Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Fall is back (and so, perhaps, am I).

October 22, 2018

Today is Monday. I usually dread Mondays. They’re crazy, stressful, frantic, and exhausting.

But today when I stepped outside, it was cold. Well, not cold. Brisk. Fallish.

It. Was. Glorious.

I have a lot going on. A kidney stone. Plenty of bills – and not the green kind I want to see spilling out of my purse. A roof leak. A concerning lack of brakes in the car. And a constant struggle with depression and anxiety.

But that brisk air…usually it makes me homesick, that first taste of Fall each year. And, yes, there was a tiny taste of that in the back of my throat. The thing is: I’m a little bit homesick all the time. That taste didn’t grow because of the change in seasons this year.

Right now, I feel like I can come up out of it. I feel like I can change things. I feel like I have things I want to say. Words that want to crawl all up over the pages. That feeling, it’s happened before. I type a lot of “It’s gonna be better” posts. <shrugs> I can’t say if this one is for real. If it will be followed tomorrow with another.

But I don’t want to not write it because of the uncertainty.

I want to open the window, and drink in the Fall air, and let myself hope. I have things to say. And today that thing is: It is Fall-ish outside and I am rejuvenated by it.

I hope it is still Fall-ish tomorrow.

And now, a word from my rather despicable sponsor: Anxiety.

September 22, 2016

I usually post my book reviews on Thursdays, but today I need to set that aside for a moment to talk about anxiety.

Most of you know I suffer from anxiety – at varying levels, at varying times. It’s not something I’m ashamed of: I have an anxiety disorder. I don’t hide it. I firmly believe in talking about it so that I can educate others, hold myself accountable for self-care, let my friends know so they can help me when necessary, and generally let those who hear me know that if they’re closeted, they don’t need to be. Let’s erase the stigma, yes?

There are still times when my anxiety surprises me. I was watching a movie tonight. A critically acclaimed one – Gravity, with Sandra Bullock. It cold opens with a big crisis and a bigger trigger for me. I thought I could manage – Sandra is who plays me in the movie of my life. She’s my girl. But less than five minutes in, I was opening my laptop and googling the plot. If I know what’s going to happen, I can sometimes talk myself through the anxious bits and still enjoy the movie. (It got me through Everest, and that ended up being a movie I’ll rewatch again and again.)

Knowing didn’t help this time. I tried focusing on the project I was working on, writing away, head down, only occasionally glancing up at the screen or reaching over to rub The Boyfriend’s back. (Human contact is a huge plus when I’m sorta freaking out.) But I knew the characters were trapped in space. And space? Well, that just happens to be one of my triggers. I have nightmares where I’m trapped in space. Or in a big, black, endless sea of black. With no hope of finding home. Or my siblings. (I’m frequently tasked in my nightmares with finding them and getting us all safe.) This movie was taking me to Not Good places.

So I hit the brakes.

Or, I should say, I tried to. I wasn’t in full freak-out mode. I was just Pretty Damn Anxious. So I tried to handle it a bit modestly. I didn’t start screaming or hyperventilating; I turned to The Boyfriend and told him I didn’t think I could watch the movie any more. “It’s just a movie!” he said. And then he laughed at me.

I can’t tell you how bad it feels in the first place to be weighed down by this horrible and unpredictable thing called Anxiety. Add to that the knowledge that this stupid, awful Anxiety holds you back from things you’d love to be able to do. And try as you might to do those things anyway, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. And when you don’t – when I don’t, at least – you really, really don’t. It’s a horrible, gutting feeling.

If you’re the person on the outside, here’s a little advice: don’t ever laugh. Don’t dismiss or belittle someone for something that is completely and utterly out of their control. I already felt like a failure for not being able to get through a movie – a movie – about something that I know I will never, ever have to do. When I was laughed at, I felt like a person I was supposed to feel safe with dismissed my feelings, belittled me, and made me feel like I was less than everything I needed to be.

Anxiety is hard enough to live with when you’re in a constructive, healthy environment. Talking about it, talking my way through it to the other side of this setback, that can only happen when I feel safe. That might not be the reality for every person who is living with anxiety, but it’s my reality. If you’re in that situation, if you’re the person who’s supposed to be a landline, ask how you can help. And however foreign or silly the answer is, please, please do not dismiss it. Be a friend. Be kind. Be supportive.

Be kind. That’s the bottom line to so many stories.

The showdown.

June 22, 2016

Today’s the day. Surgery. This kidney stone, after four weeks of doing everything it could to bring me nothing but pain and ruination, will be blasted to smithereens. Well, okay, not really – it’s more of a catch and release type program, but my sentiments still aligns more with the former than the latter.

If only I could so easily deal with this anxiety.

I don’t do well with anesthesia. The first time I ever went under, way back in college for my wisdom teeth, my ears felt like they were going to explode from immense pressure, I couldn’t breathe, and couldn’t move to tell any of the doctors in the room. I remember frantically darting my eyes from person to person, trying to alert them to the fact that something was wrong, but no one noticed. Next thing I knew, I was waking up. The next few times I needed anesthesia, maybe three or four times, I’ve panicked. I’m afraid the same thing will happen. Despite what some people tell me, just because it hasn’t happened since doesn’t mean it won’t. And so I’m worried. And panicked. And have I mentioned worried? More worried, even, than excited about no longer having this constant pain.

I report to the hospital at 2:00p. My surgery is at 3:30p. I’m hoping the anesthesiologist brings extra happy pills, cause I’m going to need one or two of them. Because no matter what time it says on the clock, it’s going to feel like high noon.

Braced for impact.

March 30, 2016

We are all of us crankypants at our house this morning.

After finally getting good sleeps Monday night, we made up for it last night by none of us sleeping. Well – I think Bee-girl did, thanks to an exhausting day-long mandatory testing session. Even with a two-hour nap, Twinkle Toes was ready for bed last night. But Gracie and I? Not so much with the sleeping.

Gracie was fitted with her orthodontia yesterday. And hooboy, is she feeling it. She had custom-order bands made for her back molars because they have extra nodules. My theory is that they morphed with the seedlings for her wisdom teeth because somehow she doesn’t have any of those. Finally – good news for Gracie! After a year of broken wrists, ear tumors, and tooth catastrophes, I’ll take missing wisdom teeth! That doesn’t help her current situation though: trying to convince her incisor to descend into the gap we created by pulling a permanent tooth.

Thus the braces/retainer hybrid. Her custom bands have wires pushing against a retainer piece at the front-top of her mouth to keep her back teeth from moving forward into the gap. And one lonely bracket was attached to the miscreant incisor, which has an elastic band coaxing it down into the space. There’s barely any tension on the band right now, but that will change in six weeks.

Even without much tension (and with a lot of wax on the pointy bits), Gracie’s braces are driving her batty. The poor pitiful puppy couldn’t eat anything for dinner last night. I did get her to eat a few mini-pancakes this morning. She just asks for ibu-pwo-fen and frowns and lays there with her jaw in her hands. No more talking for Miss Gracie, who hates the way all her sounds have turned to mush. I spent a lot of the evening rubbing her back and giving her hugs and telling her how I went through the same thing. I remember crying because I couldn’t even manage to eat macaroni the first night I had braces. Gracie’s managed to stave off the tears so far, but she’s drawn awfully far into herself. That is not my favorite.

Worrying over my tween was part of the reason I didn’t get any sleep last night. The rest of it was from anxiety over the storms expected to hit our area today. Our tor:con was 4 when I checked last night, and I’m a bit scared to see what it’s crept to this morning. There were big, bold red exclamation marks on our forecast when I checked the radar this morning – and I was too scared to investigate. If I did, I was worried I’d never make the drive to work. I’ve gotten a lot better about my storm anxiety – especially my ability to handle tornadoes in the area – but I have appointments I need to drive to this afternoon, and I do not handle driving in storms very well. Needless to say, my blood pressure is sky high and I never fell back asleep when I woke up at 4 a.m.

Tornadoes. STAAR tests. Braces. It’s all a bit much for one mama to handle in a single day. Unless maybe someone wants to make me a Supergirl cape?

My Parenting 101 handbook doesn’t cover alien infestations.

February 26, 2010

This is only about the millionth time this has happened so far in my parenting career: I’m not exactly sure what to do. Gracie may – or may not – be suffering from some medical mystery, nervous condition, stomach bug, dislike for school, or alien lifeform. Or perhaps karmic coincidence; you know, being my child and all.

Here’s the deal: at the beginning of the month, the school nurse called and said that Gracie had been sick all over the place (ewwwww) and would need to be picked up from school. I was getting ready for a huge meeting at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeNamed and I had just spent a day home with Bee. So I impulsively called the Ex (who had visitation that night anyway) and asked him if he could get her from school. When he dropped the girls off that night, he said that Gracie had just picked at her food, but other than that she had been fine. She was in good spirits, didn’t act sick, and – more importantly – didn’t get sick the rest of the day.

The next morning I woke her up and got her ready for school along with her sister. Gracie complained bitterly about how much her tummy hurt. She produced tears and warned that she was going to throw up. I didn’t know what to do; she certainly had thrown up all over the place the previous day, and I didn’t want the school to think I was one of those parents. On the other hand, she had raved about how much fun she had spending the day alone with her dad, so I was a little suspicious of her complaints. I decided to send her school. Big mistake. The school nurse called me less than an hour after Gracie had been dropped off and said she had been sick all over the hallway. That’s when I decided that the janitors and the nurse were getting giant gifts at the end of the year. I left work and collected my child. Gracie’s teacher suggested taking her to the doctor, but I could only imagine the scorn that would be rained down upon us: An upset tummy and no other symptoms? It’s just a stomach bug, stop bugging us with the easy stuff that even silly parents should know! The stomach bug was going around; I’d just keep her home unless and until a third round hit. Of course, Gracie was fine the rest of the day.

Two Thursdays ago, the day that Sars and Auntie Kim were supposed to arrive, the school nurse called me yet again. Gracie had been sick – yet again. And so I left work – yet again – to go collect her. Since it was practically blizzarding outside, I didn’t call her pediatrician, although I would have if the roads were drivable. She was fine the rest of the day (predictably) and that’s when I started wondering what sort of alien was living in her stomach. I also started thinking about less likely causes – food allergies, for one. Gracie said she had a hot dog for dinner, and I vaguely remembered serving hot dogs sometime around the first time she was sick, although I couldn’t be sure. I asked the Ex to hold off on any other hot dog dinners to see if that stopped the attacks. That’s when I found out that Gracie had been sick both nights that past weekend when she was at her dad’s – something he hadn’t bothered telling me. She hadn’t had hot dogs then. Or on Tuesday when she was sick at daycare right after I dropped her off (thankfully, this round she skipped being sick at school).

It did mean there was a pattern, though: Gracie seemed to be getting sick first thing in the morning. Sometimes just once, sometimes twice. It always seemed to end when she was picked up from school, but that could be coincidental if she just needed to get whatever it was out of her system.

It could be stress. I feel all of my stress through my stomach; during times of high stress, I pop Tums like candy. (Mmmm….wintergreen Tums.) Adding plausibility to this theory is the fact that Gracie asks to stay home from school on the days of the attacks and mentions that the boys – who are all on blue and red – tease her for being on green. It’s not the only time that story has surfaced, so I reiterate what we’ve discussed: that people get jealous and she is doing a great job to do what she knows is right and I ask her how proud she is of herself. She almost always smiles. Nevertheless, I emailed her teacher and asked if she knew of any reasons that Gracie could be stressed at school. Gracie is doing well academically and likes her teacher enough, so I didn’t think it was pressure in either of those general areas. Her teacher said nothing came to mind but that she would talk to her privately and see if Gracie mentioned anything.

It could be a food allergy that we haven’t uncovered yet. I started keeping a food log of what she’s eaten the 24-hours prior to all attacks. If things speed up, I’ll elevate it to a 24-7 food log, but that is a lot of work that might turn out to be unnecessary. She’s worth it, but have you seen my To-Do list?!

The theory I’m leaning towards is this one: it could be because of her allergies and head colds. Gracie is congested a lot of the time. It’s winter-cold season and the child unfortunately has inherited her mama’s wicked seasonal year-long allergies. Dr. Google and many others have advised that it’s not uncommon for young children to experience post-nasal drip all night, and then for their delicate little stomachs to violently evict all of that gunk when they wake up in the morning. I’ve heard this happens more frequently if the child drinks milk right after waking; Gracie usually rejects anything to eat or drink of she’s feeling icky, but the rest of the theory seems to fit. Once she’s sick, she’s fine. That lines up perfectly with this diagnosis.

Of course, it could still be an alien lifeform trying to make some room for itself. I haven’t quite ruled that out.