My apple cart has been overturned…again


My apple cart…a metaphor for my mental state.   

I go through my life putting apples in my cart and push it on the path that is, at times, anything but smooth.  I try to keep it steady.   I try to fill the cart with a reasonable amount of apples, but inevitably too many apples are piled into the cart.   I try to maneuver the cart carefully over the bumps and ruts, but as expected, occasionally an apple bounces out.

This is my anxiety.  I hit a bump and an apple or two bounce out.   I carefully stop the cart, balancing it so no more apples spill out.  And then I look for the apples, check for damage, put them carefully back in the cart and then proceed along the rugged road of life.  

Most times I can see the big ruts or bumps and can prepare for the loss of an apple or two.  Before I admitted I needed help, that damn apple cart would roll down a hill and spew apples all over the place.  I wouldn’t even chase it…couldn’t chase it.  I would throw my hands up, yell “f**k it” and let the insanity engulf me.

After counseling and with medication, I found I could actually avoid big bumps or better yet, leave the apples behind and keep moving.  But this is a still very very fine line.

Sometimes, when I don’t see the rock jutting out of the path and I hit it, apples spill everywhere.  The apple cart is overturned.  When that happens I’m done.  It’s not a nuclear meltdown.  It’s not a series of panic attacks.  It’s inexplicable.

Well it has happened.   I was being exceptionally careful because apples had been bouncing out lately.  Job stress, weight concerns, finances, vacation time, grandbaby on the way, and the other usual adult stressors.   But then my hubby was in a car accident.  He was fine.  It wasn’t his fault.  Other driver was fine.  But I didn’t see that rock.  The apple cart overturned.  I didn’t think it was happening.   But the day after the accident, the cart was empty and my apples were scattered everywhere.

I’m there now and I don’t know how to get out.  

I’m mad at myself.  The self-loathing is back.   A distraction, perhaps.  So I don’t have to gather those damn apples up.  I can’t do anything right.  I talk too much.  I beat myself up for the way I look.  I’m constantly begging for validation and refuse to accept it when I get it.  It will NEVER get better (that is sarcasm).  Ugh.  I hate that I hate myself.  God bless the patience of my husband.

I feel like I am reaching out for that thin wire to pull myself up.  Back up to the land of the sane.  I hate this place.  I’m numb, but my brain is hypersensitive.  It “hurts”.   The sounds, feelings, emotions, nerves….all raw.  My brain feels like my skin does during a migraine.  I can feel pressure changes, or so it seems.   Hypersensitive.  I want to cry, but can’t.  I want to laugh, but can’t.  

I know it will pass.   But I m here now.  And I hate it.

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So this happened today…

To the man in the “Fire police” vest at the scene of my husband’s accident this morning – you may not recall seeing me but what you said to me had a profound impact on my state of mind.  

You see…at 5:43 a.m. this morning I received a call from my husband.  Instantly I knew from his voice something bad had happened.  He said he had been in an accident. He thinks his wrist is broken. The car…totaled.   And could I come get him. 

He quickly gave me the location and I asked him if he was otherwise ok and he responded with “I think….” and then began speaking to, I presume, the emergency personnel that had arrived at the scene.  

I ran upstairs, dressed quickly, scribbled a note for his son, and took off driving the 35 minutes through the back orchard roads and tiny villages to get to my husband. I was alternating between praying and thinking of the “what am I going to find” scenarios.  

From the bottom of the hill, I can see the line of stopped cars and flashing lights. My heart is no longer beating. We inch forward and I am desperately trying to find my husband among the mangled cars and emergency personnel. 

That’s where you come in…

See you don’t know me. You don’t know that I struggle with anxiety. That every single thing becomes a loud noise in my head.  You don’t know that the whole way to the scene…the 35 minutes I was on the road to my husband…that every worst case scenario played out in my mind in rapid and incomplete succession. I am sure you get your fill of nosy rubberneckers who ask stupid questions.  I am sure directing traffic at 6:20 a.m. was the last thing you wanted to do.

But finally I am able to make my way up the hill.  I pull up beside you and say “it’s my husband…where should I stop”. To which you replied “he was evac-ed from the scene.”  Through the sound of blood rushing in my ears, I asked you to which hospital. You said you didn’t know. 

I creep forward to the next man in the fire police vest. “Please do you know what hospital my husband was taken to?” He said no. I asked him who would know. He said maybe the police there. He told me to park behind a red car but I could no longer see or hear anything. I did a sloppy U-turn of sorts and pulled up to the wreckage. 

I jumped out of my car. I’m numb.  I’m shaking.  Someone beside me says…”why are you getting out. Don’t get out of the car, I’ll sit with you.” My husband had to literally speak to me for what seemed like forever until I could comprehend it was him. He was there. Cradling a very swollen wrist but otherwise seemingly ok.

I grabbed him and bear-hugged him, which no doubt bothered his badly bruised ribs and neck. I told him what you said. I stammered that I was scared…he said you were taken to the hospital.  I caused him more stress he didn’t need.  I was beyond controlling the anxiety – it’s a very thin thread of control on a normal day.  We didn’t need that. He didn’t need to calm ME down at that point. HE was the one hurt, traumatized.  All because you wanted to be funny or sarcastic or you were just not in the mood to deal with people. 

You emergency personnel do a job many of us could not do and see things many of us could not handle and for that, I thank you.  I do not hold a grudge.   You don’t know me.  Another person might have simply let it go.  My husband has asked me to let it go.  He is fine.  So…I am letting it go the way that works best.  

New Addition

Our puppy was born today.  We will not get to meet him until mid-June.  We had a name, changed his name, and then changed it again.  I’m blogging now because I’m nervous.  My boys are dog people, and that’s understandable.  Hunting and such is their passion and this puppy will be raised to help hunt.  

I love all animals and that includes my cats.  But my cats are full of personality and that personality and my husband’s personality seems to clash more often than not.  Ajax…well despite never being allowed in our bedroom, whines, cries and scratches at the bedroom door….c o n s t a n t l y.  Now if we lie in bed in absolute silence, and that means basically holding our breathe, for 5 minutes he will lie down outside the door.  But then God help us if we doze off and snore.  Ok, I’m exaggerating but only slightly.   This behavior is getting worse and Ajax latches on to the doorknob and tries, noisily, to turn it.  If it is the early morning, I will put him in the laundry room, but then Leo picks up with singing the song of the cat people outside our door.

My husband would never hurt an animal but his frustration with the cats lately have me worried that bringing our new baby home is going to cause even more tension between them.   We haven’t ironed out some details such as do we move the litterbox or leave it an hope the puppy stays out of it?  I free feed the cats dry food.   How do we keep the puppy out of their food?  Of course puppy will be crated at night, but where?  If the SOMH keeps the puppy in his room, Ajax will undoubtedly sing outside of his room and cause the puppy to whine.   If puppy is crated downstairs, how will we keep the cats from harassing this sweet ball of fur and thereby causing the puppy to whine.  And Leo…poor Leo…he is so very skittish that he doesn’t bury his “gifts” in the litterbox.  What will he do with a frisky inquisitive puppy?!!!!

This is life in my brain.  Puppy is not even here and the what-ifs have started.  I asked my husband to make suggestions and he made some smart-aleck joke about the cats (which of course become “my” cats when he is frustrated).  The joke was not productive and I know we have time but ugh….such an exciting event has to be overshadowed by my crazy, irritating brain.