The fun thing about mental illnesses is that you often have more than one. They pal around together like the friend group that nobody wants to hang with, but always comes to the party. I’m a little over 3 weeks into a new medication feeling a night and day difference in my depression. Goodbye MDD episode, hello
my old friend anxiety! Basically, I wake up and go to bed with a sense of dread. My body feels like I’m in an almost constant state of high alert because danger is lurking nearby. [Moms] You know the feeling you get when you drank one too many cups of coffee without eating? Well, that has become my normal state of being. I will say that being on the verge of a panic attack is preferable to having multiple daily panic attacks, but it’s not an ideal way to live.
Thankfully (or not, depending on how you look at it), I’ve learned how to mask my anxiety in front of anyone who is not keenly observing. This allows me to maintain the respect of the people I work with, see at the grocery, and encounter in the office at my kids’ school, but it also leaves me feeling a bit isolated. Writing is my outlet. Sometimes I use Facebook as my platform, and that can lead to both positives and negatives. Other times, I write here, in my safe space. Anxiety has a way of convincing me that no one wants to hear what I have to say, and I end up with 19 post drafts filled with thoughts that the readers of Meds and Mom Jeans may or may not eventually see. Eff anxiety!
So today, I woke up with that pit in my stomach. My fiancé and I had an interaction last night that was so insignificant that I can’t even remember exactly what facial expression he made that set me off- eye roll, grimace, straight face, shoulder shrug, eyes closed and deep breath, who TF knows! But I remember the feeling. Borderline Personality Disorder has gifted me with a fear of abandonment, and anxiety helps me dwell on those fears (because that’s what friends do). I pick up the 3 kiddos who stayed at their dad’s last night, and my oldest tells me he has a headache and doesn’t want to go to school. *Heavy sigh* I try to
calmly explain truancy and the fact that his sisters have been out the entire week without a doctor’s excuse, and FOR THE LOVE can they just go to school?! He agrees he can go. We get home and everyone needs a change of clothes because I forgot to pack enough outfits for them to dress for school at their dad’s, and my youngest keeps passive aggressively declaring his hunger.
After temping child #2 [eldest daughter], I determine that she can go to school like she’s been begging. We had a 23 minute showdown in the upstairs hallway, which ended with me slamming a door [goodbye New Years no yelling goal], and her crying. All of this was over clothing options. Why don’t I remember being this dramatic about what I was wearing, and how am I constantly being punished for not picking out the correct clothes when she won’t choose an outfit herself??? I’m fairly sure my BP is rising again just thinking about it! Bottom line: even when I’m irritated with them, I hate letting my children down. I feel guilty when they’re unhappy, and when I’m already tense, it’s overwhelming. Somehow, the 5 of us survive getting ready for school and at 8:38, the last child [clothes diva] saunters out of the house like she’s on the runway with no coat. I roll down the window, gently reminding her that a coat is necessary, she retrieves it and we are off to the drop off line.
This is the point when I thought my day was going to turn around, the part where someone you dearly love and don’t understand why they bother loving you back, does something simple and yet incredibly meaningful. I was out of creamer, and my bestie (I give zero fucks if anyone thinks that term of endearment is juvenile) who is graced with a play-by-play of my life during the week, brought me a latte from my favorite local coffee shop. I’m tearing up just remembering how it felt to be hugged by someone who gets it. Hi, my name is Jamie and I’m super sappy at times. Alas, this was not to be the upswing moment I’d hope for, as it was only 8:45 in the morning.
After doing laundry, and feeding my 4 year old, I convinced him to let me shower before picking up his brother for his orthodontist appointment. Upon picking up his brother, I had to spend the two minute commute from the school to the orthodontist explaining why he had to return to school after a 10:30 appointment. Because I had already nullified my 2018 commitment to not raise my voice, I yelled in the parking lot something to the effect of, “if school is boring it’s because of your attitude and you’d better buck up so you can succeed in life!” *forehead palm* There was a moment of camaraderie in the waiting room, in which another mother and I exchanged knowing glances as my son dropped a single use toothbrush straight from his mouth and into my hand when his name was called- I’m not alone. In and out in less than 15 minutes, I decide to acquiesce my preschoolers request for a treat after dropping his brother back off by going to Aldi and seeing what was up with their wine section. Guess who broke a bottle of $3.99 Shiraz and $3.99 Cabernet Sauvignon? Yep. This girl. Guess whose son wanted to stand in the aftermath and watch the cleanup process? You guessed it- my 4 year old! So we stood for about 13 minutes in front of the wine section of Aldi, to wait for a zamboni-ish machine to suck up the aromatic mess that I had created. The staff and the patrons of Aldi were absolutely delightful, no sarcasm, they were incredibly gracious as I used everything in me to stave off a panic attack triggered by complete embarrassment. Bless you Aldi.
On the drive home from the store I attempted to phone my fiancé using his work number, and hung up on the receptionist whom I wasn’t expecting to hear. I called his cell phone to confess my rude act, and tried not to cry as I relayed the events of the morning. He suggested I do some deep breathing, and I informed him that, just yesterday, I told my therapist that I imagine strangling him when he suggests such things. I confessed that I have this reaction because I am jealous of how easily he can rein in his emotions. His voice though, it’s so calming. He has an amazing phone voice. Why is this man marrying me?!
We got home and I sat down to write this post and my phone rang, it was the school. My poor [clothes diva] daughter, still wasn’t recovered from whatever had made her sick all week, so I needed to go get her. Cue mom guilt again. So here I sit, with two kiddos at home, waiting for their daddy to pick them up for the weekend. I may or may not have started drinking a $3.99 cabernet from Aldi at 11:39 am. I’m seeing a psychiatrist to manage my medication, a psychologist for weekly counseling, and I’m doing everything I can (besides working out because who has time for that), and I’m still dealing with this shit! But, I have amazing people in my life who bring me coffee before their work meetings and talk me down when they’re supposed to be estimating the cost of stuff, and come over on Thursdays in between preschool and gymnastics, just to remind me I’m loved. I am so blessed, but eff anxiety!!