I recently had to see the doctor.
Not because I was physically ill.
I didn't even schedule the appointment; my husband did.
I needed to see the doctor, but my friend wouldn't allow me to.
As I sat waiting for the doctor, my friend crept up through my body.
My palms began to sweat.
My heart began to race...the doctor is going to laugh at me...there is nothing wrong with me...what will I say...how long is this going to take...I have to be back to collect Ethan...did I sign that thing for J?...will the doctor think I am going crazy...I think I'm going crazy...I am so tired...I must remember to ring Temple Street...is it bin day tomorrow?...the doctor will laugh...I know it...God, I'm weak...
"The doctor will see you now, Geraldine"
Later that evening as I tried to learn more about my friend, I learned that 1 in 9 people will have my friend with them throughout their lifetime.
That floored me.
No one talks about my friend.
I contacted a few other parents in my situation (they all have children like Ethan), although my friend can become anybody's friend, I wanted to speak with my kin, my safe people.
I asked them straight out if they had my friend too.
I discovered that there are many different versions of my friend; my friend was just a version of somebody else's friend.
I learned that there are many different treatments which can help ease or help live with my friend .
I learned what works for one person's friend may not work for my friend - and that is O.K.
I learned there are still some whispers around my friend - I received many private messages answering my question, while many others simple commented openly on the thread.
I learned that was OK too...it is up to me how I choose to deal with my friend; the important thing is that I deal with my friend.
No one wants my friend...hell...I don't want my friend; I worry all the time, I don't sleep, I build up a simple task into something so much more, I lose focus, my belly churns at the thought of doing something I don't normally do or going somewhere I've never been or meeting new people, I find it hard to breath...it is endless and relentless.
My friend has a name: anxiety.
And I am not alone.
I am now learning to manage my anxiety, not trying to cope with it, which I had been doing for years.
And there is no shame in having anxiety!