I had difficulty sleeping in the early hours, as so often these days.
My mind was racing, feelings with echoes of anxiety throwing my focus around like a pinball – and very much away from sleep.
I think it’s a combination of old scars from the days when I was hospitalized perhaps further back, and natural nervousness about becoming a father – a major life change. Which sort of hit home right when I was also in a kind of mid-life throe.
For example, during the day a part of me will feel that I am probably not going to watch my son grow very old because I myself am relatively old.
There is sometimes the clear feeling that I will die when he is a teenager or young man at the latest. Which would be in my early sixties.
Another part – the thinking part – will then counter and tell my anxious part that these feelings are irrational at best:
– We’re in good shape and people generally grow older, chances are Char and I will be around when we are at least 70 and 80 and perhaps more.
– Nobody knows how long they will be around anyway, so why worry too much?
– I believe in Something Guiding – Something Deeper – and keeping up this world, although I can’t define it, much less prove it.
Why not trust that It has a plan for us, which will turn out to be good?
I have many more counters and I have honed them for years.
The point here, if one can call it that, is that I am still flung about by emotions like these anxieties of dying or getting ill before I can really watch my son grow up and help him do it. Even if I am only 42 now – which is nothing, right?
So I have what can only be described as irrational fears now that I am going to be a father.
Call them natural, they are still irrational.
There are 10 more reasons I could list with my rational mind why they are … irrational.
But they don’t go away. They come at me, very often, these days.
It is like a part of me is a truly scared child – a strange mirror of the little child I am going to take care of soon. Both are extremely vulnerable.
This inner child is now yelling at me at every opportunity with all his fears, once deeply buried, hitherto fears I believed were either transcended or controlled.
The ‘yelling’ usually happens in the mornings, but also, as mentioned, during the day.
However, those hours just before fully awakening and concentrating on other things, there is a thinness to my soul which the scared child is calling through.
And I have to use all my experience, my grown-up experience, to calm him.
A child who is about to become a father.
Or at any rate is about to change in a way that deeply disturbs him.
I wish I could say for sure that it was only this. But, as mentioned, it feels like this particular anxiety is tearing rifts in me, through which other anxieties – older, deeper – not ones I can even articulate – are seeping through.
You know, I once had knives in my head, when I was hospitalized 11 years ago. Literally. Knives. I saw death all around me.
So I am not worried about this particular anxiety. I will eventually find peace anew.
And as said, I think most of it is very normal. Shatteringly normal perhaps. But who dares to speak about it?
The only thing left is perhaps, as so often, to employ another powerful weapon: Humor.
Like a good acquaintance said:
‘It is a great time to be a father in your 40s – then you don’t have time to worry about your mid-life crisis!’
That and my preferred weapon these days, when my mind is ‘filled with grey waves’ from the morning:
Get up and do something practical. Enforce order upon what you can.
Don’t ignore your emotions. Don’t suppress them. Don’t try to escape. That’s not what I mean.
But start by ordering that part of the outer world which you can and then tap into the energy that you need to order your inner world.
Today I got a LOT of dishes done, cleaning and even ordered 5-6 folder of completely chaotic file groups on my computer.
Not much, but a start.
And it sure helped both me and Char feeling good about our little place.