March 29, 2015
I’m terrified. Anxiety is closes my throat, knots my stomach and a hot rush through my bowels threatens to burn its way out. My muscles are tensed to the point of rock hard rigidity, causing me to shake with the effort to move, body visibly quivering with the need to take flight, but there’s nowhere safe to run to. My grip on any object I reach for is tenuous and clumsy, uncoordinated.
I haven’t fallen to the floor yet, but I fear losing my balance without having my cellphone within reach, so I carry it in my pocket without fail…on those days when I can actually get out of bed and dress myself in something that has pockets.
This happens to me on a daily basis, multiple times a day. The most devastating attacks occur when I’ve been awake for a couple of hours and the daily realization that I have nowhere to go sinks in. I set daily activity goals for myself and can complete certain essential tasks within a couple of hours, but once I reach the ‘additional, requires more information’ section of my list, the uncertainty of what to do next erodes the foundation of whatever temporary confidence I have gained.
During the worst period of immobility I’ve experienced so far, I didn’t shower or get dressed for three days. When I finally took off my nightgown, the rank odor of fear was so strong I could smell it from several feet away. My two cats stopped wanting to cuddle around day two of this stretch. I simply couldn’t tolerate the additional weight, negligible as it was, pinning into my nest on the bed.
You see, I lost my job a little over two weeks ago.
My health insurance runs out in two days and I didn’t receive the COBRA information in the mail until after their offices closed on Friday, thirteen days after receiving the news that I was being laid off. I carried my son, a college student, on my insurance and the packet I received did not list him as eligible for coverage. There’s no information about prescription drug coverage on the paperwork, either, which is critical for both of us.
I have managed to get out of the house for brief periods, to visit with friends and my parents. I have a friend, retired, who was a tremendous help during the first 48 hours—she would talk to me of things going on in her family to distract me and follow my erratic changes of topic without judgement. I am trying not to overburden anyone with my troubles yet my need for emotional support is great. Much of my identity is tied up with being useful and I have been informed in devastating fashion, that I am no longer considered to be a productive member of a team.