Is it really living?
I thought it was just a phase. I thought it was going to pass and that I wouldn’t always feel the knot in my stomach when someone asked me to do something.
I used to be a cheerleader in the middle of a football field or basketball court and at crowded pep rallies.
As the oldest of 5 girls, it was always my job to either go first to do something or represent us all. If we were at a family event, I had to go first and kiss everyone which sometimes resulted in kissing neighbors of relatives that didn’t know me or me them or pushing aside the intense fear of public speaking to give a speech at our parents’ anniversary party or our dad’s retirement party.
I married someone who loves to go out and loves to attend EVERYTHING. This part confuses the heck out of me. Did I once enjoy it, too? How in the world did we fall for each other? It must have, at one time, not bothered me. I think back and I can sort of remember being a part of it but it feels like it was a different person…like I’m watching a movie or a TV show about someone else.
I think the anxiety snuck up on me with what I am thinking is a vice grip because it will let up but never fully go away. It feels like such a cliché. It seems that more and more I hear people are dealing with some form of anxiety.
I’m missing Nico’s first football game of his senior year. It’s killing me that I can’t force myself to go. It’s the cross town game so it is emotionally charged and nasty all in one. Obviously that doesn’t help. It seems that everyone in town is at that game so the crowd anxiety is paralyzing. Belle wanted to go but didn’t have a ride (that has since been resolved) and you’d think I’d be the obvious choice but I couldn’t. She didn’t understand and how can I explain that the thought of driving there, finding parking, fighting the crowd and being nervous for Nico makes me want to throw up and hide. I’m not exaggerating. My stomach feels like it is in my mouth. I don’t want to talk to anyone and all I want to do is crawl in bed and have someone text me how he’s doing.
When did this happen? When did it get so bad I started missing my kids’ things? I joke a lot that I crawl out from my rock (to go to the bus stop, to go to curriculum night, to do things that I know will help Gia socially because she is basically an only child a lot of the time) but in all honesty, I’m counting the minutes until I can be back home (and this is not my dream home by any means). I don’t want to be this way. It’s stifling and feels like I’m not living at all and I know this so I make plans that sound like a great idea but as it nears, my mind and body start working overtime. I can’t breathe and I feel like I’m in flight or fight mode desperately thinking of a way to get out of the plans. How crappy is that? That’s not the friend, sister, daughter, mom that I want to be and yet I’m powerless to stop it.
And I’m on meds! I know they are working because with some of the stuff that has gone over the past year (new job, car accident and more medical issues than I can count), I don’t think I’d be blogging right now, I think I’d be in a padded room.
Maybe it’s gotten worse because we are about to go through the 7th surgery for this family since January:
April- I had another tongue surgery and then two weeks later, Nico had a sinus surgery (his 10th or 11th)
May- Gia had an MRI for a swollen salivary gland that ended her up in the hospital for 3 days. She had to go all the way under so we had to go through the surgery department.
June- Gia had surgery to remove the blocked salivary gland. Apparently, you can do without one.
July- Gia had her tonsils out.
Aug.31- Tommy is having surgery because he has another hernia.
All the while, Tommy has dealt with several episodes of the red bumps (we are waiting for him to get them to biopsy them but he keeps having episodes on weekends).
It’s actually embarrassing at this point to go to the hospital. I absolutely hate medical tests, medical procedures and any kind of surgery. I mean, that’s not uncommon. Does anyone love having that stuff done? I have this reaction when one of my kids comes to me with an issue. It’s this heaviness that causes a throbbing headache and ends with a pit in my stomach. My eyes burn with tears that want to fall but can’t because I’m the mom and crying freaks them out (and makes me feel weak). Then the fight in my brain starts. Call or don’t call. All of the “what ifs” and “it’s nothings” swirl in my head until I work up the nerve to call the doctor. Just once I’d like to go to the doctor and have them tell me it’s nothing major, give my kids meds and send us on our merry way.
The one place I don’t feel anxious…in the classroom. I walked through the door to set up my classroom and it felt so right. Just so happy to be sitting there with the lessons and the schedule and the name tags and the smiley-faced shapes, my God, how I love the smiley-faced objects (one of my teacher friends, I can’t remember which one, hates smiley-faced objects). I went to a meeting for volunteers that are going to teach Religious Education (I did it years ago before I lost Rocco) and I felt a completely different stomach sensation. It was bubbling with excitement. (Totally aware of how corny that is but I’m at a loss for other descriptive words that describe it as perfectly as that.) I’m going to teach Kindergarten and I am so excited!
I’m working three days a week this year and two of the days I have my own class and the other day, I am craft person for the teacher I worked with last year. The three days work so well this year with Gia being in half-day Kindergarten. Normally change (unless it is with my house) scares me but I think change when teaching keeps things new and fresh and it makes me really excited for this year.
So what about you? Any tricks to dealing with this kind of anxiety? Anyone else feel this way? I’m sharing because if this makes one person out there not feel alone in dealing with this, then it is worth it to post it. And truthfully, it would help to not feel like I’m the only one.