The rest of the story
I have had a reoccurring dream, be it a real dream, a day dream or a night terror. It has come in all forms. It began when I had my 5th child. My husband was in grad school at the time and away 2 or more nights a week. I had just had my fifth child, with my oldest not quite seven years old. I would finally get to bed and be so exhausted, and yet be wide awake in utter terror. What if? What if I had to take someone to the E.R.? What if I got sick? What if the house started on fire? What if I was driving the van with the children and we got in a crash? and it started on fire and my glasses got knocked off and I had to unbuckle all these blasted car seats in the smoky darkness, essentially blind. what if I couldn't get them all, and had to leave one? Around and around these thoughts would go until I would have to get up, check all the children, the doors, the windows, the fire alarms. Every time I did get in the car visions of us careening into a lake, sinking quickly and me trying to unbuckle and save 5 children who couldn't swim would haunt me. I had other symptoms of post-partum depression at the time, but didn't recognize them. I was a mess. Gradually, I disciplined my thoughts and would banish these terrifying images from my mind. It took a year or more, but eventually I was able to put the terror behind me, and the panic attacks became few and far between.
Then as I was trying to drive home Tuesday, in our big white 15 passenger van, alone with the kids, a gust of wind nearly pushed the van off the road. Then the wind pushed our van across the lanes, and into the path of a semi-truck. Fortunately the driver of the truck was being cautious and slowed way down until I could get control of the van. I pulled on to the shoulder of the road, shaking like a leaf. This was just like the terror dreams of old! Here I was, stuck on a highway, in a winter storm with gusty winds, and the only way out is to drive on, until I get to an exit. That meant going over numerous overpasses, with the van getting pushed and buffeted the entire way. I tried to calm myself and stop the horrific images from going through my head, and drove on, flashers blinking and at a speed not exceeding 10 miles per hour. By the time I finally go off the highway, I was trembling from head to toe. And I was still so far away from home. Onward, until I saw the road on which one of my brother and his family lives. Saved! I got there, and was shaky the rest of the day. And Wednesday, and Thursday, and even today. Driving home on Wednesday was fine, the roads clear, no wind, streets plowed, and yet I was still terrified. All day yesterday, my body kept getting the panic feeling, and I just can't seem to convince whatever part of my brain is in control of this that ALL IS WELL NOW. Sheesh.
The worst part is, I knew the weather was going to be dicey, and I was invited by my other sister in law to stay another day at her house. But no, I made a bad decision, and it could have cost our family so very much. That is what is the worst. So, I do feel somewhat better after a good long workout this morning, and I can tell I'll be doing the "push that thought out of your head" thing frequently for a while, but thank God that is all I am dealing with, you know?
So, that's the rest of the story, why I kissed the ground when I got home, and why I'm staying put for a while.
Labels: Life is hard