2013 SEPT 18
What is it about each return trip to Pittsburgh that fills me with anxiety?
I know, this time I am concerned for my Dad's appointment with his oncologist, and I am a bit swamped by the number of my own doctor's appointments. Yet, truth be told, each time we return to the town where we grew up and spent most of our adult lives, I am overwhelmed intense feelings. Sometimes these are unexplained anxiety. Sometimes, grief. Sometimes intense sadness. And before you jump to the conclusion that the grief and sadness are because I miss my hometown, let me assure you, the feelings do not spring from anything so mundane as homesickness.
I do sometimes miss my family, especially my Dad. But, I do not miss the city.
As we were driving across Pennsylvania today, I was relatively relaxed. I noted, though, as we began moving farther west, I felt less at ease. Some of the tension may have been simple fatigue. I was up early and had driven many hours, and I begin to really wind down after 2PM. Yet, there is a feeling of dread that I cannot fully contribute to being tired.
Over the years, I have become more and more aware of the effect certain places have on my sense of well being, and on my psyche. Our old house in Pittsburgh was a place I never felt comfortable in, even long before it was "our house". On our visit to that property last September, my level of discomfort was so fierce that it made me physically uncomfortable to be there. In addition, it made me psychologically uncomfortable, as well. I have had visceral reactions to places while traveling, too. Some in a negative sense, others in a very positive way.
What is it about returning to Pittsburgh that causes such an extreme reaction in me? I am sitting in a campground in Bellefonte, PA, trying to sort out these feelings of anxiety, grief, tearfulness, and dread.