When The Engineer and I were married in 2002, a well-meaning person told me that after the wedding - after the hoopla and the parties and the celebration was over - I would feel depressed. She didn't know me very well and probably did not see that I actually don't enjoy being the center of attention (hello, debilitating stage fright!). After we were married, I was honestly relieved it was over. But as the months went by, I started having trouble sleeping. This was nothing new to me, I have always been a bit of an insomniac. I started having all of these fears when I tried to sleep - what if something happened to The Engineer? What if something happened to Jake the Basset Hound? Having someone to love also meant having someone to lose. I was terrified. Life was too good, when would the other shoe drop? I didn't deserve happiness more than anyone else, why did I have it while others suffered? The worry started to take over my life.
My doctor prescribed Paxel, which was little help. I started researching anxiety and it led me to the practice of yoga. I found a local class and it was life-changing. It gave me balance and helped me fall asleep easier so I was not lying in bed worrying about skin cancer and car accidents and whatever else popped in my overactive imagination.
Yoga, exercise and the busy-ness of raising a family has kept the anxiety at bay for the last decade but lately I have felt it creeping back in. I have the same fears that all moms have. What if something happens to my children? What if something happens to me? I have all of these plans for my children's childhood. Y'all know me, I have plans period. I plan my day, I plan my life, I plan my future. I might be a little bit of a control freak. Just a smidge.
The idea of something happening to my family sends me to a dark place. I think about those families across the world where that darkness is their reality and I hurt for them. So much that I have to step away from the computer before the anxiety swallows me whole. Not because I don't care. But because the mental image is more than I can bear. It is nothing more than the luck of the draw that I was born in North America and not a war zone.
I want my children to live long and happy lives. I want to be here for their childhood. I want them to be raised by their mom and dad. I pray for my children - that they are safe and grow up to be happy and healthy. I pray the M. and I are there beside them - that they never experience the pain of losing their mom and/or dad. I pray that C. and A. have a normal existence full of hoops in the driveway, walks with the dog, evenings at the ballpark, holidays with our families, Sundays with our church friends and afternoons eating froyo and talking about their day. I pray for time.
I pray for peace, in all its different connotations.
Tomorrow, it will be silliness and shopping, basset hounds and baby clothes (I might have gone a little overboard buying tiny shoes for my new nephew), but today this was on my heart. With the loss of Robin Williams yesterday, the importance of mental health should be an open and honest dialogue, now more than ever.