We spent the month of May in Curacao. It was amazing. The Island I grew up on is truly a piece of Paradise in the Caribbean Sea. I loved visiting it with my family: it was Aya’s first time and she had a blast. Everything I posted and wrote on Instagram is true: it was beautiful and I feel extremely grateful. But going there also caused a lot of anxiety and triggered my insomnia to a point where I had to get a prescription from a doctor. It’s time to let you in on everything the little Instagram squares didn’t tell you about our vacation. O, and of course I am writing this post at 03:54 AM, because I can’t sleep.
Before we went on our trip, I spent hours and hours every night considering every possible thing that could potentially go wrong, like I always do. I felt our plane crahs, saw Aya disappear into the water, fall over an edge, run into traffic: so many horrible images involuntarily popped up into my head, causing me stare at the ceiling night after night. My anxiety triggers my sleeping disorder. But sleep deprivation also aggravates my anxiety. You just can’t think straight if you don’t get enough sleep.
The first week I was perfectly fine. I felt I was so prepared for everything that could go wrong I had a sense of control. I spoke my mind if something scared me, The Shark Thing didn’t bother me as much and I stayed pretty calm every time something potentially dangerous happened.
But within a week time 3 things happened.
Thing 1: One of our neighbors came running out of the house, panicking, because her three-year-old son with Down Syndrome was gone. He had walked out of the house and she couldn’t find him. This is every mom’s nightmare so I instantly felt my heart jump out of my chest and helped her look for her son, while holding (squeezing) Isaya tight in my arms. The boy was found, safe and sound, after five minutes, Thank God. I hugged him and his mom and held back my tears.
Thing 2: On our way back from the beach we passed a lot of cars, people, ambulances, police cars and a fire truck. A couple of minutes before, a man had driven into traffic without looking carefully enough. He got hit by a car that was driving probably a little too fast. He died almost instantly.
Thing 3: We were having dinner on a little square in the city center. There are roads around the square, so all the families with kids were sitting in the middle and watching their kids like hawks. I was running after Isaya while chucking down my fries (so relaxing, going out for dinner with a toddler) when I heard people screaming. A three-year-old girl had run into traffic. Thank God she was fine, the cars immediately stopped and her father swooped her away. But I wanted to leave immediately, I was so tired all of a sudden.
So, even though these things had nothing to do with me or Isaya, they had everything to do with me and Isaya. Three of my worst nightmares, all in one week. And then there was a Fourth Thing. As horrible and worrying as they come: a crazy maniac blew himself up, after a concert in Manchester, killing over twenty people. Kids among them. Attacks like this transcend borders and are felt and mourned worldwide, because they are attacks on our children and on our freedom. And even though a lot of people say you should not let these things scare you because “then they win”, they scare me.
The Things triggered my insomnia to a point where I was sleeping three or four hours a night. This caused me feel less in control of my anxiety. All of a sudden The Shark Thing became more prominent and even though I actually enjoy driving on the Island I didn’t feel confident (or alert) enough to do so. I still enjoyed our days together – Curacao is the best place on earth to vacation. I forgot about everything when I saw Isaya laugh and play and dreaded the day we had to leave. And I am grateful for that. But at night my mind was racing.
So you see, the Instagram squares don’t tell the whole story. But neither do my anxiety and insomnia. My issues don’t define me. They are part of me and the best I can do is to work on them, so my daughter isn’t bothered by them and I can live more freely. I am sharing all this because even though I love to write about make-up and clothes and wish the world would be as pink and gold colored as my wardrobe and make-up collection, I also want to keep things real on the blog. Because the other side of my closet is pitch black. And I am totally fine with that. Actually, there is beauty in that.