming, but no matter how much you will yourself to just keep moving, your body and your mind just won’t cooperate?

Lately, it feels like my life has been that dream.

I have no reason to complain. In fact, everything is going gloriously. I’m thisclose to everything I’ve ever wanted.

But that’s not what the dream is about. It’s about inertia. It’s about the fear of moving forward. It’s about leaving the safe comfort of what you know to venture out into unknown territory.

I’m no dream analyst, but I can make correlations about this dream and what’s happening in my life when I’m most likely to have it.

The summer before I moved away from home for college, I had that dream all the time. I also frequently dreamed I was suddenly 9 months pregnant, which I’ve read is a dream about the fear of change, too. It should have been the one of the best summers of my life — no responsibility, nothing but opportunity ahead of me. But I was paralyzed with fear.

Just before my husband and I left our college town to move here for his graduate school, I went through a nearly debilitating bout of anxiety. For the first time in my life, I was frequently awoken by panic attacks.

At the time, it didn’t feel as related to the move as I know it was now. It wasn’t necessarily thoughts about moving that triggered the attacks. It was daily life. A spilled glass of water, a setback in plans, a traffic jam that left us scrambling to make our movie in time. The most trivial little things would lead to the worst kind of terror.

Now, as we face another major life change, another big move, I find myself spiraling down that path again. This time it feels a little easier. I feel like I’m right on the brink of the worst kind of anxiety I’ve ever faced — the anxiety triggered by change.

It doesn’t matter that the voice of reason in my head tells me not to worry, everything will be okay, these are all good things. The logical side of me knows that. The logical side of me is excited about what’s to come, excited about all the opportunity ahead of us. But anxiety isn’t about logic — it’s about fear. Fear of the unknown, fear that I can’t handle what’s to come, fear that I’ll fail.

I’m working on it. Every day is a struggle to keep myself grounded and avoid spiraling down the path of panic attacks and insomnia. I can cope. I’ve always coped.

But this time it’s also a little harder in a way, because I know what’s it like to live without fear. For six glorious months after I began combining exercise with anti-anxiety medication, I felt good for the first time in my life. But now that another big change is upon me, those feelings are replaced once again by crippling fear.

The only remedy is to trust myself. I have to learn to listen to that voice that knows I’m strong enough to handle what’s the come just like I’ve handled every other major change. In the end, it will all be okay. But getting there is the hard part.

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{ 7 comments }

1 Mrs. Money January 11, 2010 at 8:42 am

((HUGS)) I’m here if you ever want to talk. Seriously. I know what you go through.
.-= Mrs. Money´s last blog ..Stop Whining, Start Doing Something! =-.

2 Mrs. Money January 11, 2010 at 8:42 am

AND OMG look at my last blog post in reference to your title!! I wrote that in regards to me, not you. :)
.-= Mrs. Money´s last blog ..Stop Whining, Start Doing Something! =-.

3 Jill January 11, 2010 at 10:28 am

I’ve definitely been there. I wish I had some magic formula to make it better, but unfortunately I do not. One thing I have found helpful is to write down my worries/fears…accompanied by what *I* can do about the situation. Sort of like “if…then” statements.
.-= Jill´s last blog ..Ten on Tuesday (v.6) =-.

4 M January 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I have never experienced this, but you are very brave to put this out there! Sounds like you have good support and one foot in front of the other. You will be stronger on the other side.

5 Sarah F January 11, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I know exactly how disruptive anxiety can be to one’s life. During college, I had a debilitating bout of anxiety that was so bad, I almost dropped out. After passing out during a panic attack, I sought help via a counselor at my university. Later, I discovered that my school had a clinic that specialized in anxiety disorders. There, I worked on controlling the anxiety by learning relaxation techniques like breathing and “rewriting” that looping “tape” of anxiety inducing thoughts through cognitive behavioral exercises. I owe my being able to get through my last two years of schooling and finally graduating to the help that I received via that clinic. I was never on medication (personal choice), but have read that the combination of meds and cognitive behavioral therapy can be very effective.

You’re right, getting there is the hard part. You ARE strong enough!

6 Kacie January 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Oh, my friend. Hugs!

What you’re feeling sounds pretty darn normal to me. Moving cross-country is one of life’s biggest stressors! Especially since there’s still so many unknowns with regard to employment and such. You are normal to be feeling anxious about so many changes.

After I moved to Pgh, I joined a “just moved” group. We read a book called “Moving on after moving in” and one of the ideas in the book was to keep your routine (going to the gym on certain days, etc.) as soon as you move.

So maybe look to see if your gym membership transfers or if you can join one right away once you move. The familiarity of a workout plus the health benefits will feel great!

I am so glad that you are hiring people to help load your truck. What a weight off your shoulders! lololz.

Keep focusing on the big picture. Your move is a great thing. You have family and friends who love and care about you and who will see you through this.

You can do it!
.-= Kacie´s last blog ..Looking back on 2009 goals (before I forget!) =-.

7 Jennifer January 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I’m so sorry you are dealing with this! My oldest son suffers terribly from anxiety and it is so hard to watch him try to deal with it. A couple of recommendations – I am reading a great book right now called Dance with Fear and it is really helping me come up with ideas to help him. My other idea is to try to have a very consistent schedule in all the areas you can control right now. Having a routine will help deal with the changes. I know my son struggles the most when there are what-ifs looming on the horizon. The more consistent we are with regular stuff, the better he handles it. It must be so hard. Good luck!

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