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I guess I should be happy and relieved to see that the last time I fell prey to anxiety was in November. When I opened the editor this time I needed a way out very badly, and I remembered I had done this already, writing to take the edge off, so I went to check when it was. I suspected it could be a few weeks ago, seeing it was more than three months ago did make me feel relieved.

Anxiety has a way of distorting everything: space, time, feelings, rationality, everything. All you need to do is calm down, but you just can’t reason, you can’t take the spinning things in your hand to stop them, you just keep spinning. When you finally do calm down, you are so exhausted you don’t even remember what got you spinning.

I know what did, just now, because it’s not gone altogether. It’s something Hector told me, about living alone. Understanding the causes is easy: it can be anything really, in this case I’m tired, I am in a difficult phase of my life, I am all shaken up by the fact that I met someone I really like… it’s everything, but it doesn’t matter.

The fact is, up until now and now still, my reaction is giving in to anxiety. It’s probably just like stating the obvious, but I can’t control it. The fact is, up until now I’ve had my husband to turn to whenever anxiety pulled my strings, now I won’t have that anymore. And no, I don’t think it’s enough to stay with him, because yesterday I tried again, to be with him when I was in the middle of a crisis, and it’s just not the same anymore. True enough, we can’t be close now as we used to be when we were a couple, but it’s slightly more than that: I was talking about what scared me and he just didn’t answer accordingly, he thought about his anxiety. It was as good as talking to a wall, with the difference that when you talk to the wall, you know you can’t expect an answer.

The fact is, I am ashamed of my anxiety. More than any other thing in myself. If I make an effort, I can decide to let out parts of my feelings and thoughts which I usually keep within, when the time is right, when the listener is right. I’ve learnt to do that. But I still can’t think of calling anyone when I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack. Maybe I could talk to Faith, because she knows the topic so well, she wouldn’t be taken aback, but my first reaction is wanting to hide from the world.

Anxiety is something so private that I can think of partly letting it out only with someone I share an extremely deep bond with and I can rarely think of someone else rather than my partner. Which means, I don’t like calling my parents or my sister either when that happens. In this sense, now I need to face it all by myself. And this scares the shit out of me.

How do people do it? They say, anxiety is basically the most widespread condition af all in developed countries, I guess I can’t be the only one. How do the others do it? Do they keep it for themselves, do they use massive doses of drugs – either legal or illegal – do they talk to someone and if so to whom? I need a plan.

It won’t be this bad every single day, it’s going to swing back and forth and from what I’ve seen in the past few weeks, it can be good, it can be better than it used to be before I even met my husband. But the lack of a plan in case of need automatically alarms me enough to make me anxious. It’s a vicious circle and the only way to step out of it is finding a cause and working on the solution.

I realise I am tackling a fundamental problem here, when I say some things I can share only with a partner. But I still don’t know how to work around it. On the one hand, it’s wrong to charge a relationship with such a burden. On the other, I am human and as such I must accept the fact that I need other people and human relations to survive. Is it unrealistic for me to expect I should learn to count only on myself? Of course I need friends, I need social interactions, but should I learn to cope with “the serious stuff” by myself or should I rather learn to split the burden with someone else? And if not a partner, with whom?

I have deeply suffered the lack of a profound communication with my husband, probably exactly because of this. Because I expected him to be the one who should act as a repository for these troubles and in fact he no longer was it and because I hadn’t trained myself to do it with anybody else. Throughout my relationship with him, I managed to distance myself from my parents, in a way. This may sound like a very bad thing, truth is it’s not, not given the relationship we have and the kind of people they are. I am happy to be independent from them, or rather, from my mother. The problem with it is, I suppose I managed that because I had just created a family of my own on the other side. Once that broke too, I am completely on my own.

I suppose, my situation is different from that of the majority of people. I normally fear loneliness much more than others do and at the same time I have fewer resources to reduce my loneliness to a minimum. It’s the hard way, the one I always seem to choose, maybe the only one I know how to navigate. I have begged myself to cut me some slack, but I can’t seem to understand how I should do it. I agree that I don’t need to be perfect to be happy, on the contrary, it might make everything worse, but I can’t get out of the loop and act accordingly. I can’t make those necessary mistakes that would make me feel better. Or maybe I’m doing just right and can’t expect to always feel fine. Maybe this best I can do which I’m doing is really just enough and I can’t do any more.

I keep thinking about all the things Hector said. I can hardly find anything wrong with it, it seems such a wise way to go. I envy him and I would like to copy his ways. It seems to have worked out for him and I need a project so much, some path to follow to give me some hope that I will really get where I want to go… I understand how I tend to get excited pretty much about any guy I meet lately, and that it’s hard to believe this has more reasons to it than just the heat of the moment… but I really feel he could make a difference. But from his point of view, I could be completely wrong. If I want someone to lead me, why shouldn’t he want someone like that too? Why would he want to be with a wreck such as I am right now, someone who could lead him back in the depths instead of someone just happy to live and ready to give instead of taking? I am not sure how much I can give right now, not because I don’t want to, not because I don’t need to, just because… not because of me, because of him. I want and I need to share everything I learnt along the way and I suppose once I share everything with someone he will learn something from it, maybe something I don’t even recognise as a lesson worth giving. It’s just that what he could give me is so big that I don’t believe I could reciprocate that. And I may very well be wrong. If nothing else, because he might not be aware of all of this.

Again, this is why I say this is all psychobabble: all of this is just in my head and he may have well forgotten my name by now.

Anxiety is a bitch. I hoped so much this wouldn’t happen again. I had a sense it would, especially after the last few days, but I just hoped… it’s the last thing I need. It’s understandable, it’s normal, but it only adds stress where there’s no room for more. I guess life looks like the chart of a wave, it has its ups and downs and when the rhythm changes, it is to be expected that it’s going to take some major plunges after a rise. It’s just all the more confusing. It’s already hard enough to deal with all this uncertainty, with the doubts of separation, the pressure of a new relationship to develop, the adjustments to change, you could really do without the need to cry 24/7 and the loss of control. I suppose, knowing it can happen and accepting it for what it is can make it easier to deal with, but it feels like such a wrong timing.

I don’t need my subconscious to scream in my ears that there is a problem, I can ear it loud and clear, I don’t need the subliminal message of fear, I am already terrified. May it be just a wake up call to consider I’m making a mistake? That’s what I was trying to find out all along. It was easier in the “up” part of change. I felt just so confident and strong, as I had never been before. Maybe too much, I was almost scared, but it gave me all I needed to see things clearly and consider my options without fear. In the “down” part, I’m afraid I won’t be lucid enough to do exactly that.

I know so well that this crisis could be an opportunity but the fact that husband sees it too, that he too says “better now than in 10 years” puts me under pressure. I understand, I agree but it puts a sort of rush into it. Other people in other relationships experience these phases too but most of the time they tend to settle things and try to work it out. Sometimes, I suppose it can work out, but often history repeats itself and it just comes around again. Other times they only pretend to fix it because acting upon it accordingly is too hard, too uncomfortable, too scary. We both reckon it is the wrong way to approach it, but this condition is not easy.

The only thing I can do to ease the anxiety right now is thinking there is no rush, that I can take all the time I want to get to the end of it and really understand, but the truth is, it’s a deformying mirror. Unbalance can make you want stability so much, you are ready to second guess all of your choices and come to terms with your convictions. If this state lingers how will I ever be sure to make the right choice because I want it instead of because it’s what I need? I know it can happen, I realise it’s already happening and thinking I need to avoid it only puts more stress on me. It’s a bloody vicious circle.

These are the situations where you hate what you become, because your need tramps your reason and you end up being dragged towards the same people you are trying to leave behind and outgrow. It happened 11 years ago with my parents and it’s happening now with him. Because after all they are the only people you can share something this “shameful” with. I guess I am lucky that I am still in therapy and I am not so reluctant at the idea of getting help from chemistry right now, since I really need all the help I can get.

Want and Need. I wonder if there is really so much difference. It’s exactly what I wanted to break free from. I wanted to be free to decide what I want instead of falling prey of need. Now the boundary looks much blurrier. When you want something, you always need it up to a certain point, so I guess the two coincide. What I really want to leave behind is the need that I don’t understand, I guess, the need that is driven by the subconscious, not by want alone. After all, I guess it’s just the control freak that is in me that wants to eliminate this aspect. Maybe just understanding the real reason why I want or need something may help though.

While speaking to Shalma the other day I noticed how divided she is, between want and need. She perfectly knows what she wants and what she needs, she knows the two do not correspond and in the end, so far she has chosen need. I’m not judging, I’m not saying it’s wrong or weak, it’s ok as long as you are still deciding I guess and she is still working on that. I just don’t think it’s the right way to be happy, not when you’re still young, when you still have dreams. I understand very well the value of stability and certainty, I appreciate it and I think it’s a wonderful way to fare, when you’re ready, but it shouldn’t be a way to hide yourself. It should be a goal.

This is the part I appreciated the most about the relationship with my husband, how secure, calm and protected I felt with him. It’s wonderful, because it gives you so much strength to cope with anything the world may throw at you, and it did help me a lot. I just wonder how much of that need for certainty and calm was driven by fear of the rest of the world outside. I remember, way before this reshuffle, how I used to think that he was the only person with whom love didn’t hurt, and I loved that. But given where my heart is right now, as adult, self-loving and reasonable as it sounded, I wonder if something was missing. When love hurts too much it’s dysfunctional, love should be good not bad, but when it never hurts maybe it’s just too shallow.

Now I need love to feel deep and strong, I need it to touch my heart and soul.

I also remember how I was tired and hurt by all of the other relationships I had ever had, where I always ended up hurt; I didn’t want to go back to that pain again and I thought that I would never find calm again in the arms of somebody else anyway. I used to look at the whole dating thing as a curse. It’s true it was a curse for me, but it was so bad because there were needs I tried to fulfil with any guy out there that had nothing to do with dating. Realising this now is what pushes me towards trying again. I may not be ready yet, just because I see something is flawed doesn’t mean I know how to fix it. But it’s a big step towards the right path at least.

I think I know I am not that ready looking at how this thing with coach is evolving. I mix up with love and infatuation a whole set of different emotions that have scarcely anything to do with it. I have always done that and I still do, only now, even though I still can’t protect myself from it, I see it clearly and separate the two. It happened to me Monday night and yesterday as well. The triggering event was basically just the impression that he wasn’t really interested in me, but the reason why I suffered had nothing (or very little) to do with that. It had to do with defeat, with insecurity and self-deprecation. I don’t think I have ever seen this distinction so clearly before, and I understand how I have always perceived these kinds of feeling as loss of love more that what they are.

That is why I have always suffered so much for love. In reality, it has never been about love, if not for love of myself – and lack thereof. I suppose I haven’t been able to work on this aspect in therapy because it has never been there before. With my husband present and stable in my life, it’s been years ever since I felt like this and it just never came up. In some way, I guess I should be happy it did, so I can finally address this too, and I guess my therapist would pat my shoulder and say I should be proud of myself for actually understanding this alone. Well, I am proud of myself anyway. I guess I am opening up like a corolla in the morning sun, to others as well as to myself. I feel like I am learning to navigate myself, as difficult as it may ever be sailing these seas. And this need/want for deeper love is just me issuing visas to anyone who may like to venture in those open waters.

“Have a heart and try me, ’cause without love I won’t survive” B.Boyd
I had a sense I picked the wrong track for my programme…

So anxiety is back, my dear old companion. It comes and goes, as always, at times it looks like I can partly control it, as if I could talk myself out of it leaning on that tiny confidence I had just found under all the messy stuff. At times, talking to myself and looking in is enough to keep it at bay, at times letting it flow and accepting it, listening to what it has to say and answering back may be a better strategy. And it’s scary because it will also make everything much more difficult at the arena as well. And now “camp” evokes the idea of “concentration” more than “fun”. Going away for two days with all the what-do-I-do/what-will-he-do delirium is literally delirious. I wish I knew who’s coming, to count my alliances and blessings. Who knows, maybe some other interesting guy is going to be there… Or maybe the gay percentage is just doomed to increase.

Are gays just great for girls or what? They compliment you all the time, they laugh at your jokes, they call you dear, they invite you to the very special private lessons on Wednesays with coach… Lovely!

No, seriously, I guess I should bring my PC at camp. I am not going to have that much time to think about anything else but training, considering the schedule, which is very good, but there is going to be (almost) alone time and I’m afraid I am going to need to take A LOT out of my system, whether something happens or not. I really wish I had no expectations, but honestly how can I not? It would be so good to just go and know he is not going to be there. No, not exactly, I’ve been waiting for this a long time, but let’s just say I wish I had a similar weekend somewhere else, without him involved, just the rest of the people and I.
I suddenly know precisely what I would need: a weekend on the mountains with a snowboard club.