Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Early this morning, thanks to the marvels of the Internet, a friend I've not seen in more than fifteen years posed a question on the Facebook status I posted about being okay. "Are you centered, too?" she asked "Are you grounded?"

Indeed, I am not--as illustrated by my trip to the MD's office yesterday afternoon--my first in years. If I were grounded, centered, balanced--well then, I wouldn't be feeling foggy or like I'm falling, and then panicking about the fact that I feel that way. At work yesterday, right before eating lunch I felt light-headed and out-of-it. I figured it was probably low blood sugar, having only had coffee and a banana for breakfast and a tootsie-pop for a mid-morning snack. So I ate a protein-packed garden burger, voraciously, and waited for the feeling to fade. When it didn't, I worried. My heart raced, my fingers and toes tingled, my breath quickened. I got up to walk to my friend Shay's cubicle and felt like I was falling over. When I got to her extra chair, I didn't want to move again.

I'm usually quite good at calming myself down, having had years of practice. As I sat in Shay's cube, I focused on my breathing, I massaged my neck over the aortic artery to slow my heart-rate, I distracted myself by helping Shay with the work she was doing on her computer. But each time a new wave of fog passed through me, I panicked again. And then I cried. Right there in cubicle land for all passersby to see. Another coworker who asked if I was okay, called the head of the first responders team in the building who came to look me over. It was utterly embarrassing, and at the same time relieving--somebody else was in charge.

Eventually it was decided that I should see the doctor just to get my vitals checked, and since I didn't feel I could drive, I called my mom who left her busy work schedule to come get me. I cried more. By the time I reached the office, I was steady but weak. 

Shay texted me: Feeling any better yet? call or txt when you can.

I replied: I'm ok. I think I just overdid the "I can handle this."

And I can handle this. This of course being the new formation of family. With my exhusband now living 800 miles away, and my worries in the middle of the night about how the kids will be affected, how they will navigate long visits with their father over school breaks and summer, how I will survive their absence when they go, it's no wonder I feel like I'm falling and stumbling through a blinding fog.

I know, deep down, that we'll all be okay. We are tremendously good at surviving. But for some reason yesterday, the weight was too much, and I was thankfully lifted by friends, family, and coworkers. I can't do this alone, and I am lucky that I don't really have to. The village comes to me when I need it--and I need to do better at asking for it. I need to turn "I  can handle this," into "We can handle this, and I'm so thankful that you are here." 

I need to handle my Self with as much care as I handle my children. I need to ground myself--my spinning thoughts, my eating vending machine lunches, my stiff and trembling body letting me know that even though I'm taking measures to slow down, there are other things I need to pick up to support mySelf. To ground myself.

And my kids wake now to start a new day. My son is always first to hug me in the morning with the strongest of arms, and I'm reassured with a new day. A little nervous, too, but I'll get through this day. And the next. And the next. And soon, it won't just be "getting through," it will be rising above with my feet firmly planted.

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