Anxious, me? I didn’t think so

Start a sentence, reread, backspace to delete it. Start a thought, pause, backspace to delete it.  Start again, and again …and again.  The idea that getting the perfect first words to land the perfect first impression are tortuous for a perfectionist. (Reread and realize a word is missing and self-edit as you write.)

Does that sound familiar? If so, have you been hiding in my head?

To look at my house and my skills as a Donna Reed impersonator you would not think I was a perfectionist at all. Oh, but I am.  I so totally, completely am. Too bad it isn’t always about the things that matter, like personal appearance, laundry, decluttering and housekeeping.

I just finished reading a short list called 12 Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder.  I didn’t go looking for me.  I was actually looking up natural anti-anxiety remedies with SugarBug in mind.  She’s flying to Seattle in a couple weeks to visit a friend she hasn’t seen in over 6 years. SugarBug deals with some anxiety, and she is on the tail end of recovery from a broken ankle and surgery, and after nearly 12 weeks is finally able to start walking again. She has been on a plane for only one other trip. This time she’s going alone,  and flying out of and into airports I’ve never been to so I have no experience to share on them. Anyhoo, I found a list; it was published by the same website. The “12 Signs …” article came up as the next one in the queue.  Clickbait.  I took it.

For several years I’ve known I am not a good full time employee.  After a while I start thinking my bosses are looking reasons (or excuses) to fire me. “What if they realize i have ____ and ____ flaws? What if I can’t keep this level of performance up?” Self doubt – check. 

The last job I did have I ended up quitting because I could not physically force myself to open my door to go inside one day.  I sat, frozen, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, in the parking lot for over 2 hours before I sheepishly restarted the motor and drove home. Panic – check.

I count the basement stairs every time I walk down them, and usually going back up. Strangely not the ones going upstairs though.  I find myself “air typing” the words of my thoughts as they run through my head. I don’t feel the need to wash my hands multiple times in a row, but I do several times a day because I hate the feeling of dirty hands. Compulsive behavior – check.

Then there are the bathroom/toilet needs: food in, not solid out.  Suffice to say IBS has not been officially diagnosed, but … Chronic-indigestion – check.

I’ve dealt with TMJ for years because of the way my upper jaw structure is.  But lately I’ve noticed my cheeks are sore. What’s up with that?  It seems I’ve been clenching my jaw and carrying all this tension in my face for no apparent reason.  Muscle tension – check.

Sleep problems – check. Perfectionism – check. Flashbacks ( focussing on past negative things, even minor ones) – check. Self-consciousness – oh man, check!  The other things on the list that I don’t really pertain to me: excessive worry, irrational fears, stage fright.

Geez, I do have an anxiety problem.

~~~

Our previous health insurance was a self-funded HMO.  It employed its own doctors, nurses, PACs, and had its own radiology, MSWs, dieticians.  Every six months I had to be reevaluated for a “med check” being on an anti-depressant. I would get a brief two-sided questionnaire.  One side was for the depression, suicidal thoughts and such.  The other side asked about anxiety.  It focused primarily on the level of worry one has, and on quality of sleep.  I never associated sleep quality with anxiety, and since I’m not a chronic worrier I ignored it. It seems their parameters and criteria were a bit lacking, and I should have paid more attention.

Now I need to find a mental health professional to help navigate my new self diagnosis (because self-diagnoses are always accurate, right?).   Except I don’t have a primary care doctor because I lost that when the hubs changed jobs what with him being exclusive to that HMO. And we don’t have new insurance coverage — yet. And SugarBug needs more insulin; without insurance it is hundreds of dollars — per refill.

But I’m not going to worry. I’m not. Really. God’s got this.  And that’s why I don’t worry.  But I might suffer from some mild insomnia whilst clenching my teeth tonight. Deep breath, 2, 3, 4. Hold, 2, 3, 4. Exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8. Repeat.

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It is Well, and yet Not

I held a sobbing child in my arms last night for the first time in a very long time.  I held her close and just let the tears go, with salty bitterness and nose running all down my shoulder.   There were no soothing words to comfort, no back patting to help calm.  Hold her.  That’s all I could do.  I held her until she loosed her grip and let go.  I held her hands in mine, and kissed them.  I took her face close to mine and kissed it.  I whispered “I love you” in her ear.

The beautiful, distraught child was mine.  She will be 18 exactly 13  days from now. She stands an inch-and-a-half taller than me, but in her Doc Martens it is near to 3 inches.  And last night she was my little girl who needed her Momma all over again.  I sat next to her as she, as we, her Dad and I too, attended a funeral.

This was an unexpected funeral, and a tragic one at that, as many tend to be. The service was for a 17 year-old high school Junior who died by her own hand.  Vivi was a friend of SugarBug’s from church.  Being close in age they went through many of the same church programs together starting in the nursery as infants. They have known each other their whole lives but didn’t develop a friendship until both were in high school youth group together.  It was there they bonded over similar music tastes, distaste for conventional trendy fashion and a love for Jesus.

I’ve known Vivi and her parents just as long.  I worked in the church nursery as a Supervisor in charge of one of the rooms when she was born.  Her dad was SonnyBoy’s guitar teacher for a short time.  Her mother and I connected through women’s ministry, and various other ways we had volunteered over the years.

Our girls had another connection: depression.

There are few things in this world I truly hate, and by “hate” I mean I wish it never existed anywhere, anytime in this world.   And I HATE depression.  It is a sinister quiet little devil of a thing.  People who suffer with it look like nothing is wrong with them, at least most of the time.  And those fighting it aren’t always immediately aware when it is getting worse.  Outsiders don’t always realize that something has changed with the person caught in its grip. Sometimes the depressed don’t see it right away either — and they are the ones living with it.  It moves slowly, so slowly that it can be weeks or months before it is recognized as having taken hold.

And sometimes it moves at lightning speed.

Maybe that’s what happened with Vivi, that lightning speed onslaught of darkness.  Only she knows, and she isn’t here to tell us.

I can’t blame her — at least I don’t want to blame her — for taking her own life.  The whispers of self-loathing telling me the world would be a better place, that I would be in a better place, that no one would really miss me all that much, to ‘go ahead, do it’ have been all too familiar. LIES!  Those are all lies.

I want to scream at the top of my lungs. Cursing won’t do any good, and it won’t change anything, and it won’t make me feel any better.  It never does.  Blaming her parents is the absolute wrong thing to do.  Vivi’s dad made sure to have Pastor tell the attendees of the service that no one loved his girl as much or as fiercely as her mother did.

I love my girl fiercely, too.  I am afraid that she has heard those terrible whispered lies in the quiet recesses of her mind.  I am afraid.  And I hate being afraid.  I don’t think she is in any real danger of self-harm. But …I know this age and stage in life makes her extremely vulnerable.  I am  certain she struggles to see beyond being 19 or 20 years old. Anything much past that is just.so.old.

I want her to not just grow up, but grow old.  At Vivi’s funeral our Youth Ministry director said she always thought Vivi would grow up to be one of the coolest adults: independent, artistic, poetic, unfettered by the norms that keep adults so ‘adult.’  I could see that.  And sadly we none of us will get a chance to actually see that.

The night before the funeral during the visitation time Vivi’s mom took my girl in her arms, remembered her by name, and held her tight.  They clung to each other — my daughter in grief, the grieving mother in relief that her child was remembered by a friend. She told my girl how much hers had loved her, how she looked forward to seeing her at youth group, how she loved and admired SugarBug for being SugarBug, and doing it so boldly.

So my sweet girl, continue to go boldly into adulthood.  No matter how old you get you will always have my shoulder to cry on. And make Vivi proud by being one of the coolest adults on the planet, and love Jesus the whole while.

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    • Refrain:
      It is well with my soul,
      It is well, it is well with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is Well with My Soul, Horatio G Spafford, 1873

So, what’s new with you?

I know I hadn’t been by my own blog in a while, but I just realized it hasn’t been since January of this year.  It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say; it’s a rare thing when I’m completely speechless.

A quick re-cap of 2009:

Sonny Boy and I want to ride “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride” together in June, 2010.  I’ve been trying to think of creative ways to fundraise in advance so we can hit our goal early.

Sonny Boy and Girlfriend are still together. They have moments of  ‘I love you, I hate you’, but seem to work it out — or they just ignore the problems, which is bad.  One of his very good friends was killed in a car accident June 12; this sent him emotionally reeling.

Sweet Pea is doing some nannying in Delaware until early August.  She got her birthday present early (cell phone).  We told her it was for her overall safety, but, come on, the truth is I need to talk to her and hear her voice.  We’ve become texting monsters. She misses us, and admits to it, but this will be a good experience for her.

Sugar Bug got busted for cheating on her blood sugar testing logs — she wasn’t testing at all!  I don’t know how we missed that for FOUR MONTHS, but we trusted her, perhaps too much.  She is only 11 after all.  We, no– I, got chewed out by the nurse educator at her follow-up for not being more careful to double-check her meter to the log sheets.  Lesson learned by all involved, and it won’t happen again.  She wants to get an insulin pump, but the application asks her doctor if two months of blood sugar testinglogs are kept.  We do not have that since she was cheating, at least not yet.

Satchel, the cat, has turned out to be a very good hunter, and has caught and killed his keep in mice.  He’s a funny cat, snuggly up to a point and loves to sit on my books, papers or keyboard, or whatever else I happen to be working on.

Lady Bear is now on Fat Dog dog food.  She’s not the best behaved when she meets other dogs while on a walk, so she doesn’t get to go often.  We have a lot of dogs in the neighborhood, and I can’t control her if she starts lunging toward them.  It’s too bad, she’s getting better about not dragging me through the first half-mile.

I have been coaching with Team in Training since January, as a walk coach. I haven’t been sent to any event yet and will likely be staying here for the first-ever TNT participation of the local marathon.  I would love to go back to San Francisco as a coach, but there’s only one first time for TNT to be at any event, so staying here would be pretty cool.  If I keep coaching there’s always other opportunities to travel with the team.  I still do childcare at home, but otherwise am still (un)gainfully unemployed.

My Darling Husband has had some changes with his responsibilities with work, and is now a partner in the shop.  The whole company had to make some drastic changes or risk having to close their doors for good.  He’s busy, the shop is busy, the mechanics and salesmen are busy and that’s all good for the bottom line.  We’re not gonna get rich any time soon, but we aren’t losing the house either.

Well, it’s a sunny, blue-sky July afternoon and the kids are wanting to go swim.  The pool needs a good vacuuming before that can happen, and I’ve just gotten “the look” and “you haven’t even started yet?”.  Flav-R-Ice to the rescue!

Taking a Break to Make Decisions

I’ve just gotten off the phone with a friend who was asking if I’d be using or be interested in selling a science text book we have. She wanted to know if we’d be using it for Sugar Bug when she gets old enough.  I told I was still thinking about sending Sweet Pea to the co-op class that’s starting in a couple of weeks, which would use the book.  Problem: no money to sign her up, or pay the class fees.  She’s a good friend, and would probably let me make installments over the semester, all I’d have to do is prob’ly ask.

There’s a history/Lit/Bible class also offered.  It would be worth 3 high school credits, which Sweet Pea needs to have.  She wants to go to MSU and go through their Veterinary Medicine program and, well.. be a vet.  She loves animals, but thinks she wants to take care of large ones– horses, hippos, elephants, giraffe.  I think she’d cry just as much as any family to have to put a sick or injured animal down.

Sonny Boy has been tolerant of his parents of late.  He’s convinced we’ve screwed up his life, which isn’t entirely true.  We (read: I, me) have made some mistrakes with parenting and schooling decisions, and they can’t be undone.  I need to sit with him, have a long talk and ask for his forgiveness.

I was trying to work hard at getting caught up on a lot of housework that’s been pushed aside for a very long time when I got that call. I decided to take a break, grab some lunch and write. Only I haven’t eaten yet.  I think I’m actually making progress– with the housework, but I’m not nearly done.  I’ve decided to save laundry folding for later tonight, after sunset, so I can do it and listen/watch some TV. I’ve got stacks of books that need to be sorted and re-organized into subjects.  That may be a good job for tomorrow, after my walk.

Tomorrow is my next long (group) training day.  We have 14 miles on the agenda, but I may do 16.  Last week was supposed to be 16, but I didn’t see that until after I was home, showered and ready to devour a side of beef.  I wasn’t going to go back out to finish those last 2 miles.  I’ve realized the marathon is just 7 weeks away now! I have fundraising to do still– almost $1500. Any takers!?!  No? well, how about $30 or $50? As much as I’d love for an anonymous stranger to just 15 Benjamin’s into my lap, I know that’s not realistic– well, as realistic as winning tonight’s Mega Millions $134 Million jackpot.

So, to recap, I’ve decided: A) Sweet Pea should take the co-op classes.  I’ll have to find the money from somewhere. B) I need to talk to my son, really talk to him and apologize for not being the parent he needed. C)  Fold laundry during Numb3rs tonight D) Go eat some lunch, then scrub the kitchen floor.  E) Resist the urge to spend $1 on the voluntary tax that is the Michigan lottery.

Must dash off now, hunger beckons, and the cookies are screaming Eat me! so I better find something healthier than that.

Knees

I woke up this morning thinking I’d had a bad allergy attack overnight, but it turns out to be the start of a summer cold. I’ve been keeping a steady stream of decongestant and allergy pills going through me all day, and still I can’t breathe. I think it’s been working its way here for a couple of days. I’ve been dragging my feet, so to speak, and now I know why.

I’ve had random stressors bombarding me lately. Sonny Boy had the rear-ending episode, the car’s been in the shop for other reasons, we got a kitten and Lady Bear has been eating his poo—covered in cat litter (gross!). The kitten, who’s name is Satchel, has to go to the vet in the morning. I have to see an orthopaedist about my knees, one makes a popping/crunching sound when it bends, which you can feel if you put a hand on the kneecap. I’ve been mentoring a group of people for this season’s Team in Training events, and have been trying to train and fund raise for my own. Sonny Boy got a job, and I’m not sure exactly where he’s working. He got it through Girlfriend’s “Parental (something, something)”. I just prefer to call him her “other” step-dad—her dad is gay. Sugar Bug is going to a camp next week, and I’m chaperoning the trip. We have to make sure all of her diabetes Rx information is all with us. Money is tight; gas costs a fortune and I quit my job in March. Sonny Boy and Girlfriend have an escalating situation with a Young Lady who used to be his “special interest”. (Her parents wouldn’t allow her to “date”, and so they just made moon eyes at each other, and talked on the phone, sent e-mails. He chose to end things—a year ago— because it couldn’t go anywhere anyway. Well, now Girlfriend is in the picture and Young Lady thinks Girlfriend stole her boyfriend. Apparently that is just the tip of the iceberg.) And, did I mention I’m getting a cold? Yeah, I think I did.

It sounds like I’m complaining. Does it sound like I’m complaining? I’m not trying to, just stating facts of my life right now. What I should be doing is getting on my knees in prayer, searching God’s timeless and ageless wisdom to get me through. Except if I lay in bed, I’ll fall asleep, and I can’t literally sit on my knees, because they’ll go numb.

I don’t want sympathy. I’ll take donations for my fundraising efforts, and I’ll take your prayers.

Un-ordinary People

I went for a walk with Sugar Bug a couple of hours ago. We went up the main street past the city cemetery. After I told her I love cemeteries, she wanted to know why.

“There’s so much history buried in there. People who have lived their lives, gone places, done things. You know, just ordinary people who went about their business.”

“What kind of people?” she asked.
“Well, some were parents raising their families, dads who went to work. Some were in the military and fought in wars.”

“I don’t think they would be ordinary. I think that makes them un-ordinary”

“Which ones are ‘un-ordinary’?” (I knew she meant extra-ordinary, but I didn’t want to correct her; grammar lessons could wait. I wanted to hear what she said.)

“The ones in the military. That makes them special, because they were there ready to give up their life so someone else could be free. That makes them un-ordinary.”

“I suppose that does, then, doesn’t it. There are a lot of people who don’t think the same way today.”

“Why don’t they?” (She has no idea how loaded that question is in a post-modern 21st Century USA.)

“Well, back when those people were alive, they –and the culture and society — used to think it was a privilege and a duty to serve their country. It was an honor for them to be in the military. They did it out of respect and honor for their country.”

“O, that definitely makes them un-ordinary.”

[ I thought of telling her that back then they didn’t think about whether it was the nations business to be there, if the military action could be politically and socially justified, or if it was ‘the right thing to do’. They left that to politicians and government to sort through; they joined because they wanted to serve, not earn a free college education. That’s what I wanted to add, but I didn’t. I’ll let her 10 year old innocence stay intact for as long as it can. I’ll let her patriotism stay strong, so she can still think people today serve their country in the military because of love of country– nothing more, nothing less. ]

Un-ordinary indeed! To her, they are heroes, and that’s the kind we need to look up to more often.