Posts Tagged With: anxious

apparently, I need to “calm my stress”

At the holistic doctor on Tuesday, “Your adrenals are pissed. You need to calm your stress.”
Um…Ya think?

I’m staying off social media.
I’m not watching the news.
I’m trying not to listen when I overhear folks talking.
This is what I’m doing to calm my stress over the school shooting in Parkland Florida.

It is not lost on me that I spend my days in a public school. In a huge, open room with no safe place to corral children to hide. With doors that do not lock.
Would I do whatever it took to keep these children safe?
Yes.
Would I die for them?
Possibly.
Do I feel like that’s my job?
Hell no.

Do I want to keep the children in my school safe?
Absolutely!
Do I need to give my life to do so?
I’d rather not, thanks.

I’m a mom. I’m a wife. In the Autumn, I’ll be a grandmother. However grown, is it acceptable for my girls to be motherless because I died protecting other peoples children? And YBW? Is it acceptable for him to be a widower before we even gain traction on our greatest life adventure together? And little Shrimpy, the bebe I long to know and love. To teach and learn with. To watch irritate his or her mother and Auntie. Is it acceptable for that child to miss out on what might possibly be the coolest grandmother-grandchild relationship ever?

I carry this in me each day I arrive at my sweet little suburban elementary school. (Which, BTW shares physical campus space with an equally sweet suburban high school.)

Now this concept is always and has always been in the back of my mind. And to be quite honest, I lived through something similar during the sniper attacks in October 2002. Keeping children safe through that was a bit more simple, we just never let them go out of doors. At school, or at home.

Do I honestly believe someone will come into our school and start shooting it up?
No.
Is my concern understandable?
Yes.

And then we had a two day heat wave. And I mean record breaking warm temperatures.
I opened the windows wide!
I let the cruddy stale winter air be replaced by delightful breezy spring air.
We needed the sunlight. (My vitamin D is so low.) We needed the beauty of the past two days.

Of course, we’re not the only house in the neighborhood with windows open. And so it came to pass yesterday from the hours of 3:00 to nearly 8:00 the horrible shouty man screamed obscenities and threats at his wife.
This is not new in our neighborhood. There is long standing knowledge of the chaos that is their relationship. Apparently it isn’t physical, just verbal. She drinks too much and he shouts horrific things at her. He shouts horrific things at her and she drinks too much.
Which came first?
We may never know.

I’ve been anxious and bordering on depressed for a few weeks now, to such degree I’ve begun conversations with YBW about me talking with my doctor regarding mood meds.
I’m dull. I’ve lost my sparkle. I’m sleeping too much. I’m suffering insomnia. I eat nothing. I’m bingeing.
I can’t seem to shake myself loose from it.

It’s partly because of this that what happened to those kids in Parkland feels…more.
It’s partly because of this that the horrible shouty man screaming at his wife on and off for five hours did me in yesterday.

Early on in the afternoon, his shouting made me anxious. I knew it then, but I was busy with laundry, and had the TV on for sound it was easy to not hear his actual words. And somehow that kept me feeling safe in my own house while I could hear him in his. But as it wore on and on I could feel myself flooding with stress hormones.
But then as suddenly as it began, it stopped.

Just as I began to feel comfortable again, YBW came home. Even though I’m struggling, I had momentary joy.

Before long, the shouting started again. Only this time, it was closer.
From what I can deduce, the wife went over to one of the neighbors to get away from him. So when his shouting began again, they were at the house directly behind ours.
I was sitting in my comfy chair right next to the window. I could hear every word.
I was on the computer in the middle of something that I needed to finish immediately. I turned on music to drown out his shouting. I wanted to close the window but I was hot and the breeze felt nice.
As I sat here, I became more stressed and more anxious. Realizing I was feeling fearful in my own house!
My face was hot and my head began to hurt and I forced myself out of the shallow breathing pattern.

When I finally finished my task, I went downstairs. YBW was watching the Olympics. I came into the room and said, “I’m so anxious from listening to him shout for so long.” YBW immediately wrapped his body around mine and held me close and quietly. I actually felt as though I melted into him for a moment. That embrace was powerful enough to calm my body and my spirit. YBW’s love grounded me, and I’m so grateful.

Just writing about this now I’m feeling nearly as anxious as I did yesterday.

The actions of others are impacting me with a greater force than I would like.
Normally I have the skills to fend off these outside influences. I normally repel them with the strength of my character. My strong will, and sense of humor.
Seems I’m tapped out of late.
I seem unable to calm my stress.
I hear Hagrid’s frantic voice in my head, “It was dark times, Harry. Dark times.”

I have an appointment with my therapist.
I have herbs and supplements from the holistic doctor that are meant to aid in improving my sense of emotional well being.
If I can’t seem to shake myself from the place I am, I’ll go my general practitioner and have a conversation to see if spending a bit of time with Wellbutrin might make a difference.

In the meantime, I’m only watching HGTV, Food Network, and the Olympics, and I’ve closed the windows on my computer and my house to help block things that only make me more anxious.
But I left the curtains open to let in the ever helpful and hopeful sunlight.

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What are we doing?

My heart is heavy today.
Partly it’s because Thing 2 left yesterday.
Her being here brought me much anticipated joy! We did all the goofy things we wanted to do. We almost snuggled enough. We had good heart to heart talks that included tears and laughter. I’m glad she was here. I’m glad she went home to her friends, I know she was missing them. She’ll be back in a month and we’ll do it all over again!

Partly my heart is heavy because things feel weird with YBW.
We were being goofy in the kitchen a few nights ago and he thought I was hitting him with the dish towel so he leaned over and licked me from chin to hairline. A big, spitty-cow-tongue kind of lick. So after I wiped off my face and got the saliva out of my ear, I punched his upper arm.
When we went up to bed I was being silly and he didn’t want any part of it. That’s when he told me I had really hurt him.
He did everything he was supposed to do. He told me he didn’t like that I hurt him, and please not to ever hit him that hard again.
Then he fell asleep.

I haven’t slept in the same bed with him since that night.

The next morning I brought up the situation. I wanted to clear the air, make sure we could talk about it and understand each other’s points of view.
I apologized for hurting him.
It was clear that I punched him with intent. But I had no intent to hurt him. I think it was just one of those punches that lands much differently than anticipated.

We talked about what it means to be physical in non-sexual ways.
YBW tends to be very “handsy”. He is quick to touch or tweak various parts of me as we pass by one another. He’s quick to pet my hair or cradle my face in the palm of his hand. I quite love this about him. That small, silly physical demonstration of his affection for me.
Yes, sometimes it becomes difficult. There are times I’d rather he not randomly tickle me or grab my bottom as he follows me up the stairs.
In this conversation, I expressed my displeasure that it’s a one-way street. If I try to be playful and tweak at him he doesn’t like it. Now this is mostly because he’s extremely ticklish and most times it feels less tweakish and more ticklish to him.
But sometimes it doesn’t seem quite fair to me.

This conversation was…tricky. I knew bringing it up would create a scenario in which neither of us would want to touch the other for fear of crossing this imaginary line. I actually said as much.
We’re still working on hearing what the other says and not falling into old patterns of hearing what’s been said to us in our previous lives. I didn’t want to bring it up because I knew what would happen. But while we were near the subject, I needed to say what I was thinking.
That’s what grown ups do. They talk about ‘all the things’.

So, where that left us is days of no physical contact. Precious little eye contact. And me not being able to sleep next to him.
I’m just so uncomfortable around him. I don’t know if he’s uncomfortable around me or not.

Last night I was brushing my teeth and he was in and out of the bathroom. Normally he would run his hand across my bottom every time he passes me, but not last night.
He was already in bed when I got there.
I said: I’m going to try and stay in here all night.
He asked why I was leaving. I told him I just couldn’t sleep. Which is true. I lie there and simply cannot sleep so I get up and got into the other room. I don’t sleep much better in there, but I don’t feel quite as anxious as I do lying next to him.
He asked: Am I doing something to keep you from sleeping?
No.
Then I told him I kept waiting for him to touch my butt while I was brushing my teeth. I told him I didn’t like where we were. I pointed out that I asked if I could lean on him while we were sitting on the couch early in the day.
He replied that he still didn’t know when or how he could touch me but assured me I could touch him.

Two nights in a row I curled up behind his sleeping body, my face pressed against his back. Just breathing his scent trying to feel connected to him. Then got up and left the room.

I don’t know if Thing 2 being here inhibited us being connected, I was focusing most of my time and attention on her. The boys are here too, I don’t know if that inhibits us from being connected, YBW is focused on Thing G.
I’m not sure it’s as much them as it is us.

I honestly believe something shifted the night I punched him.
That however playful my intentions were, it landed in a very real way.
I don’t think he wants to really talk to me. I don’t think he really wants to have any sort of physical contact with me.

It’s hard to have an intimate conversation when there are kids in the house, but I’m going to try again to bring it up when he comes home today. We may have to wait till Friday when the boys go back to their mom.
I believe he’s struggling with this too. I don’t think it’s all in my head. But I’m going to have to take the initiative, because I can’t sit with it much longer.

One good thing about Thing 2 leaving is that I can go downstairs and sleep in my cocoon instead of the upstairs guest bed. At least that will be more comfy until we can figure out what the hell we’re doing.

Categories: love, me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

choosing a photographer and the s’mores bar

Wedding planning is in full swing.
I’m equally excited and anxious. That’s normal I suppose…but somehow doesn’t seem quite right.

The most important things to me are a photographer and the venue.

The venue is sorted, Naked Mountain Winery. (Beautiful inside and out and such delicious wine! Sundance especially loves the fact our invitations will contain the word ‘naked’.)

The photographers I had my heart set on are booked on our day. (Though I didn’t stamp my feet, I did have a teeny moment of pouting, with the protruding lip and everything.) 
I rallied quickly and began the search, eventually settling on three photographers.

I sat with YBW and looked at their online portfolios…I’m not all that sure it was easy for him. In his defense, he admits it’s not as important to him as it is to me, and he’s also quick to point out my eye is very different than his. But I noticed he made pretty astute observations and had enough feedback to help me understand where he was coming from.
I spent Saturday afternoon and evening emailing with our top two picks setting up appointments to meet with them this week. The first one Tuesday, the second on Thursday. I like the idea of meeting with the both in one week, it will be easier for me to make my decision.

Been emailing with the caterer too. She’s absolutely spectacular! We’re going to meet with her a week from Sunday for a tasting and to discuss the contract.
When we talked originally, I told her how fall was my favorite season and YBW and I have this quirky love of chicken pot pie. (Of our children, only Thing 2 enjoys this dish, and only recently. So it’s normally just we two.)
She presented us with a sample menu filled with delicious looking foods including roasted root veggies and roasted brussel sprouts. (Yeah…that’s pretty much just me.)
But the thing (apart from the pot pie) that piqued our curiosity is the inclusion of a s’mores bar. Handmade marshmallows, handmade graham crackers and artisan chocolates. (Um…yes please!)
Looking forward to meeting with her and trying some of these yummies and goodies!

All in all now that the planning is active and not preliminary my excitement is growing exponentially. I think YBW’s is too. Obviously different aspects are more important to one of us than the other, but it’s been fun to plan with him. I like hearing his ideas. I enjoy sharing mine.
I’ve learned he’s much more traditional than I am when it comes to the idea of a wedding. We’ve had more than one conversation about how cupcakes are a great alternative to a fancy (and expensive) wedding cake that nobody will eat. (Duh! S’mores bar!)
I suggested letting Thing C wear Chuck Taylor high tops because they are his daily shoe and I want the personalities of our children to be represented. YBW wasn’t too sure about that…but I think he’s coming around. He was very specific about writing our own vows, something I hadn’t even thought about.
I’m adamant about being “prayed over” or “blessed” and he has no care about this one way or another.
We’re figuring out how we want to present the joining of our lives the the people we love. We’re figuring out how we want to do this together. One step at a time. We’re walking these steps together and that’s really all that matters.

Categories: wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

black (like my heart) Friday

It’s not even eight o’clock and I worry where the day will lead when a fight gets picked within six minutes of waking up. My instinct is to run. In my jammies and sock footed to get in my car and get away from here.
It seems as though I have a tone that sounds accusatory and inappropriate when speaking to YBW. I feel sure it wasn’t my tone, more the subject matter.
Or perhaps the fact that I had an opinion about the subject matter at all.
Or perhaps the fact that he’s felt belittled his entire life and I’ve spent mine struggling to be heard has the most to do with it. I tend to say things over and in different ways because I have a real and desperate need to feel heard. He tends to hear everything as some sort of condemnation, that he’s simply not right or good enough.
This can, on occasion, be a difficult way to communicate.
This morning was one of those times.

As I write this, I am actively fighting my instinct to run. That anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach, the fiery feeling in my brain stem screaming at me to get out and go someplace safe.
Before it’s all over, I suspect I’ll end up with a headache but I can handle that.

It’s not the first time this week there’s been a breakdown in communication that caused a fight. Lately I don’t feel like I can express myself unless I’m very careful to censor the subject matter. This of course triggers my deeply rooted and insecure hot buttons.
I believe it’s mostly about subject matter with YBW and I’ve considered just removing certain subjects from our conversations. Only that’s not a realistic way to live…or communicate. So I watch my tone and try to be honest. I try not to make him feel criticized or attacked in any way.
It’s still censorship.
Kindness is uniquely important…therefore not really censorship? I don’t actually know.

I don’t think YBW is an ass, or stupid, or any of the other things I occasionally get accused of. I think we hear what we’ve been conditioned to hear. We ALL hear what we’ve been conditioned to hear.
I have worked hard to show him I do not think those negative things about him with the sincere hope he will one day know that.

I’m struggling with this life.
I left my life to come be in his life with him with the plan it would become our life.
I have to “parent” two kids that are not mine. Who were raised completely differently than I know how to raise children. So I adapt to the way they do things in this family.
It’s hard. It makes me sad sometimes.
I feel like I’ve had to make all the sacrifices to be in this relationship. (He has made huge financial sacrifices, but the rest of his life pretty much got to stay the same.)
I always knew I would be the one who would assimilate into his life. There was never any question of that for simple logistics, his younger son, his home and employer.
I guess I didn’t realize it would be quite so hard.

It’s painful to feel I gave up everything to make a new life. I always felt it was going to be a better life, so that made the initial pain easier to stomach. I guess I just didn’t realize it would continue to feel that way.
Is it because I’m all settled and we’re comfortable? Is it because neither of us is on “our best behavior” anymore?
I feel like the life I chose, my life, the one I chose when I was twenty years old…however awful it became…was mine. By my own design.
This life is me trying to fit into the life someone else designed.
I deserve the chance to make it mine too.

Yesterday I watched the people in my life sit on the sofa while I made sure we had proper Thanksgiving dinner for their family.
I was asked if I need help, I was asked for specific directions.
I’m not a general. I don’t want to bark orders.
I want people to take initiative…or at the very least get up off their ass and stand in the kitchen with me so I don’t feel like everybody’s bitch.

I don’t think I’m unreasonable. And I can assure you I’ve examined that possibility.

I’m sitting on the sofa with tears on my face and Thing G is worried and comes to hug me.
That innocent kindness is unconditional love.
Unconditional love eludes some of us it’s something we never truly feel. That breaks my heart. I know I have it to give it’s not often that I receive it.
Love is a curious thing.
My heart still feels black but I see light nearer to me.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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