Apparently, it’s the plague of our age.

Yesterday, my oldest daughter passed out in my brother’s apartment in New York. She was alone, and frightened by her symptoms.  She tried to reach my brother, couldn’t, then called her dad.  He told her, rightfully, to call 911.

The assessment? Too much going on.  Not sleeping well, and not eating well. Why? She’s scared.anxious…to go to Africa, which is the overseas trip that she’s planned on for over a year.

I’m glad she finally admitted it. I’m scared to have her go to Africa. I truly believe that the program she’s going on is well travelled territory…they’ve had college students at the research center she’ll be staying at for several years now. She won’t be machete-ing through the jungle on her own.

But  we’ve also both been regaled with stories of strange parasites and illnesses you can catch there, and my daughter catches just about everything.

So she passed out.

My younger daughter told me three days ago that she almost constantly has a knot in her stomach or a squeeze around her heart. “Is that anxiety?” she asked.

“Probably.” I said.

I feel guilt and anxiety.  Their plans, their growing up, complicated by the breakup of her parents. I haven’t had time to focus on their concerns about this..really. In fairness to myself, my older daughter forbade me to talk about it, and I’m pretty convinced that her tendency to avoid makes her anxiety worse.  My younger daughter is angry. At least it’s an expression of something, and I also believe her relative lack of physical symptoms is due to occasional outbursts.

And it’s all complicated by the fact that they are teens, or barely not a teen, which is an anxious time.

On the other hand, what time of life nowadays is not an anxious time?

More and more is offered to us, and more and more is demanded. Paperwork. Homework. Practices.  Achievement. Commutes.  A virtual world and a “real world”. Passwords to remember,  to prevent the worry of identity theft. Maintenance on too many possessions.  Going too far (read Africa) too fast. Children taking college level courses at the age of 14 (so they won’t be left behind).Money for retirement/college/groceries…it seems to me money anxieties are rampant, and I know the quite well off and the quite poor.

Recently my friend gave me this article in the Atlantic:

Admittedly, this man may have more anxiety than most of us.  But it’s worth a read..just to see what anxiety is, and how we fight it, and how prevalent it is.

I had a friend once who had this strategy. He decided he was always worried about money, so he allowed himself one hour in the morning to really worry about it. After that, he said, he tried to remember that he didn’t’ need to worry, because he’d already done it, and get on with his day.

I’m going to try really hard not to worry about my daughters today, and about myself. Do what is reasonable, and let it go. And not let anxiety rule my life.images


2 comments on “Anxiety

  1. I’ve been having a week like yours maybe…I have an “almost teen” also, and she has been suffering some anxiety/emotional moments herself…which in turn affect me. We are doing the best we can with the cards life has dealt us in a world that seems to disagree with us at every turn under circumstances we never wanted to be in to begin with…hold strong. You are a mother…stolen from a post recently…”It takes someone really brave to be a mother, someone strong to raise a child and someone special to love someone more than herself.”

    • Thank you. I find my oldest girl very challenging..starting at about age 12. She’s a sweet kid and very, very smart, but she functions like her dad, which drove me crazy and was part of why I couldn’t continue. The avoidance bothers me the most. plus the guilt I have over not sticking it out with dad and “keeping things the same”. I honestly couldn’t make myself. I appreciate your support. It’s nice to know that people are out there with similar struggles.

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