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Sweeping out the Garage

Jun 11, 2008 - 2 comments

A few weeks ago I performed the annual spring ritual of cleaning out my garage. Over the fall and winter months, leaves blow in, dust setttles, tools and construction material get disorganized, etc. Then, spring comes and the 2 garage doors can be left open to allow fresh air and light to come in. I park the cars outside, and set about restoring the premises. And as I did so this year, I was thinking about some of the people and questions on the anxiety forum, when I noticed what I was doing..,

And what I was doing was sweeping dirty water across the garage floor out to the driveway. That floor is reasonably flat and level, so sweeping out the water I spray to lift up the dirt and dust is not terribly difficult. At the same time, it is kind of a game. I start at the back of the garage, and shove water ahead of me with a pushbroom to the entrance, then onto the gravel drive. As I do so, a little tidal wave of water forms ahead of the broom, and water begins to flow off to the sides. There are a few low areas in the back, and water tebds to pool up in those. So there I go, back and forth, side to side, chasing down the water. After perhaps 20 minutes I get most of it out -and the floor starts to dry.

"How like dealing with panic and anxiety is this?" I thought to myself. Each time I sweep some water out, I count a victory. But the remaining water fills in behind me or puddles up on the side somewhere, and I go back to sweep it out -over and over. Victory, challenge, victory, challenge. At one point I realized that no matter how much I swept out, more water kept appearing. It was then that I noticed the hoze nozzle was not completely closed -a small amount of water was fizzing out the end, along the back wall. But it was enough to create a kind of "perpetual motion" machine in which I could never get the floor entirely swept -there would always be more water. The solution, of course, was to shut off the water supply! I did not notice the continuing supply of water until I had swept out enough to reveal the source.

And, "How like recovery is that?" I thought again. Sweeping out the accumulated water gave me evidence that I could, indeed, get ahead and make progress. But the big success came when I saw where the extra water was coming from, went to the source and shut off the supply. Now, I could sweep out the last little puddle -and walk away.

So, our individual victories and accomplishments are important because they tell us we can get ahead, life can be different -all cleaned up. They send us good news. At the same time, they may also reveal to us why we have the problem in the first place -or at least give us a clue. At some point, much as we take some satisfaction and encouragement from our victories, we also wish that we did not need to continue fighting all the time to get them; it is good to win a battle -but it is better not to even have a war. True "peace" of mind.

Can you think of any ways your life is like my sweeping story? Why not post your own similar insights below? I invite your thoughts.

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346570 tn?1267500027
by CaliGirl48, Jun 11, 2008
Oh I can't even begin to tell you how much my anxiety is like your "sweeping out the garage".

Of course as you told me many many months ago..I need to find the "root" or reason behind my anxiety. Where did it all come from. What's the main reason this all started. Well after lots of thinking and meditating I came to the realization a few months ago that it is actually a multitude of things. Some of which have since come and gone (my recent wedding, my mother moving here to MN, etc.) but some of them I am still dealing with. As I told you a long time ago, I feel the main reason for my anxiety is my fear that something terminal will happen to either myself, my children, or my mother.

As soon as my mother moved here in February, almost within a week, my garage was sweep clean and even if for a short while, that main water supply was turned off. Then some little brat snuck in and turned it back on a couple weeks later, and I wasn't able to get it back off until after my wedding. Again my garage was nice and tidy. It was at this point I really thought I had beat it. I was over the major hurdles in my life, I had convinced myself I was the one in control, not some stupid anxiety, and for the last couple months I had been doing wonderful.

Unfortunately I can' turn off the main water supply to my latest. I knew it was coming this time, which I guess is a step in controlling it. I'm sure anticipating it probably gave it the muscle it needed to wedge its way back into my life, but it was just so predictable. When my mom found the tumor and started really feeling the pain of it, the flood gates opened, and now, my garage is so flooded I am at a loss as to how to sweep it clean. The ONE main reason for my anxiety, the one main fear that harbors it, has become reality for me now. So how do you deal with that??!!! I had got to a point where I could convince myself nothing bad was going to happen, but how do you deal with it when something bad actually does happen. Ugh, it just makes me want to give up.

Once again, your writing is amazing. I am convinced you need to write a book. We would all benefit greatly from it. But until then I will continue to read your journals, your posts, and soak in all this great advice you are so kind to give, because I seriously can't imagine the last 6 months of my life and all the crapola I have gone through, without you there as a friend helping me through it =)


468452 tn?1225964888
by goodeys, Jun 11, 2008
I haven't yet managed to locate the source of my water supply so as of now I am unable to shut it off but I am managing the flow and I am no longer drowning.

I'll come back when I have discovered more about myself and then I shall hopefully be able to share my story with you.

As Caligirl says, I really think that you should write a book, you have a way with words and they contain comfort and meaning.

Many thanks for sharing with us all.


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