I’ve been thinking that I’d address this issue one day in the future, but after a chat with my mum just now in which she asked me if I really am OK without children, I think that day is now.
Four years ago, after a string of unsuccessful relationships, and nowhere near my prescribed ideal of having a family, I decided that by the end of the year (my 38th) I would find the father of my two yet to be born children. I needed two, of course, as that was natural and pragmatic, and I needed to start soon because I was nearly forty. My friends gave me advice and support, excited for my imminent motherhood. In April, a lovely man who I met at a community theatre fundraiser – I did the flowers, he was one of the actors – asked me out. By June I was in love. We had the talk about a possible future together which was when we realised I wanted kids and he didn’t. We broke up, I cried for really many more weeks than I expected, and I tried to find the next possible father of my children.
So yesterday, talking to my sister, we made the connection between my writing and my panic attacks. Yes there are all sorts of other anxieties but we can’t ignore the fact that on Saturday I printed off and read through the first 100 pages of my early memories, and on Sunday I was a wretching shivering mess of panic.
I have been writing about snippets of my childhood on and off for years, a loosely connected set of stories of my life growing up in the Moonies. I started this year with a plan to compile it into a concise piece of writing, and after an excellent course by Cara Jones on Untethering My Voice, I’m at the stage where I’ve nearly got a first draft.
So in an effort to still my scrambling mind, I turned to YouTube, my old friend and advisor, who knows me so well. Even the adverts he shows me are about wellness and meditation. And tonight YouTube tells me to watch this interview with Mooji. Yes I think I need to get a bit transcendental today.
It has got to the point where I can write again. The stomach wrenching anxiety has settled into an exhausted sort of headachy weariness, from which I can face the words that describe what has been happening. So much anxiety. My sister asked me yesterday how do I measure my levels. I suppose there’s a scale of 1 to 10. I’m mostly at around 5 or 6, which is when I am aware there is something beautiful, but I can’t see it. Yesterday morning, I could see that there was a beautiful sunrise, I knew that the delicate gold light rippling through the emerald green of the trees was beautiful, but I couldn’t see it. Anxiety sort of clouds over every thought with a dull grey blanket of engulfing dread. You don’t breathe properly, can’t really talk, can’t cope with complex emails or loud noises… It is just crippling. I have had a few days on and off recently, with small breaks in the darkness where I can eat, smile and breathe properly, till it returns. And while I’m in the grey space, I understand why some people just can’t cope with life. If you were in a constant haze of anxiety or depression how could you even be polite to people, let alone proactively thoughtful and kind? It’s just not possible. When I’m anxious I have zero ability to care about others. I feel bad for wasting peoples time or making errors while I’m in a bad way, but I don’t have love or compassion, just a different flavour of fear and dread.
At the end of my meditation, I like to imagine a lovely bright light from the universe filling my body. It’s a nice visual process of mentally cleaning out and strengthening myself for the day.
Today when I imagined this, it sort of surrounded me with an aura of white light, and formed the shape of a droplet around me, sitting crosslegged on the sofa. And it reminded me of what Chidi says in The Good Place, about being drops of water in a wave. We exist for a short time as our own unique droplet, and then we merge back into the sea. And I saw myself as a tiny drop of rain falling out of the sky. Next to millions of others in this particular rainstorm. And it is as if we have this few minutes after we’re formed in the cloud, to fall out of the sky, experience the magic and beauty of life, hurtling through the air along with the others, before we meet the ground, sea, tree, car park where all the other drops have gathered and we merge and flow into our next manifestation.
And how ridiculous is it that we spend our fleeting flight bickering, comparing, being jealous of, scared of, feeling judged by or misunderstood by the other drops. Who cares?! Just enjoy this short time, make the most of it, fly with drops who make you happy and stop trying to change those who don’t.
Because none of it really matters anyway, we’ll just all merge back in a puddle, in a water system, in the sea.
I may have mentioned that we watch lovely Helm De Vegas perform three times a week on a Facebook livestream from the corner of his house on the piano. Following a Queen Night, Eagles Night, Boy Band night and a 90s night, among others, a lot of us regular viewers have asked him to do a Pink Floyd Night, which he has said he would love to do, but not sure it would be for everyone. So tonight he got out his guitar and said, ‘This is for all of those who would love a Pink Floyd Night. I know Mr M is one.’
5.13pm. So grateful. Trembly. God I love the NHS. I phoned at about 2.50. Doctor called back for a phone appointment at 3.30. Explained chest pains and heart palpitations, she said you’d better come in then for a check. Real life appointment at 4.50. ECG was so quick, so brilliant, friendly lovely nurse, talked about the dilemma of what bra to wear for an ECG as she stuck stickers and wires on my chest and ankles.
Here’s what was scribbled in my notebook for Saturday.
10 p.m. I have just spent 6 hours writing! It feels so good. I thought I wouldn’t do well with him working nights but I am really enjoying my evening routine. Very focused time to do my reading, writing, meditating – all the evening practices, with the Moana soundtrack why not.
So I tried to go for a walk. Made it as far as the churchyard and sat down. Tried to meditate/plan/visualise but just felt weak and dizzy. Tried to enjoy the warm evening breeze and the cool grass between my fingers, but was too exhausted to sit up anymore. I was also annoyed that all through Lockdown I hadn’t sat in the churchyard. There’s noone there and it’s so lovely. Not when you’re weighed down by a wierd worried sadness though. The walk back was slow and heavy. What has happened to my energy? Just feel totally wiped out.
Back at the flat I tried to write a report, but to provide some happy background noise I YouTubed Eddie Izzard, which led on to a string of comedy clips, so that now, at 11pm, I have the beginnings of a report on winter flowers but I have a brain that’s been pumped with three hours of comedy. And I feel better. Thank you. Instead of the nurturing nourishing advice about positive chakra cleansing, I have Sarah Millican asking me if ‘severed cock was champion was it?’ and ‘bit of a slag are we, pet?’
I’m going to fall asleep to her gorgeous giggly northern tones instead of Paul Mckenna’s soporific sleep CD.
5.50am. I slept through the night! Thank you so much. And I just woke up smiling. Still feel punched in the chest exhausted, but the heavy sadness has gone. Hold on to this please, and maybe add a daily dose of comedy to your wellness routine.