LA wrote this post and it jump-started the hatching of thoughts.
In case you don’t actually click the link and read the post, she had some allergy symptoms mixed with anxiety, and before she knew it, she’d panicked herself into full on covid mode. She knew better, but couldn’t shake the feels.
I’m suffering from allergies, I’m taking my allergy meds, but if it’s sunny, I’m opening the house and letting the pollen in by the bucket load just to get fresh air in this place.
I know it’s allergies, but the ‘what ifs’ are actively punching me in the face.
I know it’s allergies, and even though I know it’s allergies, I continue to talk myself off the ledge.
And I think, ‘FUUUUUUUUUUCK I have this virus’, instead of thinking, ‘I’ll probably get this virus sooner or later.’
It’s natural to feel all these irrational feels, with all our heightened anxiety in a time when the world is in pandemic mode.
It’s especially tricky when you logically think and understand one thing, yet feel so strongly another.
When the feels are big, logic goes out the window.
This week YBW is home. I don’t feel comforted by that. It’s actually more stressful.
That feels awful to say, but when he’s at work, I can focus on what I’m doing, and even though he’s coming in and out of the house, I feel hopeful we’re still safe.
When he’s here, I find it distracting. I have more trouble staying focused, or on task.
As much as I want to spend time with him, I’m more panicky when he’s here than when he’s not.
That has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me. It’s one less thing I can control about my environment.
I was fired up Wednesday morning.
I was mad the kitchen was a mess. I was mad there was food on the coffee table from where Thing G ate the night before when I was folding laundry and needed a place to put it. I was mad that before 9 am I’m showered and dressed, doing laundry, and putting a pork shoulder in the crock pot so we’ll have dinner.
I was grouchy and complaining and YBW was sighing.
I went upstairs mad.
About twenty minutes later, I went to YBW and told him I wanted to apologize for being grouchy. That because I’m tired of feeling anxious and cooped up everything I feel is heightened. Things like feeling frustrated that the kid takes no responsibility for himself or as a human being in this household.
He sighs when I express my frustration. When I say that, he asks what he should do instead of sigh.
I stopped and worked hard to express the sighing is fine, it’s that he’s taking it personally is what I don’t like.
He feels responsible that the kid does or does not do the things.
I’ve come to the realization and acceptance that Thing G isn’t going to change his behavior. But it still frustrates me. So, to stop YBW from feeling responsible, I’m going to stop expressing my frustration.
The kid is what the kid is. He has no interest in being different. No amount of ignoring, shouting, guidance, or love makes a difference. No matter what we’ve said, or done, he doesn’t change his behavior. At this point, I’m honestly just counting down the days until he goes to live with his mother and I don’t have to watch it anymore.
At some point YBW has to let go of feeling responsible because the kid chooses not to be responsible for himself.
These are the real and frustrating thoughts I have, but can’t express because they’re hurtful to the man I love most.
When we express ourselves, we can’t control how it’s received. Especially in the current environment of heightened anxiety. What we can control is the way in which we express our thoughts and feels.
LA was feeling anxious and reached out to a friend she loves and trusts, but her friend was at the same level of anxious and it just went sideways.
I was feeling anxious. Cooped up. Tired of these four walls. Tired of doing the things that run the house while other people don’t. I took out my anxiety and frustration on YBW.
Neither LA nor her friend intended to make as stressful situation worse. I didn’t intend to have my frustration escalate to the point of starting our day off in a such a way.
It took me twenty minutes, but I knew how important it was to nip it in the bud.
I needed a pause.
I chose to press reset.
We love our friends and family dearly. We’re all in an anxious state. This works against us when we’re expressing ourselves.
We’re off kilter just enough that logic takes a backseat. Instead of being able to say, I’m having a crap day and need some loving reassurance, LA expressed her anxiety in the form of verbal vomit about how allergies were covid.
Instead of going about my business and quietly cleaning up the messes, I expressed my anxiety as verbal vomit about being frustrated over normal everyday occurrences.
But in addition to the anxious expression of our feels, they were received by those in a heightened anxious state.
Now is the time for us to do the hard work of effective communication.
To be crystal clear about our communication expectations.
We need to do our best to state clearly at the beginning of a conversation, or to ask clearly before engaging in the conversation, I (or do you) need a listener. Or I (or do you) need help problem solving.
We’re going to fail at this sometimes, because we can’t be in both the front and back of our brain at the same time. But if we can stop for a moment and move from the back to the front of our brain, we’re going to be able to communicate more effectively even though we’re anxious.
This whole situation is stressful!
I’m having moments of hanging by a thread. I want to have the biggest fucking temper tantrum you’ve ever seen.
The anxiety in me thinks that sounds straight up amazing!
Y’all it’s a crap situation.
It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
And that’s even if none of us or any one we love gets sick.
At the end of her post, LA wrote:
I verbalized all the stuff swirling in my head, which in turn released the fifty pound weight that had centered itself on my chest…
Same, LA, saaaaaaame.
It feels wonderful to be able to say what I think and feel in a safe and neutral environment.
I’m grateful we’re all here to read and respond to each other’s words.