Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trigger Issues

Ok. Yesterday's stress about food and all that? That was a massive trigger for me and ended up in a massively huge anxiety attack that has so far lasted 24 hours. I need to talk about it.

Let me bare my soul a little bit here.

When I was really little, my dad had a job driving big rigs for Dowell. (Currently known as Dow Chemical? I think?) He loved his job. He drove a motorcycle around town and would take my brother and I for rides now and then. He played the guitar and banjo, and we sang songs a lot. We'd go fishing at Flaming Gorge and spend weekends there as a family. I remember my brother learning the difference between a Peterbuilt and a Mac truck, and him identifying them on the freeway, proudly. I remember the sun. I remember laughter. I remember music.

Then one day he was laid off.

Life after that become complicated. It took him a long while to find another job. And when he did, from that point on, life at home was... well... not easy. Because one job turned into waiting for another job, which turned into mom hunting for a job, being shuffled to various babysitters - and boy do I have some really interesting memories about that, too - and, well... it seemed a downward spiral after that.

The wonderful things I remember: Dad loved to tinker, build, and play with electronics, engines, computers, etc. He had a soldering iron and was constantly fusing things. He read all the time and dreamed the biggest dreams. I was certain he could fix or build anything on the planet.  Mom loved music. I remember tchaikovsky, bed-time stories, imagination time, mud-pies, swing sets, piano lessons, and her drawing pictures and putting them up all over the kitchen to teach us songs and to try to keep us happy.

The not so wonderful things that creep up on me when I'm not looking: Not having food to eat. Going to school even when I was sick because that was the one place I could get a meal. Mom not eating at all so us kids could have what was available. Thinking powdered milk was the best thing on the planet. Eating cracked wheat cereal (that mom ground herself in a grinder) for what felt like months on end, because my grandfather was a farmer and would send barrels of it to my mom. My mom cooking a cow heart that someone had brought down, and us kids thinking it was food from the gods because we hadn't had meat at home in so long. My parents did the best they could under the circumstances they found themselves in. It wasn't easy for any of us.

There were other things, too, (birthdays and holidays being the next big trigger button for me) but the food thing... that's something that stuck with me in a huge way. That starvation thing has never, ever, ever been an issue as an adult. I have always been provided for since I was a teenager. Or I've provided for myself.

I guess this is the main reason that I've never paid attention to diets, counting calories, or anything like that. I've never allowed myself to worry about food. Not since those days of hunger and everything else. When I eat, I enjoy it and am grateful that I can. Sometimes I over eat. Sometimes I don't eat enough. Sometimes I eat lots of sugary garbage. Sometimes I just want fresh fruits and vegetables. I pretty much eat what I'm craving, but I try to pay attention enough to make sure I get enough fiber and whatnot to keep my insides running regular.

Yesterday's attempt at counting calories and actually thinking about what I ate? I've been shaking and spiraling down since then. I couldn't sleep at all last night. Shook and shook. Realized at 4 a.m. that I should probably take a xanex, but at that point was worried I wouldn't be able to help my kids get ready for school or be able to drive them back/forth to school. By six a.m. I realized there was no way I was going to be able to drive at all.

My husband took over all the parenting today, while I pretty much stayed in bed and either slept from sheer exhaustion or sat here and shook. My sister-in-law made sure my son got to kindergarten. By this afternoon I realized what had triggered the anxiety. I sat in the shower and cried and cried, just trying to let go of the emotions, the terror, these feelings that I don't even have names for. I took a xanex and decided that while I feel how I feel, I don't want to face it right now. I can't. I just.. no. It's something I went through as a kid, it's not how my life is now, and enough is enough. I have food in the house. If I want to eat, I can. If I don't want to, that's ok, too. I can choose.

My husband, bless his heart, made reservations at a movie grille and took me out of the house. We watched Guardians of the Galaxy again, sat there while a waitress brought us our meals and drinks while the movie played. Laughed. I enjoyed the food because I could. Thought about the movie and the wonderful tastes and sensations of the feta cheese, tomatoes and stuffed mushrooms. Because food is good and should be enjoyed.

I still haven't stopped shaking entirely. I still feel traumatized. I recognize that eventually I am going to have to figure out how to let go of my childhood ghosts. For now that makes it feel like I can't breathe. so I'm going to do what I can do, and concentrate on the now.

For now, I have kids I love dearly. I have a husband who cares and stands by me when I lose it. He has absolutely no idea what it's like to have a childhood like mine, but he tries to be aware and help me through it when I can't get myself to get through a day. I am very blessed.

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