Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Troubled Morning

Though everyone tells me they can't imagine it, I have a real problem at the juncture of self esteem and anxiety. For the most part, I manage to keep my demons at bay. There's the keeping really busy. There's the avoidance of 'high risk' thoughts. There's the heavy work of keeping up a front that fools. I get by. Most of the time.

Last night, at 2:14 (I love the specificity of the digital age) I rolled over only to find anxiety's yellow eyes staring into mine. I was caught off guard. The rest of the night was tortured with worry over things that won't happen, panic over things that will, dreams that attack, waking moments of terror. I refused to get up. I refused to distract myself at the computer playing bleary eye'd 'eight letters in search of a word - multiplayer version'. No, I stayed and wrestled.

Now I'm up. My stomach hurts from being knotted for hours in the night. There is still the slight left over anxiety in my chest - not fully cast out, not fully in control. There is yet the need to reassert a sense of self, pick up the shatter bits from the floor by the bed and play jig saw puzzle for an hour or two. It'll be OK. I'll be OK.

Finally, I'll have to deal with the lingering messages of self loathing that are running around in my head like a song that's caught. Those will be harder to exorcise. Those come, unbidden, pretty much at will. But they rejoice in times of weakness like this. Times when anxiety has fought and won control of hours of my life.

But outside.

I'm fine - thanks for asking.


Jan said...

Hang in there Dave I hope things get better as the day goes on. Those personal demons are hard to deal with but they tell me that dealing with them makes us stronger. Know that I am thinking of you and would help if I could

Susan said...

Ah, now I understand much better why you "get" me... It's because we both belong to Club 2:14. I hope the demons have been dispelled just by the sharing. And thank God it's morning. I don't know about yours, but for the most part, mine seem to hate the light of day.

Hang in there Brother. The lovely Susan (with no blechhh this time) is praying for you. And I'll try to remember to do it everytime I wake up at 2:14.

Anonymous said...

Dave --

In the words of my favorite Zen teacher, Cheri Huber, "If a voice is speaking to you that is not speaking with love and compassion, DO NOT LISTEN TO IT." And "speaking to you" includes the endless recitation of what you've done wrong and the predictions of how things will go wrong in the future (that is, assuming your mental tapes sound like mine do).

You might find her books interesting. Her best-known book, and the one I usually recommend, is (Regardless of What You Were Taught to Believe) There is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate. It's been amazingly helpful to me in beginning to learn to disregard the voices telling me how inadequate and unworthy I am, and in learning to be happy right now, right where I am.

Warm regards and best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Dave you have changed my life for the better of humanity, I try to pay that forward. In my book... you "are the change I wish to see in the world". You are sacred to me even though I don't know you personally. So, with that I hope in the middle of the night when the demons come to visit you don't let them take stock and build a home. What I am trying to say is Dave DO what your great at and that is helping and expecting people to change to be better people. It works, I am living proof! Many blessings dwell within you, and are here for a reason. Further more those damn demons better just leave you alone! (Yes I have a sassy side). I hope this message is lifts your heart a little and lets a little sunshine in. Try a little mint tea for the tummy it the aroma even eases my mind at times. I'll read your blog tomorrow.

steph said...

"...only to find anxiety's yellow eyes staring into mine."

This is going to haunt me all day.


Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Just want you to know I am sending good vibes your way. Those night time demons are sometimes hard to banish completely in daylight.


Cynthia F. said...

Hang in there Dave! It takes many years to erase or quiet the "recording" of hatred and meanness we carry around in our heads. I hope it's a small comfort that you've brought love and joy and enlightenment to others - known and unknown to you.

Anonymous said...

Next time you can't stop all of that crap from rushing in try to figure out how to build a dog house. I too wake to many of the demons in my head causing me to doubt myself. I can not turn off the negative thought process in my head. So, I work on trying to put together a new receipt or how to build something. For me it works and relaxes me enough to let the positive energy back in and eventually sleep finds me.

Among the people I work with you are thought very highly of. Sometimes in tough situations, at work or at home, I can hear things you have said and it helps me approach what I am doing in a different more positive way. I say "Dave Rocks" and I know there are many people that agree with me.

Besides, those demons can serve the purpose of keeping us grounded and not too full of ourselves.

I’ll be looking forward to tomorrow’s blog.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Hey, all, thanks for the positive messages both here and via email. I spent the day yesterday fighting back the waves of 'icks' that struck. But emerged victorious and feel pretty good today. 2:14 came and went last night - mercifully unnoticed.

Jen said...

I'm glad that you're feeling better today. The middle of the night club sucks, and unfortunately there are too many members. I don't know whether it's because we feel more vulnerable when it's dark outside, or whether it's the one time that some of us have any time to ourselves. Whatever it is, it can be difficult to deal with. I actually managed to laugh at myself a few weeks ago when I woke up and obsessed over something that I had done wrong well over 30 years ago...I had my panic attack, and calmed myself down, and then had a big WTF moment. Now, if I could only train myself to have those WTF moments before things gain full steam I'd really be ahead of the game.

While I don't think that we should need to have our 'daytime' face on all of the time, I've often found that journalling through an attack of the panic/I'm a horrible person/and look at all of the devastating things that could possibly happen helps a bit. When I'm able to go back and read what I was feeling and put it into perspective I can often put those specific thoughts to rest, even if I can be pretty sure that others will crop up the next time I wake up in the witching hour.

I wish you sound sleep and fewer unpleasant wakings, because I've seen (in concrete terms) the good work that you do, and how it helps so many people.

wendy said...

Oh Dave,

Been's not a good place! I'm glad you're feeling better.

Janine said...

Thank you for writing so openly and honestly about your struggles. Mine are intractable depression and PTSD from childhood trauma. The lonely hours of the night are the worst. I know what you mean about just not wanting to get up and do something to distract. My mind gets so wound up that nothing seems to soothe it. For me, prayer and my ipod help. Not to mention some pharmaceuticals that have negligible affect. Again, thank you. Your blog is a touchstone for me.

Joanna said...

This has worked for me, maybe it will work for you. Find a purely escapist novel in electronic format, preload it on your iTouch (Stanza is great for reading e-books on the iTouch, check iTunes).

The beauty of reading electronically is that you don't need to turn on a light, you won't disturb Joe and you can drown out those voices with a trashy novel.

As I said, it has worked for me when I have been where you were.