Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

July 18, 2006

No Compromise

Loneliness. Stolen from Amy Eileen Koester

I'm feeling so filled with anxiety and depression today. I could go drink myself senseless or take drugs, but what good would it do? I'd still have to return to "myself" when I came down. Only I'd have a hangover or whatnot. I feel so alone in the world, even though I have a family and friends. I always think the worst. I always feel as if the world is about to crash down around me. Other people say "You're too pessimistic." Or, "You're so cynical." Yeah, what else is new?

I'm anxious about everything, but mostly right now about K, my daughter doing her studies in Guatemala with her future sister-in-law. I heard the lead story on a radio station I listen to and saw it as the lead story on Amnesty International that the number of women raped, murdered, and dismembered in Guatemala has been increasing yearly since 2001 and the men who murdered them are rarely if ever held accountable. This isn't exactly a comforting bedtime story.

I read blogs of other adoptees who have it a million times worse than I do, which makes me look like a whiner. But even so, I can't ever seem to get happy. I can't seem to crawl out of this permanent sense of impending doom. I can't even find my sense of humor. I know it's sloshing around in there somewhere, but it's gone into hiding. Like a polka dotted lamprey eel into a cave. I searched keywords "adoptees and depression" and "adoptees and anxiety" and found a lot of links. But staring at the screen, reading what I already know better than my own name, doesn't help in the least. It's like telling someone who is sick that they are sick. Here is a sample of what I've been reading. Good, but hardly helpful, even from one of the best:

"John Bowlby ascribed the threat of abandonment as the greatest fear a child can suffer, and stated that children who experience repeated separations or threats of abandonment become angry and dysfunctional. Harriet Machtiger noted that the fear of abandonment is one of the most common fears of childhood and a dominant theme in child myths. Because of their experience with abandonment, is it possible that this threat is one which hangs over the heads of all adoptees like the sword of Damocles all their lives, but about which they might not be consciously aware?
I believe that it is, and that it is this threat which causes the generalized anxiety so often found in adoptees. Anxiety is different from fear. Goldstein said that fear sharpens the senses and drives them into action, whereas anxiety paralyzes the senses and renders them unusable. Anxiety's paralyzing of the senses might be what many clinicians describe as "numbing", and what some adoptees experience as an inability to get on with their lives. Children who have been abandoned have an early awareness that they need to be cautious, alert and watchful--a response which is called hyper-vigilance. This gives them the means by which to try to avoid another abandonment, but it does little to foster the true Self of the individual. It instead creates a false self."--Nancy Verrier
So I sat down and wrote a poem about my emptiness. No, it didn't relieve the anxiety and depression. It just distracted me for a little while. Words. They're all I have, but they can't begin to heal what's wrong. I don't think anything in the universe ever could.

No Compromise

In dreams lost and alone I wander
this abandoned house
from makeshift living room,
down shotgun hall,
pacing, searching, ghostlike,
Not really a person here at all,
only a puzzle piece locked in gray and meaningless rooms.

Wandering in a loop of grief,
Aborted memory and love
Curtains swell through screenless windows
My footsteps echo forever
toward the infinity of never was.
--Marie Jarrell


Blogger Anastasia said...

I came accross your blog and post and I thought of leaving a note- you express genuine concerns about several issues so i thought of giving my perspective although i claim to be no expert.

i sense your negative feelings and your concerns which in may ways are centered around your daughter though I assume this is not the only source of anxiety for you. i think it is extremely important that you are AWARE of this situation and that you have a solid/straightforward attitude and statement to make: you dont like it.

i find extremely positive the fact that you try to somehow combat against this situation: the beautiful poem is a testimony to that. I think this path you have chosen, namely of expressing yourself will eventually lead you out of this maze, if i can rightly call the situation like that.

although many aspects of your life are not fulfilling at this point, i am sure there are thinks you take pleasure in. try to cultivate these or explre new ones. because relationships are very important to ourlives i would suggest to try to re-evaluate some of these "relationships" this process may lead you to reinforce bonds with some individuals or loosen up with others. remember, one true friend is worth a treasure.

this last thing comes very close to your general "no compromise" attitude to which I strongly abide by. I think that it is important to hold fest on the values and principles for these are what make a life worth living.

good luck!

Blogger Kippa Herring said...


Blogger michele said...

While I have no words to actually help you, know you're not alone in your feelings.

Blogger cloudscome said...

What a lovely poem. You used the empty house and transition of getting ready to move as a very effective image for your feelings today. I am sorry you are feeling so down and anxious. This is a hard time, and your life is in big changes... Take good care of yourself. I do think words can help with the healing. Maybe the uprooting of moving is stiring up more than you were prepared for... writing it out is a good way to begin to cope. Know that you are not alone, and we treasure your words. My heart goes out to you.

Blogger Umbilicly Challenged said...

I understand Marie !! I really do !! ((((((((((hugs))))))))))))

Blogger Marie Jarrell said...

Anastasia-I'm not sure I understand what you're saying, but thank you for saying it. I know you're being supportive.

Kippa, Michele, and Umbilicly Challenged-Thanks so much. I know you all understand.

Cloudscome-I love the way you see things from a literary standpoint. I do too...when I'm not freaking out. Ha.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home