Fear has taken hold of me once more. It started yesterday and it has not abated. For the last 10 months, I have been really busy with a project, and during that period, I was fine. The funding ran out about 6 weeks ago and I was still fine because I was still really busy. But this week, the crash came. I was tying up loose ends on my old project and trying to think about what to do next, and it hit. The panic. The anxiety. The fear. This week, I had time to think; time to sit; time to worry; and time to feel quite alone in the world. This happens to me when I am between projects and without an income.
I have just finished this project; a very successful project that has been received very well by the intended audience. There was clearly a pent-up demand for the work I did. So, I should be feeling proud, secure in my abilities, and confident about my future prospects. But instead, I am spiraling out of control in a downward direction. I am worrying that any future work will go to the sponsoring agency that has made no commitment to keep me on-board. I am anxious that my government colleagues will no longer see me as a partner now that I am back to being a free-lance consultant. I am terrified that I would never be funded if I set up my own non-profit because my organization would have no funding history. I am feeling trapped. I am feeling lost and alone.
So I just spent the morning searching websites for jobs…oh, and for homes in other communities…..doing it in a frenzy…thinking I will commute 4 hours a day if I have to…thinking I will take a junior position if gives me some financial security and a “family” of colleagues…thinking I will move to a community that can provide me with a job.
When I get like this, my husband is always a little shocked. He kindly refrains from laughing at me; at the absurdity of my fears, the depth of my anxiety, and the speed with which I crash to earth. He reminds me, calmly and slowly, as if speaking to a very young child or a frenzied dog, that I have options and a good reputation. He reminds me that I have been here before, materially and emotionally, and that things have always worked out. But, this time, the poor man is out in the field, in a different time zone, working 12 hours a day, and trying to provide emotional support over a cell phone between interviews!!
Honestly, there is a part of me that can see the humor in this. The fact that, at 53, I can still fall apart so quickly with just a little bit of time on my hands, is really quite comedic. The adult voice in my head, which is very, very tiny right now, is saying: “Wow, what is underlying all of this fear? Why do you forget everything you know about yourself, your abilities, and the universe so quickly?” But there is a very loud voice shouting her down: “Can’t you see??? It is a dog eat dog world out there. It is every woman for herself. And I can not do this alone!!”
So, I am sitting here in my jammies, on the verge of tears, wondering how I will get through the long weekend alone. When I am done here, I will likely go make a long list of things that need doing, and do my best to avoid being alone. Hmmmm….