Give Me Wings


I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly

I’d fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please

Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away   –   Lenny Kravitz

I started writing this in the air about about four and a half hours into a flight to Phoenix which was the first half of our trip to Hawaii. I pulled out paper and pen and wrote like a mad woman because that is exactly what I was. I think I made it clear that I don’t fly well and I was so screwed up in my head that the idea of pulling my laptop out of my bag felt like it would take Herculean effort…so I went old school.

I forgot how much I love to write by hand.

I had been up since 3:00 a.m. to get everyone ready to catch a 7:00 a.m. flight. Although exhausted and medicated sleep on a plane is next to impossible for me so this seemed like a good way to pass the time.

Preparing for this trip, seven days and five thousand miles away from home, had been a nightmare. More accurately, I had been a nightmare. The whole process seemed to be comedy of errors right down to the email opened at 11:00 p.m. to check in and get our boarding passes, five hours before we left for the airport, only to find the word in panic inducing bold…NOT BOOKED.

It was the wrong email.

Leaving our home, I inevitably believed I forgot to pack something vital or left another something plugged in or switched on that should most decidedly be unplugged or switched off. I made my husband stop at a shady convenience store at 4:45 a.m. so I could break every rule that I have about public restrooms and be sick.

Since the gods of travel apparently have me marked as public enemy number one, my twelve year old daughter set off  the alarm for an apparent random inspection which required the TSA agent to shout, “There! That’s her mother!” and pull me aside to search me and wipe down every single electronic device in my carry on. (I would have this happen twice more in two different airports on this trip but by the third time I was prepared to just strip down and fly home naked.)

For a bit my anxiety seemed to have fled. Until we sat down at the gate. I became aware of the cold drops of sweat forming on my upper lip and the steady increase of my heart rate. My stomach began to churn as the six of us took our place in line to walk what I had come to view as my own personal Green Mile.

I told my husband to board the plane with the kids and I turned and literally ran for the bathroom. I locked myself in a stall, my entire mind and body involved in the throes of intense and unrelenting panic. I knew without a shred of uncertainty that there was absolutely, positively no way I was getting on that airplane.

Rewind to a few days before when my husband and I were looking up the locations of the activities we wanted to plan. We pulled up Google Earth, the wondrous tool that shows where all the places are. Curious, I wanted to zoom out and see just how far Hawaii actually is from Florida. How, after years of schooling and a fair amount of intelligence, I didn’t realize the Hawaiian Islands are extraordinarily tiny spots of land in a very, very large expanse of the Pacific I will never know.

The thought of being on an airplane with nothing, nothing, nothing but water, water everywhere terrified me.

I had never been to Hawaii and it was on my bucket list. An opportunity arose and we decided to pull the kids out of school, even our college freshman, and make what is usually a getaway for Jeff and me a family vacation. It was a first for all of us and who knew if the chance would come around again? Our kids are still young enough to experience wonder that is simply magical…hell, so am I!

We planned free range horseback riding and a helicopter tour over an active volcano, waterfalls, and other botanical sites. Jeff was taking the older kids zip-lining over some of the waterfalls and a rainforest. We were really looking forward to snorkeling with spinner dolphins in their natural habitat, not a man made site with trained animals. (The unexpected bonus was that it was whale season and while we were underwater we could hear the whales singing and even caught sight of a few breaches from the boat. I’ve never seen anything so breathtaking.)

I told myself many things while locked in that bathroom stall, willing my heart to slow and my breathing to return to normal. I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans, stood up and opened the stall door. I went to the sink and washed my hands. Not minding anyone else in the room I took a long, hard look at myself in the mirror and said out loud, “You have done brave and amazing things, some far more frightening than getting on an airplane and flying to paradise. Your family is waiting for you. Get your ass on that fucking plane.”

I went to the gate and walked the gangway, taking every step and every breath with intention. I was the last person to board and as I made my way down the aisle I caught sight of my family, watching for me, their relief evident. I swallowed my fear, got on that plane and the one after that…..

and I flew over the deep blue sea.



Photo credit: Ryan Jacques/


Originally posted on October 17, 2014 

I remember a day when being awake in the middle of the night was a normal part of who I was. Of course, there was usually alcohol or cocaine, or both, involved and I was much younger. I also thought I was immortal, could scale walls, and nothing in the world could touch me.

This night, some thirty years later, when I am up at this hour (which happens to be 2:30 am) it’s due to short term insomnia and anxiety. I suppose at this moment I should be thrilled I didn’t wake in the throes of one of my more vicious enemies, the 3 a.m. panic attack.

My heart isn’t pounding, I’m not fighting to breathe or drenched in cold sweat. But something is bothering me and it is enough the keep me awake tonight.

Did I mention that I hate to be awake in the middle of the night?

It brings reminders of days I would much rather forget. Sure, the house isn’t full of people talking over each other in a drug induced certainty that we know all the world’s issues AND how to solve each and every one, not realizing in the morning that we will just be paranoid, sleep deprived idiots lucky enough not to have killed ourselves this time.

This night, still some thirty years later, finds me in my corner of the couch already drinking coffee since I know I won’t be going back to sleep. I am writing this post in hopes of expelling, at least temporarily, the demons that I fight even in slumber. At least this time they haven’t crippled me to the point where I am struggling not to wake my husband, begging him to make it go away or considering calling 911 because I’m convinced this is the heart attack I’ve been waiting to happen for years now. My children sleep in their rooms, still hours to go before they need to wipe the sleep from their own eyes and get about their days.

So I sit where I find comfort, in the ‘worn to the shape of my butt’ corner of the leather La-Z-Boy couch and I write words for whoever might be listening and hope that someone will say, ‘Me too.’

Not because I want someone else to feel this same lack of control over their own thoughts and feelings or because I want them to be lying awake perpetuating the cycle considering all the things that will be wrong today because they didn’t get enough sleep.

I just don’t want to be alone. I despise my own company in the middle of the night. I catastrophize. Seriously….we are out of pickles and hand soap.

I wish I could anticipate these issues. In reality I should have. We have had sickness in the house, the flu or another virus running the course of our house, touching everyone in its wake and has had two kids home from school for days at a time, Jeff is leaving again today for the fourth time in as many weeks. I’ve been sick and behind on all things which are piling up to become the mountains I loathe. (Actually they are hills. Tiny mounds really. But perhaps you know). It’s the lack of control, the disorder of things normally ordered and routine.

I’m certainly not solving any world problems, or local ones for that matter, tonight. I’m also apparently not sleeping since it’s time for me to wake my husband so he can get on the road. Again.

In the light of the day I will be able find the patience I need to claim my rational, sane side once more and I will likely forget this happened.

Until next time.

photo credit: Victor Porof via photopin cc

Emotional Chaos

Originally posted on July 17, 2014

I know when the emotional chaos of panic and depression is coming. I am well aware of this mayhem peeking up over the horizon of my mind. There is a shift that I can’t explain.

It begins when I  wake up in the very early morning hours, disoriented and in the throes of panic. My heart is pounding and I am disoriented. At times I can’t feel my limbs and find myself unable to swallow and gasping for air. I have no idea why it happens in the middle of the night. There are worse feelings than waking from a dead sleep in the middle of a panic attack but at the time I would be hard pressed to name one.

During the next couple of days, I will know there was an episode of anxiety but it is cloudy. My mind only allows me a vague memory. It’s just a short reprieve for the real fun that’s about to begin.

It usually takes a couple of days before the depression takes hold. When it does, I feel completely powerless. The rational part of me tells me that all I need to do is take a bike ride or a shower, do something normal and keep putting one foot in front of the other and my thinking will return to normal. I can resume my life.

Sadly, the irrational demon that lives within me has other plans.

These days between the panic and the depression are as normal as any other and I function as such. I will regale my husband with tales of the day with exaggerated, yet genuine, vigor. I will have seemingly boundless energy. I will laugh loud and love hard.

Then the agitation begins. The smallest of things will irritate me. Social media becomes an enemy. I can’t read status updates without feeling an anger that sometimes borders on rage.

Writing is impossible since I can’t keep a coherent thought in my head and everything is tainted with and edge of anger and resentment.

My patience with my kids hits a low and even a goodnight kiss that feels like the flick of butterfly wings on my cheek makes me shudder. Anything my husband does makes me clench my jaw and bite back hateful words that aren’t a true reflection of my feelings, just the beast trying to create a foe, provoke a fight.

I will stop in the middle of flipping through the mail and slide to the kitchen floor because suddenly I am terrified and it feels like a safe place to be.

A drive to the grocery store because I am out of coffee seems to take Herculean effort and everyone in my path irritates me. I hurry, needing this chore to be over because those few moments exhaust me beyond reason.

I feel an overwhelming urge to cry. Let me release the havoc. Please!

But I can’t. Not a tear will come.

I want to give in and give up. These are the days I want to get in my car, drive away, never look back. I want to walk away from everyone and everything. I don’t answer my phone. I don’t interact. I simply shut down, going through the motions of every day life with no enthusiasm and forced interest.

I just want the peace to come.

Finally, thankfully, it does come and there are no casualties. Unless, of course, I count the part of my soul that has been beaten to a pulp and is now cowering in the corner, licking its wounds, waiting for the next round.

I am grateful to be strong enough to know that this is a war I may never win but that the battles eventually end. I used to self medicate with alcohol but that is on longer an option for me. By the grace of God, I don’t even consider it when the demon comes to call.

I am grateful that the episodes are sporadic and short-lived.

I’m grateful that my husband recognizes these moments and is quiet, but present. He knows and surely it irritates him to lose me during these days, perhaps even makes him a little sad though that isn’t his nature. On the rare occasion I take a step or three too far he doesn’t hesitate to let me know it is enough.

I have come to realize in the past year that writing can work much like therapy. I have met other bloggers that deal with depression and other mental health issues and do so bravely. We seek interaction, validation, and support….and find it.

I know that someone will read this and understand it. Still someone else will read this, see themselves and feel less alone.

While I have written about my anxiety and panic, this is the first time I have ever written about my battle with depression. As a recovering alcoholic and addict, I am well aware of what it is and why it comes and I accept that.

Alcoholism and addiction tried to destroy me. They didn’t. Panic and depression won’t either. These things are part of me but……

they are not all of me.



Photo credit: Zahira via photopin