On the edge of sanity. Finger in the crack in the dam, holding it all back. Missing my hermit days.
I am not handling the stress very well at all lately, and it is getting worse. I feel the anxiety, fear the out of control thoughts, and have a wall up against my own negativity. I am wearing out and afraid what will happen my defenses falter.
My kids all have some minor health and dental issues that require multiple doctors and multiple appointments and multiple medicine/treatment regimens and multiple rearrangements of the calendar. Nothing serious or life threatening, thank you thank you thank you, but everything needs attention – my attention. I’m running out of attention to give, and going into hiding mode to reserve what I do have for emergencies.
When life gets hectic, I get social anxiety. I lose the ability to make simple decisions. I feel stupid and inept and frightened.
1 kiddo has bronchitis that requires an inhaler every 4-6 hours. I kept him home from school for 2 days to administer it here, and sent him to school today hoping he makes it all day. I don’t have it in me to go to the office and turn in the meds and doctors slip for him to have it at school. I feel panic imagining that conversation for some reason. Not like the elementary school secretary is scary herself, but somehow the interaction terrifies me today.
So I am at home.
I have a neighbor that is trying to be my friend. We’ve been watching each other’s kids all year long, but she is trying to be friendly with me now, texting me, and horror of all horrors, wanted to carpool with me to a school event. Instantly I feel trapped. I’ve been managing school events fairly well because I am invisible. I slip in and out and avoid eye contact. I watch my kiddo and get out of there, ignoring the chatter all around me. This neighbor wants me to go with her, meaning the chatter would be nonstop and I would have to leave when she wants, not leave early if I want. Why is this so uncomfortable and scary to me?
So I am at home.
Today is another school event for another kiddo. It starts in about an hour. I am trembling thinking of going. I was hoping it would get rained out and postponed, but it didn’t. I can go and add this stress to my already shaking nerves, or I can stay home and bear the guilt of disappointing my daughter when I am not in the bleachers. Guilt sounds easier right now than having to shower, dress nicely, and plaster on a smile. I don’t recognize people well, not sure why, but people come up and start talking to me and it takes me forever to figure out who they are, even people I talk to often appear to be strangers at first. Does anxiety do that? Or do I have some facial recognition disease? Like I can see my next door neighbor grocery shopping and she comes over and starts chatting and I use her conversation context to figure out who she is. I start sweating, mind racing, searching for clues to tell me who this is and how to respond. I hate it.
So I am at home.
I will get my work done, alone in my dining room, safely converse through a computer where each coworker has a name listed and I clearly know who it is and how to respond. Here I am brilliant and confident. Out there I am stupid and anxious.
My head is telling me that it is my fault the kids are sick, or have cavities, or whatever other issue. It says I should take better care of them and not work so much and my promotion is a mistake and hurting them. It says I shouldn’t have had kids, passing along all of my genetic health issues was cruel.
An old lady at curves has gotten too friendly and I find myself avoiding going there too. She follows me around chatting while I work the machines, while I pant and sweat. She goes on and on about her cats and grandkids. She is very sweet but I can’t stand her and I don’t know what to do. She made me touch her nose. SHE MADE ME TOUCH HER NOSE! You can’t take someone with social anxiety, a fair amount of OCD and germophobia and make her touch your nose. No. Just wrong. She had been in air conditioning for hours and was feeling cold. She grabbed my hand off the workout machine and placed it on her nose so I could feel how cold it was. I nearly died. The back of my hand became a red alert and I wanted to go wash it, but knew that would be offensive. So I kept my eye on that spot, it seemed to be red and pulsing with alarm bells, throughout my workout, and kept my hand off my face. I always do anyway, I only touch my face with my shirt and wash them when I touch public items.
I know this reaction is funny, but it is also true. I know it is irrational, but it is my reaction and so difficult to control. I know I’m not going to die. But the adrenaline pumped into my system sure felt like I was going to die. I know statistics, and I don’t think touching and old lady’s nose has ever been listed as a cause of death, unless maybe she was the queen and secret service gunned you down or something. I know I am ridiculous – and yet here I am.
I drown my thoughts with junk food and alcohol and marathon TV watching and here I am teetering on the edge of something, so afraid to fall in.
Now I know I can get back out if I fall in. But we still avoid the puddles, ditches and ponds, right? If everyone jumped right into every pond because they knew they could get back out, we’d all be wet all of the time. I don’t think avoiding the fall is a bad thing as long as we don’t start wearing floaties every day.
I’m struggling to voice this thought. I’m trying to explain my hiding behavior, and say in the grand scheme of things, it seems to be an ok way to keep me healthy right now. It’s ok to ease up on the things that cause fear and anxiety as long as I don’t avoid them completely. If I handle myself gently, maybe my tolerance will increase over time. This is just something I still need to do for myself. Maybe I always will? No, I won’t harbor that thought, not helpful. I’m throwing out thoughts today like going through the mail – read now, throw out, keep for later.
Like mother’s day. Notice I didn’t post about that yet? keep for later.