So apparently I had shiny good intentions about writing a list of 100 things I am thankful for, just in time for Thanksgiving. Look at me with the holiday spirit. Except…
Right now I am not feeling so thrilled and thankful. I know deep down that I have so much to be thankful for and that there are so many that have it worse that I do, but that isn’t helping to combat the overwhelming stress and anxiety that I am feeling.
I’ve always been a worrywart. I’m not able to ‘let things go’ or ‘let it work out’ or any of that. I worry. It is what I do. But I have never, NEVER felt that the worrying part of me was taking over in such a scary way.
I am stressed out about work. My work isn’t brain surgery, but it is high pressure, and right now I am working on a BIG SCARY PROJECT WITH CRAZY DEADLINES THAT IS HIGHLY VISIBLE TO THE COMPANY.
It is a great opportunity for me to show what I can do. It is also scary, and overwhelming, and making me feel stupid and inadequate. I am struggling with it and I am struggling to admit that, even to myself.
But that is not the scary part.
It’s pretty common knowledge that stress in one aspect of life will manifest itself in other ways. What’s scaring me is that I don’t know if the rest of the stress (or dare I use the word anxiety) that I’m feeling is simply related to the stress of this project or if this is something else going on.
Let me back up.
For the last few months, I’ve been experiencing a higher than normal level of anxiety. I’ve been blaming it on a number of things: being thrown into a new position at work, an added level of responsibility in my life with the house purchase, PMS – you name it.
I’ve just kept assuming that it would stop.
But it has only gotten worse.
This latest work-related stress had brought things up to a fever pitch. I can fall asleep fine (as long as the TV is on to lull me to sleep) but I wake up every night around 1 or 2 and my mind races and I can’t force it back to sleep. I snap at Matt over the stupidest things. I get so upset by mundane tasks like loading the dishwasher that my heart pounds and my hands shake.
A few nights ago, during one of my typical late night worry-sessions, I could hear a beeping going on somewhere in the house. After a little while, I finally deduced that it was a low battery alarm on a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector. I figured out which one it was and took the batteries out only to find that they were AA batteries (not 9 volt like I thought all smoke detectors took). We didn’t have any AA batteries in the house.
So I went back to bed and lay awake completely convinced that the house was going to burn down because ONE of the NINE SMOKE DETECTORS in the house was out.
This week, Matt has been sick. A few nights ago, he was coughing in the middle of the night, and he got a cough drop. He put the cough drop in his mouth, rolled over, and dozed off. I lay awake convinced that he was going to choke on the cough drop in his sleep and die.
On Thanksgiving, Matt went out and started my car for me so that it would warm up. I flipped out and made him go turn it off FOR NO GOOD REASON. I cannot even now thing of a logical reason for the way I acted. He had used the spare set of keys to start it because he couldn’t find mine and I had a fit because he used THE WRONG KEY. As if the wrong key would somehow cause impending doom.
The next day, I made him search the entire house for gift tags because I was convinced that we had some somewhere and IF WE DIDN’T USE GIFT TAGS RIGHT AWAY HOW WOULD WE POSSIBLY KNOW WHO THE GIFT WAS FOR. When Matt pointed out that the only gifts we had were for each other and that his was square and mine rectangular I cried and told him that he just didn’t understand at all and didn’t care about me. Then I made him go look for the gift tags again.
This is not normal behavior. It is not ok. I don’t know what to do about it.
Right now, as I write this, I am thinking that I must be able to just make it stop – just turn my mind away from these thoughts and become the happy person that I want to be. But late last night I tried desperately to do just that. And I failed miserably.
I am hoping that it will go away. I gave myself a stern talking to just now and I said, “Self, you know that you are having some trouble right now. You need to made a concerted effort to stop this. Think before words come out of your mouth. Talk to Matt and explain how you are feeling. MAKE IT STOP.”
And then a tiny little voice said, “But what if it doesn’t?”
What if I try my best and things calm down at work and I just continue this out of control worrying? What if I can’t control my snapping at Matt? That is my biggest fear – that Matt will get so sick of not having the girl that he loves, the girl who smiles and laughs and jokes, that he leaves me.
I love mini golf. (Go with it, this has a relevant point.) Sometime during the first summer that we were dating Matt and I went to play mini-golf. Except we didn’t know where we were going. We didn’t even know what TOWN we were going to. We only knew that Matt’s college friend had mentioned something about there being an awesome mini-golf place near where we lived. He had said that at least a year ago. And we weren’t all that sure if he East blah-blah-blah or West blah-blah-blah.
But do you know what we did? We got in the car, and we drove around, and we got lost, and we stopped at various places, and we tried to read a map, and we sang along to the radio, and eventually? We found this awesome mini-golf place. It was sunny and warm and we had a blast and it was basically one of the best days I have ever had. Ever. Ever ever ever.
I want to be that girl again.
Because this girl? The one that I am today? Would never be able to let go enough to do that. She would worry about getting lost, and wasting time, and oh my god the laundry and the dishes and that spreadsheet for work are you kidding we can’t waste time driving around looking for some phantom mini-golf place. And even if we could we would be wasting MONEY and GAS and TIME and no no no we can’t possibly do that.
I hate her. I don’t want to be her anymore.
So I am choosing not to be her. I am choosing to try my very best to change this. And I am promising myself that I will do whatever is necessary to do it.
I hope this works.