Thursday, August 28, 2008


I'm later with my anniversary post than everyone else. Last week was a real pisser for me. I was PMSing and didn't realize it. I wish it was just bloating and irritation. No, last week it was overwhelming anxiety and panic attacks. I was a mess. Thankfully, PMS passes and the day before I ran the bravo flag (color: red, meaning: hazardous cargo) up the old flag pole, I started to feel sane again.

But, I still feel down. We are still renovating the house we were trying to renovate last summer. We are getting close to finished, but we've run out of money. It's breaking us and I'm making choices like "car insurance or food." It does not help that I cannot work on the city house and work-work at the same time. There are not enough hours in the day and my health has declined such that I simply cannot do it.

And the only thing I could think last week, between my depression and anxiety over problems both real and bio-chemical, was that THIS was the year I became too sick to work. Not that I'll be able to get disability any time soon--if ever. Just that I've lost so much of my nerve, and so much of my brain power and energy, I feel like a shadow of myself.

I am not the woman I was. I don't write very much and when I do write, it can be like drowning in anxiety before I can so much as type a single word. I can't even contribute to a damned BLOG in a reasonable manner. I'm terrified that if I went and sought out a gig that I wouldn't be able to overcome the anxiety and meet the deadline.

Yet, this past year saw many high points. My second technical book was published last October and like it's ancestor, was a best-seller. I landed a HUGE contract with a software publisher in NY and tallied my biggest year ever dollar-wise--one reason why the house STILL isn't finished--I spent the winter working on the contract.

My kids adjusted to their new school and we found that we really loved farm life. I became a Girl Scout leader--ME, a Girl Scout Leader! And I went CAMPING! It was amazing. I have had such a blast with those girls (my AK included). "this was more fun than I thought it would be," said AK of having me as a leader. You can't get better than that.

But then the contract ended badly--and I lost a lot of confidence, because the reason it ended badly was the unbearable anxiety attacks I was having--now it turns out, maybe they were associated with the increased amount of pain medication I was taking. We ran through the money I had made and saved. I took the summer off to work on the city house. The price of gas shot up into the stratosphere making farm living much more expensive. And as the physical pain increased, and the financial pain increased, I started to spiral downward. Some days, I am hanging on my the nubs of my broken finger nails.

But, anyone who knows me from an email list has probably seen the Camus quote in my signature:

"In the midst of winter, I finally realized that deep within me there lay an invincible summer."

And lately, somewhere, deep inside, under the pain meds and the fear, I can feel that tiny., little, guttering season of hope--my own personal, invincible summer. And it's still warm. And I find an enthusiasm for working, for writing, that I didn't think I could muster. The city house WILL finally go on the market in a couple of weeks. And we will survive--maybe a bit dinged by slings and arrows of outrageous fortune--we WILL survive. And the anxiety will pass. And I will write again. And money won't be so tight. And I will write another technical book--may it be a best-seller too! I am not too sick to write. I WILL NOT BE TOO SICK TO WRITE! I refuse. I am every bit the woman I was.

I just have to hold on, bask in the glow of that inner summer, until the outter winter of late August is finally over.

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