Late last night, I went to my office to pick up a fax that had been sent over. It doesn't help that it was dark or that I generally have panic attacks at the office, but I wasn't prepared for my own reaction. I walked in, locked the door behind me and turned on the lights. I went to my inner office and glanced at the empty fax machine. I thought it was strange, as I had spoken to the client today who had indicated that the fax had already been sent. As I rounded my desk, I confirmed that the fax machine on my desk was empty and then, to my shock and surprise, I saw the fax sitting neatly in the middle of my chair....two and a half feet to the right of the machine. I began to shake. I looked around, picked up the now spooky paper and high-tailed it out of there. I breathed through my panic attack in the car and wondered why? Why do these weird things keep happening? Why does the universe seem determined to knock me off my footing? And why does it make me feel like someone is out to get me?
I'm a logical human being. I have no real reason to believe that someone broke into my office (and managed to lock the door behind them) to move things around just to terrorize me. It is a far more likely conclusion that the fax simply fell of the machine and drifted strangely to my chair. That is the unfortunate effect of anxiety and paranoia. I KNOW better, but I am still too easily shaken by the circumstances. Unfortunately, once it starts, it tends to grow.
Last night, around midnight, I was awakened by the shrieking of not one, but both of my little guys. It started from nothing, no whimpers, no restlessness, just hysterical crying. I walked into the room, in darkness, as I normally do. I tried to calm them, but they were both thrashing about and crying for me. I'll admit it. I was scared in the dark. What could have caused this level of hysteria in my two darlings, at the same time (normally they don't wake each other up in the night), and that couldn't be soothed? I turned on a night light. I was immediately startled by a blanket crumpled in between the beds. I'm embarrassed to say that I couldn't focus on calming the kinds until I had checked that blanket. Kaia seemed receptive first, so I soothed her until her shrieks were just gulps and fussing. I moved on to Mikko.
Mikko has night terrors. Before I knew what they were, they were alarming. He looks awake, eyes open, staring as far away from my gaze as he can get and he's inconsolable. Touching or talking to him puts him into a thrashing rage. Since I've gotten to know the signs, they're far less frightening. He has them weekly, so it's not a rare occurrence. I usually go in to make sure he doesn't hurt himself, but he settles down on his own.
I was already shaken last night when I went in. He was having a night terror, but because they were both crying, I wasn't sure that was what it was. He sobbed hysterically for five minutes. He called for me, which is rare during a terror. I went to him and he shrank away from me. At one point, he was running away from me into the various corners of the room. It was horrible. Even after he awoke, he cried in my arms for almost an hour. He kept saying he couldn't stop crying. I couldn't do anything right. I couldn't do anything to stop it. I couldn't help thinking that this was my fault too.
The more stressed I am, the more difficult time the kids have. They sense my panicky energy and they tend to get very touchy. There is more crying and more need (and I'm usually less capable of giving what they need because I'm struggling). Can they sense that I'm afraid? Is that why they were so afraid? Did something happen in their room? I seriously considered ghosts and poltergeists last night.
In the light of day, I see how silly this sounds. Yet, I can transport myself back in an instant if I think about how I was feeling, and the panic rises again in my throat. I'm always hovering on the edge: the edge of insanity, the edge of panic, the edge of broken.