When I read today’s Daily Prompt, Panicked, it screamed to me. Truly screamed.
I have been feeling some stress and anxiety the last few days. I couldn’t quite put the exact emotion into words until … I saw today’s prompt. Panicked. That was it. That is what I am feeling.
I am the kind of person who likes to be in control of situations. At the risk of sounding cliche or pathetic – it originated in my childhood. I am the youngest of four children. The youngest sibling sometimes has a reputation of being carefree and maybe a little lost. The idea is that the older siblings tended to all of the youngest sibling’s needs. Their needs were met and even exceeded due to the amount of loved ones doting over them. We didn’t have to wait for gratification because someone was always there to fill our needs. This would be true, I suppose, if the siblings are relatively close in age. However, in my case, my siblings were a different generation than I was. My sisters were having their own children when I was just starting 1st grade. My mother, was not thrilled by my arrival either. She had raised 3 children and was getting ready to enter the workforce. You know, fulfill herself. – that kind of thing. Then, along came ME. All of her plans were changed. It was the 60s so, really just the woman’s planned had to be altered. The men just kept plugging away. It was all the mother’s job to raise the children. The factors combined to form a childhood where my dog was my best confidante and companion. I spent a lot of time by myself, figuring things out. Unfortunately, I didn’t always give myself the best advice. I was shy and struggled with relationships. I discovered alcohol was a great way to loosen the strings of societal anxiety.
I married my High School sweetheart at 19 and had a kid by 23. It was a planned pregnancy and the baby was perfect. However, during my 20s, I turned to drinking more and more to cope with life. I felt I couldn’t survive any social encounter without being liquored up. It was a way to control the situation, I thought. I have a few drinks and then I am witty and charming, right? Wrong. So Wrong. My drinking became habitual and I drank everyday.
My first marriage was mutually dissolved and somehow I struggled through the 30s. I still drank and it just became part of my routine. I got a job and then a better job. I started college and generally improved my situation. They used to call it “functioning alcoholic”.
By 40, my son was a grown man and I quit drinking. I had finally done it. I quit drinking. I met a new man and got a new job in a new city. Life was finally looking good.
But, as life has a funny way of doing, it didn’t take long for my world to unexpectedly and drastically change.
I went from being a career woman with 3 grandchildren and a new husband to a single grandmother raising her 3 grand daughters all alone.
Enter today’s prompt – Panicked.
My second husband has decided to start drinking too much and acting like he is 25 again. I currently have no regular income and I have 3 little girls counting on me for everything. We also have 2 dogs, 5 chickens and 3 ducks running around the yard. I have constant clutter on the dining room table and dirty dishes in the sink. I feel like, at any given moment, I am letting someone down. I am worried the Electric Man will show up today and demand $300 for the electric bill or shut the electric off. I am worried that I won’t be able to buy the girls the equipment they need for softball. I am worried that I will never find someone to go out to dinner with and laugh with. I am panicked.
I know the best way to drive away negative thoughts is to send out positive thoughts. I know all about gratitude journals and meditation. I exercise and pray. But, panic seeps in.
The release of these words and thoughts onto this page have helped me to clarify my mindset. It has helped me to see my thoughts and feelings form into words on this page.
Thank you for this prompt. I can’t wait to read others interpretations.