Yesterday when I launched my post, I noticed a slight lift of the weight that had seemed to be suffocating me these past days.
Distraction is no doubt the best way of dealing with stress and maybe it had helped. One has to move on.
What other choice is there?
It was getting late, so I went to the kitchen, thinking about feeding the dear little darlings.
On the counter was the elevated set of bowls we bought for Toby so very recently, hoping it would help him.
Catching sight of it was like a hard slap in the face.
As a kid I never cried. English children didn’t. It was a sign of weakness and to be discouraged!
Scraped knees and broken toys were soon forgotten.
It was separation from my mother that embedded itself deep in my heart and soul.
Thousands of children go to boarding school and don’t grow up to be emotionally damaged.
It was not so much the separation that pained me as the fact that it was unacknowledged.
My time at those early boarding schools was stressful. I realise now that being ostracised is traumatising for a child, and my parents did not even listen to my story, far less address it.
Separation anxiety has always been with me, perhaps a result of my mother’s six-week absence when I was only months old.
Mum told me once, why I don’t know, that after two weeks of breastfeeding me, she decided I must immediately adapt to a bottle.
One supposes that very young children forget and I am quite certain this is not true.
Separation anxiety such as I have is debilitating. It makes me appear mentally unstable which is why I have sought to understand from whence it originated.
It is certainly why I feel so deeply the loss of beloved pets.
Sadness is inevitable, but these losses reawaken the deeply imbedded pain of all those long-ago separations.
When you have identified the origin of mental problems, I used to think one was released from their grasp.
It is a start, but in my case I needed something more. Only it wasn’t something I had control over.
What I needed was for those who knew me to acknowledge the circumstances that turned me into a seemingly-neurotic person.
Accepting in good humour, names that were given me was all very well, but no-one seemed interested in what made me “The Grump”, for example.
Anyway, I had another meltdown last night and what I intended to say about that was that it is better to let it happen, cry the tears, feel the pain.
Because if you don’t, eventually you will choke on it.
Grant fortunately understands completely. We prop each other up as the waves of sadness come, striking us at different moments.
It is amazing to me that the mere sight of an inanimate object can provoke such a strong reaction.
“Don’t give it power over you!” I hear.
Yes, well, I am still learning how not to do that.
There’s emotional pain, physical pain and then there is itching. Given the choice, I would always opt for pain over itching.
Itching may be resolved with a good scratch but this leads to more severe itching and tissue damage.
Chickenpox, measles, my generation will all remember those childhood treats.
Cambodian mosquitoes were an additional delight of my childhood.
My legs were particularly tasty it seemed and I scratched till they bled.
As a defense against scratching at night, my legs were bound up in gauze but the wounds became infected, which made them sore as well as itchy.
The sores had to be anointed with iodine which stung and soon I got fed-up with this and made a fuss.
Mum knew how to handle a fussy child. She prevailed upon an American friend to dress my legs, knowing I would behave well for him.
It was a fairly miserable situation that was mercifully relieved when we took a brief trip to the sea.
Salt water cured the infected bites.
Instead, I acquired a severe sunburn but that soon healed. Somehow after that, I was not as much bothered by mosquitoes, at least not in Cambodia.
A whole variety of insects have bothered me ever since, however.
On the first warm day of any year, a selection of winged beasts descends on me, usually around the back of my neck which comes up in welts.
This Fall’s last bug found me.
One unseasonably warm day, a couple of weeks ago, idly brushing my bare arm I thought: “what’s this?”
A perishing tick.
It was removed and the mouth bits dug out.
It itched a bit but there was nothing else to do.
Yesterday, the itching became distracting. I am an expert on itching. When it’s really bad it can make you feel nauseated.
So eventually I went to the bathroom and ripped my sweater off to view the wretched thing.
It takes a bit to impress me, but the bite was flaming red, an inch in diameter and the surrounding tissue significantly puffed up.
I had felt vaguely off, yesterday morning, with a particular sort of headache, so came the thought:
Nah. It’s psychosomatic.
This morning I felt so crap I almost went to lie down, but instead took a dramamine tablet for nausea and a couple of some over-the-counter-thing-or-other.
Then I dished out cat lunches, had a cup of Milo and carried on, feeling revived.
When I had tick fever two years ago, I dismissed all the symptoms as being just a bad day and by the time I sought help I was seriously sick.
So I am paying attention and trying not to assume the worst. Serious itching is not necessarily significant.
For now, mercifully, it has stopped.