on anxiety…

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from a deep feeling of anxiety which I have tried to express in my art.

Edvard Munch

For as long as I can remember, I've suffered from a deep feeling of anxiety, too. It's always there at some level. Stress exacerbates it. At times, I am completely incapacitated by it.

When that happens, anything can set me off into a rage that can best be described as "shock and awe." I've never hurt myself or anyone else physically; but, I've done some serious damage with my tongue. And, I see it in the faces of my children, who wince whenever my voice rises above conversation level.

It was my son who convinced me that my non-treatment plan wasn't working. When I raised my voice to speak to my wife who was in another room, he cowered and covered his ears. The look on his face was pure terror.

This is the same, sweet, five-year-old boy who once told me, "Dad, there's love inside this hug." There is nothing but sweetness and love in his heart. And, he was terrified of me the moment I raised my voice. Its the worst kind of heartache I've ever known. It convinced me that I needed to do something about the root cause.

So, now I'm doing things differently. I went to see a psychiatrist. He became the third doctor to diagnose me with bipolar disorder and anxiety. He put me on a new medication. And, I'm feeling better.

Unfortunately, it'll take more than a pill for my children to stop being afraid of me. I'll need to stop yelling and screaming. I'll need to discipline them softly (which, thanks to my parents, does not come easily). And, I'll need to make sure that there's love inside every hug I ever give them.

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