My anxiety has been bad lately.
It’s not because of anything. If it were because of anything, it wouldn’t be called Anxiety Disorder.
My life is just as peachy keen and just as rotten awful as everyone else’s.
This bout of anxiety started slowly a few weeks ago and escalated on Saturday last, when we went to Moo’s dance performance. Everything was fine, I was fine, but it was a rainy day, and we had to drive to the west side. I hate riding in the car in rain almost as much as I hate driving in it. I can’t drive to the west side without getting lost. You must understand, these are triggers for me. There is sizable baggage attached to these situations.
The Mister decided we should get coffee on the way, which I thought was a fantastic idea. Then he wanted to stop at the ATM, and I felt like we were too pressed for time. I hate to be late. I couldn’t figure out why he had a stack of cash the night before, but had to go to the ATM. We hadn’t gone anywhere to spend money…
He started to exit when the directions said to go to Crawfordsville Road in two more miles. Perhaps it was the panic on my face that told him he should follow the directions.
He was relaxed; I was uptight. I began to feel unwell in that unmistakable panic way, and I wondered if my coffee was truly decaffeinated.
Upon arrival, The Mister dropped us at the door. Despite my nagging, the girls were too cool to carry their umbrellas, so they squished under mine. We stood in line. As we slowly approached the door, I realized we couldn’t buy tickets, since The Mister had the cash.
I’d like to try to explain what that felt like, but I really can’t. Sorta like bursting impatience, when you think you will not pull through before you spontaneously combust. And not just impatience for the line, in the crowd, after a rainy car ride, and unexpected stops, and running late, and being cashless, but for the terrible vibration of pent-up energy in my body.
Since vertigo is generally my first symptom, there’s a lot of self-talk involved in staying upright for the sake of upholding societal norms. No one wants to be the mommy lying prone on the pavement with people asking, “Are you okay?”
I tried to become a pillar, although I felt more like I was floating. I tried to find the pleasant things on site. I was fairly certain I would pass out, or you know, die, because that’s what panic is like. I tried to count my breaths, but I couldn’t. By the time we got to the door, my body was on high alert with sweat and a high voltage headband.
Soon enough The Mister showed up, paid our way, and we found seats. He apparently wanted to sit up high with the hawks and I was feeling much more burrowing bunny — the ground is my friend. After asking if seats were good every 3-4 steps up, I told him to lead the way. Then I sat down and broke down. Shaking, crying, rapid breathing, the whole bit. My family pet me, which was sweet, but useless, because I just needed to release.
I calmed down, enjoyed Moo’s show, even did some line dance thingy with her at the end.
Going home was easier. We stopped at Chili’s, which we hadn’t been to since we left Georgia. I ate shrimp tacos. Yum!
We laughed and had a fabulous time. Much merriment.
Sunday was easy, and I do mean easy, but still the anxiety hung on. Sunday night seemed like a really good time to lie in bed and obsess about things far into the future, and also none of which I can control. *shrugs*
(That’s how to throw a party for your anxiety. If you do it long enough, you can hear your heart beat with each pang and find yourself asking if you’re even breathing. Good times!)
I got up and took half a pill. Then, due to the magic of modern medicine, I finished watching that show, counted my blessings, and slid off into dreamland.
Where I had terrible dreams.
Of course, Monday morning came and the week’s work started. Lots of driving. Lots of vertigo. Lots of errands. Whee.
Sometimes I think that if I didn’t have children, I’d rarely leave the house.
Monday was damn near sleepless, and Tuesday offered more errands, more driving, more vertigo.
Wednesday found me walking in the rain, twisting into yoga poses, meditating, reading, napping — in hopes of building momentum for my shopping trip. Does not everyone sing “The neverennnndiiiiing shoppiiiiiing” and imagine their car is Falcor? Non?
I’d read the sales flyer wrong. Cod was not on sale. Cod not being on sale was an excellent reason to experience another anxiety attack. In the grocery store. And then to white-knuckle my way home through rush hour traffic. Yay me.
Things only got worse at home. I’d said I’d attend a graduation ceremony last night. I said I would. Except, I assumed the graduation would be on a Saturday, even though it clearly wasn’t. The graduation was a 2-3 hour drive away. I’d need to take the girls out of school early to make it. I’d have to drive alone and return late, late, late, possibly needing to take them in late on Friday as well. I was conflicted and overwhelmed. I say no enough to know I’m not a Nice Lady, but once I’ve committed, I don’t back out.
Sassy has missed one school day all year, and Moo hasn’t missed a single one. Grades are not a problem. I thought maybe I could just take them out of school for the day. Drive my 2-3 hours WEST, make a day of it, still drive 2-3 hours home late, late, late, but with a longer period of recovery between. That ended up not bein great on the other end. I was sad. And angry at schools that hold graduations on Thursdays!
Knowing my struggles, my friend understood. Still I felt crushed with guilt and sick with disappointment.
I tried to talk myself into it.
I was thinkin about that drive, the stress, the dark, alone in the car with my girls. It took me to a dark place. I have made more than a dozen anxiety-riddled road trips (100-800 miles one-way) alone or with my kids in the last ten years. Those trips are all painfully close to the surface of my memory, for having to pull over and even sometimes check into a hotel to stop the panic. The pain, the dizziness, the nausea. Then the anxiety hangover. Feeling like utter shit for days afterward, because I pushed my limits.
It’s important to push our limits, but it’s crucial to know what they are and when to push them.
I could imagine the drive. I could imagine it happy, excited, exhilarating, listening to music, drinkin my cream soda, cruisin along…
But inevitably, anxiety hangover.
I declined, recanted, broke my word. I felt so victimized by anxiety. The timing was no good, but without anxiety, or fear of it, would I have driven 4-6 hours in one night? I don’t know. Doubt is no good for me. Did I give into anxiety and let it dictate my behavior, or did I make a good decision in knowing my limits?
I made myself a mojito. I made breakfast for dinner and yes, I do think mojitos pair well with brekkie, cause citrus. After the third mojito, I smoothed out.
I slept real well.
Rum, I think, is my drink.
Thursday let me take the girls to school, do two loads of wash, press The Mister’s shirts, clean the kitchen, spot-clean upholstery, deal with the mower guy, and make tacos.
Tacos have always been there for me. In the event of deployment, one can sublimate sexual urges by perfecting gringa tacos. Switch to ground turkey and season it your damn self because then they’re almost healthy. You’re welcome.
You know what goes well with tacos?
Friday has me running out for the fucking cod that’s finally on sale, but not too much otherwise. The weekend lingers. I like to think the weekend lingers closer, heavier, with greater mass than my anxiety, but it’s been a rough time lately.
Thanks for letting me kvetch and vent all over your devices — How’s your anxiety?