Waiting for the Light

I remember a trip to Syracuse to visit my oldest sister, Meg, who was in college there. I must have been in high school and I have no idea the point of our visit, but what I remember, all these years later, is how I spent the majority of our time there having a panic attack. You see, there was an outbreak of meningitis at SU, and I became convinced that I would be the next victim. I spent the first part of dinner trying to touch my chin to my chest (after my sister, in nursing school at the time, told me that was a way doctors checked for meningitis - thanks for nothing, Jen) and the second part laying down in a fetal position in the back of the car, while my sisters and mom enjoyed their meal inside.

When I tell people that I’m a hypochondriac or that I suffer from anxiety, I’m often met with surprise:“But you seem so calm!” (My response, always, is “HAHAHAH, I can’t wait to tell my husband and family you said that!”) But when the majority of your anxiety lies within – when it has to do with how your own body feels – it’s easy enough to hide it. So over the years, I’ve diagnosed myself with just about everything you can imagine. My therapist call it “catastrophizing:” taking something like a bruise on my leg and turning it into leukemia (true story). An eye twitch becomes MS. Indigestion, a heart attack. The list goes on.

Over the years this anxiety has ebbed and flowed. For years, I “lived with it” and then suddenly, after having my second baby (AFTER getting married, losing my mom, having 2 miscarriages, then giving birth a first time), things became unbearable.

“It’s hormones.”

“You’re older this time around” (thanks for reminding me.)

“You’re still dealing with the trauma of your mom’s death.”

All true. But something else has resonated with me just as much (if not more) - the idea that my nervous system adapted to my environment from a young age. I’m the first to put my mom up on a pedestal (and most people would agree she belongs there), but she wasn’t perfect. She ran hot – real hot. She erupted. She was quick to laugh, but also quick to yell. To this day, when we’re arguing, Pat asks me why I’m yelling and my response is always: “THIS IS HOW I TALK” (like mother, like daughter). My therapist uses her hands to show where a “normal” nervous system might be, where a “depressed” nervous system might be, and then way up high where my nervous system tends to run.

Today, I find myself still ebbing and flowing, but now with the help of an anti-depressant, talk therapy, as much time outside and in the sun as possible, and an extra dose of lavender at night. This combo often works, but this time of year, when the days are short, the sun is scarce, and the anniversary of my mom’s death approaches, I find myself spiraling at times.

Some days are ok. Some days aren’t. But I think I’ve finally gotten to a point where I know that the dark times are always followed by light. And so, if you need me the next month or so, I’ll be over here waiting for the light. I’ll also be over on Instagram, posting (sometimes) daily gratitude posts. Come follow along and maybe even post some your own (use the #afewgoodlaughs if you’d like).

“Even after all this time, the sun never says to the Earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.” – Hafiz

Beautycounter News:

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xoxo,

Ali
alisonmbrady@gmail.com
beautycounter.com/alisonschramm
@alischramm_atouchofblush