I was starting to be able to set a clock by it.
Dave would come home for lunch. We would eat something, it was often my first meal of the day other than my coffee and handful of cashews.
(Because rules, I tried not to eat my first meal until after noon.)
We might close our eyes for a bit and then he would head back to work.
We were at the Urban Farmhouse then.
I can't remember when it started. It felt a lot like a panic attack with no panic attached initially.
I kept saying, "My heart keeps going out of rhythm."
I had no other words to describe it.
Sometimes it would last for hours. A panic attack would often come.
The most common times for it were 2:10pm, when I was getting ready to get in the van for the 2 hour commute picking up all the kids.
The other one was in the middle of the night or whenever I would first wake up to pee or from a dream.
I would go to the bathroom just steps away and my heart would be beating so fast I didn't know what I should do. Going back to sleep would take hours.
I was ready to go to the emergency room some nights, but I would just sit and wait it out.
Sometimes I would get home from picking the kids up and immediately pour a drink to try to settle my heart back down.
The last three years through separation and divorce have meant that I was for the first time a single mom, fully supporting myself and my kids financially, taking on things I never had to before (car registration and insurance and health insurance and bills and everything) sleeping alone at night for the first time since I was 19, running my own business and falling in love and building a life with someone in one of the hardest divorces I have witnessed. And five kids.
You just do it. You don't truly think much about it when you are in it.
I didn't realize the fight or flight I was in until we moved in May and my life completely changed.
It wasn't just me anymore. Someone was taking care of me.
For the first time in 3 years, I was safe.
And safe inside of love.
I had no idea how much fear I was constantly sitting inside of.
My heart wasn't racing anymore. I could pick up the kids without the panic.
Dave was so filled with joy with our house and our family being together and that he was taking care of me.
I can't explain what this man loving me feels like. But I can tell you that once we crossed through the incredible hell we had spent two years in and we were finally safe to become a family together, we are not the same.
We are still pinching ourselves that we made it. Because every single obstacle was there. The fear and judgments and secrets and sabotaging all around us would have made for a good reality tv series.
And we made it.
I told her about my heart and how I had been convinced I had a heart condition and that the Ambulance would come for me.
She asked me about it. She mentioned the weight gain that I have had over the last year that I can't figure out or budge.
She told me about her diagnosis of adrenal fatigue.
Her heart. The tests that have been run on her heart coming up with nothing.
The way she would get up to pee at night and then find her heart racing out of her chest.
She told me about her weight gain.
And then I read everything I could get my hands on about adrenal fatigue. We had learned about it in school, years ago, but I wanted stories.
I found this. I handed it to Dave to read. He asked if I had written it...
"I was packing my kids up for a trip to the park last month when I realized…something was wrong.
Work was finished for the day. The house was clean. My head felt clear, and the park sounded fun. But my heart was racing, and I felt riddled with anxiety. Full blown panic attack feeling had set in.
This had been happening more and more. This feeling that I was barely coping. Or, rather. The feeling that I wasn’t coping at all.
It scared me. As a single mom of four, working full time, shouldering the weight of finances and childcare, building a new love, maintaining a business, meeting deadlines, managing friends, trying to make yoga happen– life is busy. But, I’ve always been able to meet busy.
Yet the past six months, a near-constant anxiety has been building.
My hair has been falling out.
My belly has gotten soft.
My head feels spaced out constantly. Airheaded. Zoney.
My body doesn’t ever want to stop. Always itching to go. Even at bedtime.
Panic moments come. A lot. Randomly. Suddenly." - Brooke Lark (Cheeky Kitchen)
I have lost half my hair. The vertigo started last summer and has caused my balance to be challenged daily. I've put on 20 pounds with nothing really changing. I'm exhausted at the times when I used to have the most energy. And vice versa. I've been losing words, saying the wrong word even though I can feel it is wrong but it comes out anyway and struggling to sit down and write without falling asleep. My bleed cycle has been so wacky. And the heart. The heart was the worst of it all.
I also read that women who stay on a paleo diet for a long time are more susceptible to adrenal disfunction as well.
My internet reading wasn't to self diagnose but it was fascinating that it all matched up. The threads were finally making sense.
Now I am eating breakfast with him each morning. And lunch. And dinner at a reasonable hour (because I love to eat dinner crazy late after the kids go to bed).
I am honoring my soft(er) belly and not feeling as concerned about hiding it. Love it up. Love it up.
There are boxes of vitamins and minerals and oils and tonics and tinctures and teas on their way.
Walking. Swimming. Resting. Napping.
Dave and I have developed a beautiful way of communicating, with only a few little blips, it has felt like pure joy together.
We have been working on parenting the kids with some new patterns and support and patience and calm. They are responding in ways that blow our minds. This morning, after a potential melt down with our little one that we allowed to progress in his own timing, with his needs around moving through it and natural consequences as our guide, I looked at Dave and said, "Well, I am feeling like an awesome parent right now."
I am feeling ready to trust in friendship again, after some tough growing pains inside of that world of woman connections. Healing some little girl stuck fears and hurts. I believe that one might be the most healing of all. To open my arms and heart again.
Chloe (my 14 year old) and I just went to the store and got two new little fish. Plants are all around the house and she and I are learning to propagate succulents cause we lovelovelove them.
The lake house where we live in the summer and the kids go to camp is ordered, un-cluttered and so much of the old energy has been cleared. Don't underestimate the way 'stuff' holds the past hurts and traumas. Clear it. Get rid of it. Purge it. The house looks gorgeous and we are learning to relax inside of it. (Not our skill set, either of us.)
Instead of following the kids around and literally picking up every shoe, sock, cup, plate, tissue, toy, bathing suit, towel, crumb, book, iPod and more shoes, I am working to teach them to notice and take ownership of helping us create calm and peace in our house. This one is hard for me.
And I'm in love and I can feel it. In every cell. The way he loves me. From asking him to tell me he loves me over and over to the point of ridiculousness to being able to just wake up, reach over for his arm to anchor my transition from sleep, and feel it.
Feel his love.
Feel my love.
I don't ever want to stop writing about this love story.
The hair, the heart, the dizziness, the body, the loss.
Incredible metaphors and teachers during the burning down phase of our life.
And now to write from the ashes, watching it all grow.
With a heart that trusts it is safe. A body in the transition of healing. Words winding back in.