Thursday, April 2, 2015

Anxiety and Ankle Boots

I found myself panicking this morning. Again.

As we've been over in the past, anxiety is an issue for me and we're having a teensy little issue with our insurance that has forced me into a status that is both frustrating and insulting. I remember being in meetings when I was teaching and discussing a student's behavior with my colleagues and we would struggle to come up with a rational explanation for why this kid was suddenly acting like a crazy person. Quite often it came down to one thing:

Must be off their meds.

I hate that phrase.

The dishes are not loaded in the dishwasher to my linking so rather than going straight to bed, I tinker around in there so that the water can actually reach the dried on ketchup coating the plate and I won't pull out spoons covered in crusty Cheerios. Accidentally stick my hand in coagulated pancake syrup. Blame it all on my husband for not loading the dishwasher right.

Must be off my meds.

Manager asks to talk to me about something later so I spend the next fifteen minutes realizing that I'm getting fired and should really just save everyone the trouble and quit but I'd better hurry up but I'm too paralyzed to even think or move so I just stand there frozen, gnawing at the cuticles on my fingertips like a dog on a bone.

Must be off my meds.

Staring at the calendars for the summer, I see a jumble of color-coded lines and times representing where each kid needs to be and when. There are dollar signs and babysitters' names and more dollar signs and work schedules tucked in the corner and questions upon questions about how to make it all work. I erase the pencil marks, spread the white-out over an entire square, and my mind races. All three months worth of papers eventually get angrily crumbled into balls and heaved over my shoulder. Print new ones. Start fresh. Breathe.....

Must be off my meds.

Walking in the door, feet aching, struggling to untie the knot in my apron, I stumble over piles of shoes and backpacks. Changing out of my uniform, I add them to the growing pile of clean-ish clothes next to my bed and as I look around all I can see is chaos and displacement. Stomping and slamming, grumbling and growling. I feel a headache coming on.

Must be off my meds.

Standing in the middle of the dining room next to a table of 16 people, a tray full of dirty bar glasses in my hand. Face to face with the guy bringing out the soups and salads for the first course. He starts to hand them out, but to the wrong people. I whirl into action, grabbing the plates, shoving my tray of glasses into his hands, my voice snapping like a whip. Heads turn nearby, wondering what is going on. I remember none of this later.

Must be off my meds.

Crying at my desk after reading a story on Yahoo news about the German flight being intentionally crashed into a mountain. Suddenly filled with overwhelming sense of dread about travel of any kind and convinced my husband is going to be in a car crash as he drives down I-94 today. Feelings of anger flare up because every time I'm with him in the car I have to tell him to slow down, red light means stop, that's a one-way street!!! Thoughts of planning his funeral lead me to wondering if maybe it will be me. I'm the one who has actually been in the car accidents in the past. What if I get hit after I pick up Micah from preschool? I'll have both him and Thomas in the van with me. What if I lose them both? How will I survive? Wait. What if I don't survive?

Must be off my meds.

This is a tiny glimpse into what my anxious mind looks like. I could go on and on, telling story after story. The other day, I decided that even though it is almost spring, I still want to get a pair of ankle boots. Ten minutes later, I was having a minor meltdown because I had convinced myself I was single-handedly sending us down the path to financial ruin.

I hadn't even ordered the damn boots.

Evan has a hard time understanding my anxiety and I can totally see why. It's irrational and illogical. It's worrying, yet it's something else entirely. There are moments when I straight up feel like I must be crazy.

I am not crazy.

I am also fully aware of the fact that the first thing most crazy people say when you talk to them about their crazy is "I am not crazy."

I do have anxiety. My anxiety does not control me. My anxiety does not define me.
Some days are harder than others. Some moments it is easier to keep my emotions under control than others. Yes, medication helps.

And yes.

I am off my meds.

And I still really want those boots.

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