I’m a little wore out today, I had a heated discussion with our special needs son this morning. While some may believe you should coddle those with special needs. Our son, who is 28 years old with Asperger’s, has been treated pretty much the same as the rest of our kids. But even now he still has his moments and today wasn’t a good day for him or me.
It’s weird to say you had ground a 28-year-old man. But sometimes you do what you have to do. But just a few years ago this was a lot easier to do. Oh I may have been called to the school nearly every day. Or had to travel all over the place for his doctors’ appointments. But this one was a little different. Maybe I over reacted or maybe I just can’t take the pressure like I could before.
I’ve been a caregiver for over 30 years. First to my wife and then to our son. I also worked full time and was a parent to three other children. I don’t advertise this much to the world simply because there are millions of others in the same boat. Sometimes we don’t get to choose the things which we are burdened. Children with special needs, spouses that become disabled, or parents that require our help. But we do what we have to do.
I suppose all I’m saying is that I’m tried. It would be nice to focus more on myself. But in the back of my mind, there is always the greater need. I’ve been flat on my back enough to know you have to make time for myself. But as a caregiver, a father, and a husband it’s hard not look outside my door and know someone is depending on me.
How much more complicated do our lives need to be? We work in our offices or at the factory. We commute back and too every day, eat lunch off the four dollar menu, and wonder why we are so miserable. I know I’m lucky in a lot of ways. I spend most of my time managing my home and typing away on this tiny keyboard. While I miss a lot of life’s casual luxuries, I certainly don’t miss the hassle of an average life.
I have friends and family that run and run and run, all for that mythical bass ring. Yet what happens in the end? A one-way ride to the cemetery, dying way too young, with a house full of kinfolk fighting for your stuff. I tell my kids I’m keeping it simple, since I ain’t got nothing, just set my ass on fire and throw my ashes to the wind.
I know that might sound morbid or a little funny but isn’t there usually a grain of truth in anything. I’m not saying give up your bass boat or the house you’re working hard to pay off. What I am saying is stop for a minute and ask yourself, “Am I really happy?” More than likely, your answer is going to be no.
The point is get rid the things that are more trouble then they’re worth. You might be surprised how little you really need. This not only goes for the material things in life, but the mental and spiritual baggage as well. I used to think I needed to be surrounded by stuff. What I have discovered is the tighter the loop, the stronger the knot. Don’t let unnecessary burdens drag you down. Open your eyes, clear your head, and breathe in what life has already given you.
It all started around 1:30 this morning. The headache, slightly elevated temperature, sinuses congested, with a discomfort in my gut. Each one of these things don’t add up too much. But to someone with anxiety and panic, it adds up a long sleepless night. As I have described before, my anxiety comes in waves. Sometimes unexpectedly, but more often than not, with subtle reminders that the tide is going out.
It’s like a relentless torture coming at you from a thousand different directions. Not any one so over powering, but together they wage war against you mind and spirit. This one has been building for a few days. It’s effected my writing, my attitude, and my interactions with others. As my bride would gladly testify, “He’s not much fun the be around”.
So far I have awakened and fell back into a restless sleep at least four times. Each time waking up to the slightest belly pain or my eyes stinging and watery. I suppose I could just caulk it up to having a bad night. But after 20 years of dealing with GAD and panic, I’m pretty sure my self-diagnosis is correct. You see, my anxiety and fear can pick up on the slightest thing. While during the day my mind stays cloudy with anxious thoughts, restlessness, and a lack of focus.
This is nothing unusual, not for me anyway. I work hard to be proactive in my treatment through medication and mindfulness training. Writing is also a huge part of my daily therapy. But still there are those moments, when the tide falls. And all the muck and mud are exposed, so thick and sticky, that it could easily suck you down if you’re not careful. Tread lightly on the marshes of life and be respectful of the lowlands. They too serve a purpose the same as happiness, peace, and joy.