While the semester is finally over, and I've done all I can at this point, I still don't feel like I have room to breathe easy. After all, after this residency in three weeks, I have one semester left before I'm done. I graduate, if all goes according to plan, in January. My thesis is breathing down my neck.
Maybe the stress of the final push is what has me in this weird place. Or maybe it's the lingering effects of all the time spent stressed about doing the single mom bit during the two deployments aboard yon ship; perhaps it's even the the stress of the IA that still hasn't let go. I'm inclined to think it's likely the latter because my chest has constricted just a bit tighter since we learned that two folks from YodaMan's old digs died from an IED along the route he used for dozens and dozens of convoys. Maybe it's knowing that timing and absolute luck means he avoided the fate that others have now endured.
I know this sensation. I nursed it through some pretty gnarly depression, when I developed agoraphobia and panic attacks. Long story about where that started, but it officially hit me during YodaMan's first sea tour when I was stranded in a strange city thousands of miles from my family and friends literally two days after he checked in to the ship. That sense of panic and unrelenting impending doom hovers over me constantly, and when I think about all the possible ways our lives could come to a bone-sucking stop, I start to freak out.
My logical mind knows this is pointless. I can say to myself a hundred times that all is well, but I still feel every day as if the other shoe is ready to drop. I'm scared to get on the plane to go to residency at the end of this month - it might crash. I'm scared of another IA - for obvious reasons. I'm scared of schools and stores and, gods help me, even the commisary - what if someone comes in with a gun and starts shooting? See where this is going? Yeah. Nowhere productive.
Like I said, it's pointless and completely illogical, and I know it like my best friend's favorite drinking story. I know the edge of a panic attack that's ready to eviscerate me. I know it, yet there's every likelihood I won't be completely rid of the fear until all threat of another IA has passed, until I know that even dangerous sea tour deployments are no longer a possibility. The IA, and I'm somewhat sure it was the final straw in this perpetual fear cycle, has left a deep scar that my soul is trying to patch.
[And for the record, I'd also like to insert here how completely, utterly, ridiculously fucking insensitive and me-me-me I feel considering my husband is home. Safe. Healthy (well, minus the black lung from Kabul's fabulous air quality). I have nothing to complain about considering the nightmare and challenge some spouses have to deal with. Unlike the bulk of his compadres, he isn't suffering from massive liver damage. Nor is he seeing a doctor for lung treatments. He hacks a lung during long runs, and glory be, the phlegm is now grey rather than black. He is just fine. And that makes me feel like a complete asshole for being so consumed with this fear.]
I have a plan, and I know I'll be fine. It's time to resume my daily practice of mantra, meditation, and kala. It's time to find a place for regular ritual, or at the very least investigate the local UU church. It's also time to check in with the doc and make sure my chemicals are hunky dory and my anti-depressant and thyroid meds don't need to be adjusted. More than that, I need to search around for the source of this angst and address it. If it's school, that's easy enough - I have backup to catch me if I fall on my face, but I'm not likely to do that. If it's post-deployment bollocks, that's another bowl of cereal altogether.
In the meantime, I can swallow my fear for a few minutes by bitching up a storm. Commense bitching:
Dearest Navy, I'm really fucking annoyed at how long this stupid fucking promotion bullshit is taking. How fucking hard is it to look over a bunch of names, nod, John Hancock the fucking paper, and pass it on? Really? How hard? Oh, and for the record, dearest Navy, if you fuck my husband on this promotion, you're totally blackballed at Casa Yoda. I will make sure you are henceforth deprived of one of your best sailors. He will not take another deploying tour. He will not take another IA. If you try to foist any bullshit tour on him, I will pull out every weapon in my arsenal to ensure he will not take it.
I guarantee it.
Now back to the regularly scheduled descent into crashing heartbeat, prickling skin, and shallow breath.