Sunday, February 21, 2010


Colby Keegan at age eight.

Colby suffered from anxiety. Sometimes the smallest thing, such as going into  a store, triggered terrible reactions; crying, rocking, stomach upsets, panic, sweats, nausea. Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., author of Conscious Breathing: Breathwork for Health, Stress Release, and Personal Mastery has said that, "Anxiety is mostly caused by two emotions: anger and sadness," Colby had both.

There are five major types of anxiety: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Colby had all but the last, with the first diagnosis coming in at age eight.

I was sympathetic and empathetic to Colby's illnesses. I was supportive, encouraging, but I could not completely understand, because I did not have the same difficulties. I did not, could not, walk in his shoes, even though I tried, even though I wanted to very much. I felt if I could experience life in the way he experienced it, then I could help him more. Even though life does not work that way, I felt guilty that I could not live Colby's experiences. To some extent, I still feel that way.

It is ironic that in Colby's passing, I come closer to doing that than ever before. Since he passed, I have had a lot of general anxiety and several panic attacks. Many medical professionals say that all parents who lose a child go through a form of Post Traumatic Stress. No one can live those experiences for us, either. So while others can be sympathetic, empathetic, to me, no one can truly understand.

I say this because so many wonderful people try. They go through their own form of anxiety because they can't help more, can't understand better, but again, that's the way life is. It is a group of circles, and this is the anxiety circle. That others try to understand, want to, is enough. More than enough, really, because their caring and love supports and sustains me. So thank you. I haven't said that enough lately, but I think it every hour of every day. Thank you.

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