"Lotus Opening" by L. Folk

Monday, April 15, 2013

Compartmentalizing Richard Parker

It's 6:30 am.  I woke up at exactly 1 am and 4 am, just as I do every night.  The comforter is tumbled to my side of the bed because of all my fumbling.  Outside is a golden haze.  I was just dreaming of walking a friend to Salem.  She was pushing a baby doll in a carriage.  My mother was ahead of us, pushing her own baby doll.  We were headed to the ocean where there were large rocks and teal colored waves.  It was a beautiful inlet, but there was rumor of a storm coming.

When I wake up at exactly 1 am, I am stricken with panic.  I go downstairs and make myself a warm cup of milk, take a half of pill and head back upstairs to bed.  I fall asleep, only to wake up at 4 am.  This time I eat a piece of bread and take another half of pill.  I obsess about my blood sugar at this point, because I am convinced that it is somehow wired to my anxiety and when it is low, I shoot awake.  This half-insomnia is causing me a great deal of stress and is virtually usurping my waking life too.  I am have no appetite and get pleasure from nothing.

I feel as if my anxiety is Richard Parker, the tiger in The Life of Pi hogging the life boat and I am the Indian boy hanging on to the flimsy make-shift raft.  I feed Richard Parker because I know the relationship between blood sugar and anxiety.  But its become a chore, always making sure he's fed.

The doctor says stress is causing this madness.  I suppose that is true.  But something chemical feels involved, as if, perhaps I am going through some sort of postpartum depression (albeit a little late).  Or it could be that I have let go of the dream, my dream of being a published, well-respected writer and I am, well, adrift.  Or it could be that I am so freakin' bored, I am making up my own dramas.

When I decided to write this blog, I opted for honesty.  I know there have been quite a few posts on fear and well, that's what's real for me now.  (I am slightly embarrassed by it, as if I should have it more together).  I am hoping others will share their stories of anxiety so that I will feel less alone.  Because I tell you one thing, in the middle of the night, when I've got Richard Parker breathing down my neck and I'm looking into his mesmerizing eyes, I feel very alone.

I suppose one must practice having balls in a situation like this.  So here it goes:  Listen Richard Parker, move the fuck over.  I'm the captain of this boat.  You need to get below deck, descend to the depths of my subconscious and romp around with the rest of the animals down there.  This place of consciousness is my domain, goddamnit. 

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