Over the last two days, without anticipating their existence, I've hit icy patches of anxiety that have left me reeling for at least an hour to try and afix my feet to the world again. The first was in Poetry, yesterday, as we discussed "Poems in the negative"; a technique which aims at revealing an object or idea through the concrete description of everything around it that it is not. It's a tricky tool and one I'm excited about. But something in the professor's exposition of the style I got caught up in why I'm in her class, why I'm writing poetry, why I'm back in college trying to be so busy that nothing else can fit in.
Behind all of that is not the desire. Instead, I was just slammed with loss and grief. I could barely catch my breath for the remainder of the lecture. And when we discussed the employment of metaphor and the professor went around the room hearing our chosen animal in the assigned phrase: "My education is a ______ because _______." I gave my answer in a voice hardly more than the whisper of ether.
"My education is a ram in the thicket, because God asked me to sacrifice my child."
Today as I stood at the mirror getting ready to leave for my day of astrobiology and Ethics, the panic welled back up. My mother texted and asked how I was handling school.
"Well!" I answered back. "As long as I don't get snagged by anxiety I'm doing great. It's almost good enough that I don't feel the disappointment that it wasn't Plan A."
I go for my ativan which I hardly ever use--telling myself I'll just take a half tablet before class--except that it is gone. I text my husband, "My ativan is gone. I don't know where it is and I really need some. Have you seen it?"
Two minutes pass and nothing. I call.
"Did you take my ativan?"
"Where is it? I need it. Did you do something with it?"
"Yes. Calm down. The night you got drunk I hid it. Why?"
"Because I need it, obviously. I am an adult. I only use it when I need it. You have no right to take or keep my medications from me. Where is it?"
He tells me where it is. I wouldn't have been nearly so terse if I weren't in the midst of the anxiety, which only grew worse because I was unable to locate the medication. I thank him, tell him I love him, and hang up to take the dose.
A half hour later I finally felt the calm fall over me.
But I was angry for the next hour. Angry for the panic and anxiety caused by patterns in my upbringing which invalidated my ability to make choices and take care of myself with any level of self-confidence. Angry at my husband who still treats me as if I were a child, even so far as to tell me that I need to soften and be more "little girlish" because that's much more sexy and attractive to him. Angry that he assumes that I can't handle being alone, even when I tell him otherwise, even when the seven weeks I was without him were liberating, if not a badly needed respite from being married to a neglectful man. Angry that he is trying so hard no to do everything right and that I feel responsible to do everything right back when I'm not certain my love is going to return to where it needs to be to have the kind of marraige my bishop told me marriage could be. Angry that I'm married at all. Angry that I sometimes feel, even with the improvements, that I wasted this choice on the first thing that came along that was remotely available (which isn't true, but I was angry) and that now I have options that are tempting and intoxicating to me (even though I'll never act on any of it) and that I think would better suit my mental health than my present situation.
Which brings me to philosophy.
I'm crushing. I think I've said as much. It's bad enough today that I decided an extra 1/2 tablet of lithium and that 1/2 ativan would be wise.
It's the intelligence factor. I'm rarely attracted to anything else. And for the last two or three days it's been about all I can think about. So I don't answer questions. I try to act as normal as any student, take notes, head out quickly after, don't engage in conversation like the other girls after lecture. And if I've gone a bit batty in writing the journals that are due every other day, I'm doing my best to sound loony bat crazy even if I am witty and esoteric and feeling genius everytime I sit to write the next one. If he just wouldn't look at me the way he does while he's lecturing. Yeah. Danger danger.
I've been married and gone through extra-marital crushes before. They never last too long.
Maybe if I felt like a strong, capable, sexy woman when I'm not acting like a little girl this wouldn't be an issue. Maybe I just need to keep taking that extra lithium and ativan.