I feel it seeping in, and I despise it: anxiety.
There are many reasons I can point to for it, both big and small. I have my master’s degree in counseling, and focused on grief and loss. I know all the stages. Although, I also know that there is a huge difference between knowing something and going through it. It is rather like reading about having a baby and actually giving birth.
As the result of a storm pushing two large oak trees through our house, we continue to have partial electrical power here, including none to the den/home office. I do admit that getting partial power six days later, then land-line telephones, then Internet twelve days post storm were big cheers. There’s still a walk-in hole in our bedroom, where I’m hoping the taped and nailed tarps will hold back animals and weather. We sleep in the smaller spare bedroom and have to get dressed in three locations, including from our dressers out in the living room. It’s business-as-usual for my husband’s job load, even though both of us find ourselves mentally “off,” as in giving word substitutions or simply “blanking out” mid-sentence.
It’s been two weeks since we’ve seen or heard from our tree removal guys. They are not picking up their phone and their voice mailbox is full. The roofers took out the branches from our garage, and the tree removal men cut the other tree from our bedroom, but there’s still a ten foot stump leaning near the bedroom window. We can’t start getting our house fixed until the leaning tree trunk is gone. We also can’t start yard repair until we know the heavy machinery won’t be making additional ruts and mud tracks in our lawn.
When the tree is gone, we can get the framing for the walls started. When we get the framing for the walls, we can have our roof replaced (while the bedroom and garage walls and windows get fixed). When the bedroom walls are done, we can get electrical power to the den/ home office next to it. There’s carpeting and painting and moving back furniture, too. We anticipate lots of plaster dust, which is healthy for neither humans nor computers. Anxiety. Our insurance person said she’d contact us three mornings ago. Still waiting. When will the tree guys return? How long will it be before we have full power? How much longer after that until our house is repaired and we will have some sense of normalcy?
I know, know, know that millions of others have it far worse than we do. People continue to fear and recover from tsunamis and hurricanes and tornados. Christians in Sudan wonder when strangers will come into their village to hack men, women and children to death. Then there’s war. Yes, my mind knows our situation does not inch close in the devastation as others have. Yet… there’s still the anxiety, that lingering-lingering anxiety.
The first sixteen days after the storm, I wrote over seventy pages in my journal. Some of the words were contact names and numbers; others were just jotted thoughts or incidences. As a writer, I wanted to take moments to write down things which I figured my mental state might not let me retain. I wanted to hold on to these feelings and occurrences, so that in the future, I can realistically put them into what my characters feel. But all right, all ready, I’m ready to move on.
Tree removal guys? The ball’s in your court. It’s time to swing back.
I need to do something normal — like work on revisions.