Emotional Toll

June 10, 2003

Tonight for the first time in weeks I had a fairly major throat episode. I have been doing much better managing my Shotski's ring of late, but this evening it took three trips to the bathroom and a complete emptying of my stomach before I was able to relax and eat. When my throat reacts this way it is always a sign that I am holding something back. I am figuratively swallowing something I don't want and my body reacts by clamping down on my throat.

After I returned from the bathroom Michele tried to draw me out a bit to see what might be causing my anxiety. I wasn't very responsive and we moved on to other subjects. Through out the evening I was focused on the negative aspects of our new kitten. Dinkus, as she is called, is full of energy and attitude. At one point in the evening she walked across my laptop keyboard causing the Mail application to open a new window for each and every piece of mail in the current folder. I was forced to shut down my computer in order to regain control of it. My anger reaction to this upset me as I am not normally that volatile.

After going to bed my wife and I were bombarded by our little Dinkus. She was everywhere on the bed at once. Chasing her tail, nipping at our hands, under the covers, on the covers, and on and on and on. I grew very short with her and unceremoniously dropped her on the floor. I felt like I was ready to explode. My beautiful, incredible wife put her hand on my chest and asked what was going on.

The dam inside me burst and I poured out a torrent of fears big and small. I cried and described how out of control I felt about our situation. I railed against the unfairness of it, and I talked about how helpless I feel. Not knowing what will happen is taking an emotional toll on me. One that I need to heed and vent or I will pay a steep price. I feel as thought I am walking a thin line between being okay with this and slipping into a deep depression. I know that by talking about it and letting my anger and tears out I will be able to stay safe. And yet when I think about talking about it I become afraid that it won't do any good and I keep my fears inside.

Ultimately I know that I do have control over what I do and how I react to this situation. The trick is knowing that in the moment. At home it is easy to look back at the events of the day and put them into a perspective that I can live with. It's when I am at work, in the midst of a sea of uncertainty, fear, and anger that I can't see things from my perspective. I get caught up in the mood of the day.

I am truly fortunate that Michele is here for me. She gives me a safe place to fall, a safe place to let my guard down and cry. Without her I would not be able to face this situation and be true to myself. Deep inside me I know that is the real lesson here ~ being true to myself regardless of the current situation. In the tear-washed clarity that follows a night like tonight I can see my truth clearly. And the memory of that insight is what will carry me through the next valley, until I can see myself again.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.