Anxious. Lonely. Scared.
I wake up panicking and find it hard to unclench the ball of anxiety tightening in my chest. I meditate on the image of a flickering candle flame and try to still the quiver into a steady centre but it won’t. Nothing really eases the anxious feelings except getting up and just doing something, usually the same small repetitive endless bloody tasks like wiping the toothpaste splats off the mirror, replacing the loo roll that no-one else does, feeding the cat, washing dishes that seem to accumulate mysteriously overnight, blah blah blah – and many other more unsavoury tasks that I won’t dwell on (boys and cats, that’s all I’m saying) but there is a perverse satisfaction in tidying away their traces. At least they are things I can do something about.
Mundane activity kind of eases the worry (when I'm not too absolutely knackered) but then again it just pushes the source of anxiety back into the background and much of the time being busy is just a tranquilliser and it doesn’t address the root cause.
Which is –
I worry about Nick all the time. How much worse he seems to be getting. I realise that however hard things seem now, probably this is as good as it will get and we should make the most of this time together.
Is he happy? I don’t know. Left to his own devices he seems to spend so much of his time just slumped in his chair staring into space. I want to make his life as happy and loving as I possibly can and yet nothing I ever do will fix it. Whatever I do will not be enough.
I worry too that caring fills my head and takes up all my available energy and it is becoming very hard to have any kind of life outside this bubble. The support network I envisaged creating for Nick, for him to have some friends as well as to take the pressure off me, well that isn’t there. I have been too solitary, too caught up in my own life and haven’t nurtured those connections.
It’s not that I don’t have friends – but they are all caught up in their own lives too and it’s a big enough deal to make arrangements to see each other let alone to organise social activities that could include him too. A lot of people really just can’t handle it. I see that it takes a brave friend to take it on.
So, no support system. I hadn’t realised how quickly that can fall away, and without the carapace of any group or organised activity it is very easy to become isolated. I feel I am slipping slowly out of sight.
And that’s me – an able-bodied person out in the world with connections and neighbours and friends and a job to go to. I can skip down the steps, go for a swim, drive a car. Phone someone, write a postcard, nip to the shops, have a chat on Twitter.
What can it possibly be like for Nick, who has no other options?