Too Many Anxieties

Image courtesy of stockimages at
Image courtesy of stockimages at

The hubby and I have just returned from a two week trip to South America. We are celebrating 25 years of marriage and it is the longest we have gone away from our boys. They’ve just held down the fort for two weeks, Michael exercising his young adult wings and grandparents checking in on them.

It has been a long day; it’s nearly 8 p.m. here and the hubby and I have been up and traveling since the equivalent of 2 a.m. It’s hot and we are hungry, yet all we want is to spend time with our young men. We pick up food and take it out onto the patio. It’s cooler here than inside the kitchen. Michael and the hubby start to swap stories. Michael shares what he learned about how difficult it is to run a house. The hubby talks about traffic in a country south of the equator. I notice that our table is not complete. Blake, who was preparing his own meal, has not materialized outside. I peek inside the kitchen and see him sitting by himself at the table.

“Blake?” He is quiet. “Blake, are you going to join us outside?”

Blake’s head is down and he is somberly eating away, appearing more like he is forcing himself to eat than enjoying any of it.

“We’d love you to join us.”

“I…I can’t. Bugs…”

“There aren’t any bugs that I can see tonight.”

“It’s just. I have so many anxieties. Eating outside brings up too many. I don’t want to stand up to them tonight.” He places his head in his hands.

“You don’t need to. Thank you for telling me. I’ll miss you. See you after dinner.”

I go back outside to join Michael and the hubby, who are still engrossed in conversation. Blake finishes his meal alone at the kitchen table. I ache just a bit for the piece of our family that is not here and for how I can see that Blake is struggling. Yet I’m glad he could put it into words, without screaming, without melting down as he might have in the past. He is learning to put his struggles into words. He is learning to share that he is anxious and that he doesn’t have the strength to challenge his fears right now. That is growth. Perhaps another day his strength will win out.


12 thoughts on “Too Many Anxieties

  1. As always, I so appreciate your acceptance of the results of those anxieties. It’s so hard – we’re really struggling with that in my husband currently, and I know how it can bring you down.

  2. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read this-I felt his pain and yours. I felt his reservation and yours as you witnessed progress but wanted your family together.
    I understand your ache and I understand his need to say that he didn’t want to face it tonight.
    Thank you for sharing! You give others strength and hope!

  3. Hi Angie. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m sorry it’s so hard…on the whole family. I’m the “middle age guy” who has been in ERP treatment and on meds since 1990. (26 years in treatment as of last March…I can’t believe I’ve been fighting OCD for so long now.) It breaks my heart when I think about the burden I place on my family each and every day. I have improved quite a bit over the years…but not nearly enough.

    Just so I have perspective, I have a simple question (which I feel somewhat foolish asking) : Does this post describe recent events or is this a memory of something you went through quite some time ago? Thank you.


    1. Hi Paul. Never foolish to ask. This was just this past weekend. I think it’s awesome that you stay in there and keep fighting OCD. It’s a fierce competitor! I ache for my boy, admire and respect him, and just love him to pieces.

  4. Thanks for this post, Angie, and I think you have touched upon one of the hardest things parents (or other caregivers) have to do: accept our loved ones without always trying to fix them, and realizing that there is only so much we can do anyway,
    I’m so glad you are able to see the progress Blake has made – others might not even notice or realize his verbalizing is progress. He is lucky to have you for his mom.
    Keeping you in my thoughts – and Happy 25th Anniversary to you and your husband.

  5. Sometimes it takes time for us to overcome anxieties. It could be a week, or a month, or longer. We all have different capabilities and abilities to move forwards. Good on you for understanding Blake and not pushing him. He seems to know what gets the better of him, and hope he finds the courage to see the light when he is ready 🙂

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