I have for the most of my life been able to handle just about anything that was handed to me. My mother was abusive but I learned how to survive and even have some happy memories even though I had to tap-dance around her craziness. I was molested and date raped but with therapy and self help, I managed to heal and have healthy relationships with men. I grew up economically sound for the first 10 years of my life and then experienced poverty but now I can enjoy a very nice middle class life. I’m pretty flexible like that. However, I experienced something yesterday that caught me off guard.
During lockdown no one went anywhere. For an introvert like me that was heaven. When I HAD to go somewhere the roads were empty and quiet. As things opened up the roads got busier but was nothing like it used to be so it was still very manageable. I have to add that I do not find city driving pleasurable in any sense regardless of the situation but have been able to avoid accidents and get around without any problems.
Yesterday, I had to run a couple of errands. I needed to drive 20+ minutes to drop off fruit at the middle school for a teacher’s breakfast. The drive there was very busy for 6:00AM. I guess many people are returning to work now. I was a little uneasy as people whizzed past me even though I was driving 5 miles above speed limit. People were honking at each other when the lights BARELY turned and remembered the news stories about people shooting at each other during road rage. That made me a bit edgy. Still, I got where I needed to go safely and dropped off the loot.
Next, I needed to go back to town and pick up Doughnuts at DD. On the trip back it was equally busy, to my surprise and I wondered out loud why there was so much traffic going this way. As I made my way home from the restaurant, I saw a huge shadow looming next to me on the road and it actually startled me. A. Shadow. Yes, you read that right. A grown woman was driving and jumped because of a shadow. It was a school bus. I had not encountered one in over a year and it caught me by surprise. I couldn’t even laugh because my heart was beating so fast. As it drove past me I felt like and idiot and wanted to laugh at myself but all I could do was sweat and shake. Did I just have anxiety over a damn shadow?
I feel broken.
I have always prided myself in being strong. I was usually the friend that comforted others. I interpreted medical records, filled out governmental paperwork and shopped for my illiterate mother as young as 10 years old. I worked 30 hours a week at a gas station while maintaining a straight A average in high school. I stood up to bullies who called me chink and asked me if I could love them long time. I woke up at 5 am and went to bed at midnight and kept up with all the essay grading while I was a high school English teacher. I had 5 failed pregnancies and still managed to stay sane enough to have two healthy babies. Now at age 53 I jump at the sight of a SCHOOL BUS? WTF?
I got home and I felt so tired. I told my husband about it and I could see in his eyes he thought it was a little over the top. As I sat and thought I tried to forgive myself. I reminded myself that it has been a really rough couple of years. Daddy was diagnosed with lung cancer, I was a caregiver, I witnessed Hospice, then the lockdown and pandemic, then the political nuttiness sprinkled with hate crimes of all sorts, menopause. . . I don’t think it was the school bus. LOL
Everyone has a limit to what they can take emotionally and I think I’m at my max level. I must be kind to myself. I do believe I will get stronger but if I don’t then I will love the new me and adjust. I do not have to be everything to everyone. I went to the pool and worked out for 45 minutes and I felt tons better. I went to bed early and this morning I do feel stronger. I am going to have to be patient with myself. I am not the only one going through anxiety, I am sure of it.