Thursday, June 17, 2010

Comfort and Security vs. Worry and Panic

"We experience moments absolutely free from worry.  
These brief respites are called panic."  Cullen Hightower

For those of you who know me, you know that it is not my intention to spend my day worrying OR in a panic…but there are "a few" occasions where somehow, I just do.   I think it stems from the fact that by nature, I’m a worrier.  Now – don’t get me wrong – this isn’t all bad.  I try to look at all angles of a particular situation and then prepare myself for what may come.  For example, when there is a severe thunderstorm warning – I am NOT one to stand on my porch with a camera.  My children will testify that we spent many a storm warning in the basement closet with blankets and a radio – waiting for the “all clear” while prepared for the tornado.   I call this “controlled worry”.  When my “worrying” is under control – I am able to compartmentalize it and go about my day.  Then if the anticipated situation arises, all I have to do is retrieve my “worry plan of action” and carry it out.  Unfortunately, there are a few occasions where my worry gets a bit out of control – and I enter panic mode.  I worry about going into panic mode…simply because it takes me by surprise causing me to be totally unable to predict where it will take me and how I will react. I can go from a calm, cool existence where I am totally in control – to chaos, panic and mayhem in a matter of seconds.  In fact – you could almost say that I could be compared to a fast car or jet plane when you look at my ability to escalate my psyche from calm to full scale panic in a moment’s notice.  Yesterday was one of those unpredictable moments. 

We had been out of town for a week and our newspaper was to have been restarted on the morning of our return.  When I checked for the paper (which wasn’t delivered…) I noticed that there were some blossoms on the plants on my porch that were looking a bit shriveled and needed to be removed.  I went back inside, got my clippers and then returned to the porch.  I left the front door slightly open behind me – and the outside door was closed, but not latched.  When I finished my trimming, I picked up the dead blossoms and took them to the trash.  As I was returning to the porch I saw a cat running across the street in front of my house.  MY CAT!!!  Sadie is 2 years old and is an inside cat.  She has never been outside and wouldn’t know where she lived if she ran away and tried to find her way back.  In a single moment, I transformed from being a calm gardener to a panicky "cat mom".  My initial semi-rational thought was to go into the house to see if Sadie was in there (initializing my “worry plan of action”) – but I was already escalating into panic mode and it was too late.  My thought process was that if I went INSIDE where she probably wasn’t, I would lose sight of her OUTSIDE where I knew she WAS.   She can push a door open - and although I THOUGHT the front door was heavy enough to be secure - obviously I was wrong.  She got out.  So, I took off running after her.  I was barefooted and as I ran down the street and through the neighbor’s yards – sobbing and calling her name – I lost all touch with reality.  Each car that passed me seemed to be speeding out of control and I KNEW that little Sadie would never be quick enough to get out of their way.  Garage doors were open everywhere – and I KNEW that Sadie could be hiding ANYWHERE in the neighborhood or beyond.  She was out of my site and I just KNEW that she was gone.  I ran back home, got into the car and began canvassing the neighborhood and beyond – hoping that I would see her.  I called Terry – in my panic mode - and he immediately came home and began to look as well.  A short time later my cell phone rang and it was Terry.  He had stopped home for a second and once inside, guess who greeted him?  Sadie!   Oops -  I suppose I should have gone with my initial “worry plan of action” and looked around the house BEFORE I began my search – but, I have found that once I go into panic mode, it’s difficult to retreat.  If not for my sweet hubby, I probably would still be out there driving around looking for Sadie. 

There are many occasions where we simply need someone or something to comfort us.  We need a hug to take us from our worries to a place of peace and solitude and to keep us from going into “full panic mode”.  Project Linus offers this type of comfort and security to seriously ill and traumatized children through the gift of a new, handmade blanket.  With each blanket that is given to a child in crisis – the hug of comfort not only touches the child – but also reaches out to the family as well.  One blanket serves as a gesture of love that can work miracles. 

When it was time for my 20 minute “power nap” in the afternoon, I was grateful for my quilt.  I wrapped up in it and it brought me comfort AND security.  I’m also pleased to report that Sadie joined me as well.