Let’s talk about anxiety…

This is another topic that I could write about all day, one I know many of you can relate to. I have no problem publicly addressing my anxiety because it is a big part of who I am. I often make jokes about it, sometimes inappropriate ones, but that’s just my way of dealing with pretty much everything. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to speak candidly about it but I do respect those of you who keep it private.

I personally was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks in my early 20’s but truth be told, I worried excessively as a kid too. I remember one night circa 1984/85 lying awake for hours after my mom had tucked me in, quietly listening to my little AM/FM alarm clock radio trying so hard  to fall asleep, irrationally worrying that I was the only person in the whole wide world still awake and what if  I would never be able to sleep again and what if I couldn’t fall asleep because there was something wrong with me?  I remember Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love is”  played once early on and then again a while later. The second time it played made me realize just how long I had been trying to fall asleep and I started feeling all the physical symptoms I couldn’t identify as a 7 year old, but looking back, I believe that was my first ever panic attack. (Disclaimer: I’m not completely blaming Foreigner for my mental health issues, I’m just saying that song IS creepy AF and to this day is still one of my triggers.)

For me, anxiety seems to come in waves. I have gone months, even years without letting it hold me back at all. At 24 I decided on a whim, as a single mother,  to quit my job, sell my house, pack up my kids and move 750 miles away from everyone and everything I had ever known and start a brand new life. UM..WHAT? It’s almost impossible for me to believe I was EVER so adventurous. I don’t even like to VACATION that far from home.  But, that’s a story for another time…

Ultimately, all roads lead me to the life I’m living now, and I’m not tryna get all religious on you here but I do believe that God had his hand in it and was guiding me safely to where I was meant to be. But now, I’m here living my real life and if I’m being completely honest, anxiety is always lingering under the surface, even during my best days. AND IT SUCKS! I’m a high energy, over-thinker by nature so I often spend a ridiculous amount of my time feeling anxious about really stupid shit. I know I mentioned in my first blog that I suffer from health anxiety. In turn, I am extremely focused on and aware of every single ache, pain, twinge, gurgle, creek and crack in my body.   I create worse case scenarios in my head and I spiral out of control from there.

Headache? Probably either an aneurysm or brain tumor.

Sore calf muscle? Could be deep vein thrombosis.

Sore neck? Definitely Meningitis.

Cramps?  Likely Ovarian cancer.  

You name it, I’ve convinced myself I was dying from it and I’ve obsessed over it until it inevitably went away. There is no sense in trying to talk me down once I start googling.

It drives me crazy when people casually talk about having a panic attack. Like, are they saying “I had a panic attack in the elevator” because they LITERALLY HAD an actual panic attack or are they being dramatic to get a point across? Was their elevator experience something along the lines of: “I was very nervous in the elevator. I could feel my heart beating faster and my hands were sweaty” or more like: “I thought I was going to die of suffocation in that elevator, I was sweating profusely, my heart almost exploded out of my chest, my vision tunneled, I visualized myself shoving everyone out of the way and banging on the doors screaming for help and now I have diarrhea”?  Which is it Becky?! Don’t just throw the term “panic attack” around, because that shit is real and we don’t allow posers into our club.

With me it is a vicious cycle. What I am most anxious about is BEING ANXIOUS. What if I have a panic attack on the field trip with the kids? What if I lose control in the middle of the crowd at that concert? What if I make a fool out of myself on the airplane…What if , what if, what if…  I know that all of these what ifs are holding me back from so many things. It’s sad and frustrating. But every day I wake up, set my intentions to be the best version of me (or at the very least not kill anyone) and to be grateful. Some days I barely make it through breakfast before I throw those intentions right out the window but other days I shine like a mother effing rock star. What can I say? I’m a work in progress. Aren’t we all?

-Dee

Let’s talk about the stomach bug…

Or rather, can we NOT talk about the stomach bug? Please?

We all have our demons. The fears and  phobias and obsessions that we struggle with every day and just can’t seem to shake. Some people are deathly afraid of heights, spiders, flying etc… Some crumble at the very thought of public speaking or highway driving. Some people obsess over their diet, body image and workouts. I personally have many (ie most of the above), however, I have a ridiculous amount of health anxiety, the most prominent is without a doubt my fear/phobia/obsession with the stomach bug. My ears perk up at the mention of pretty much any illness -and trust me,my hearing is really not that great- but if across a noisy crowded room you happen to mention any of my “trigger” words, you best believe I heard that shit and I am now completely tuned in and reading your lips.

And please,  for the love of God Becky, you have no idea what your facebook post about little Billy projectile vomiting at the kitchen table this morning has triggered over here.  Honestly, I’m still not fully recovered from the last time your family had it (June 2017). Maybe some people can keep scrolling and go about their day, but this girl is not one of them. I began connecting the dots in my head before I even finished reading your disgusting post. I’m now thinking of every person your family could have possibly been in contact with in the last 24 hours (because trust me,  I have done extensive research and I know for a fact that he was contagious -possibly for days- before the vomit happened) and how these contaminated people could expose my family . I’m playing out scenarios in my head of how this will go down…

Scenario A): It’s going to hit hard and fast. The next 3-4 days will be a total pukefest. We will be fighting over the bathrooms. We will get so sick we will all need to be hospitalized for dehydration.

Scenario B): It’s going to move through my family in agonizingly slow motion, one miserable victim at a time, which could mean 6-8 weeks over here!  

Scenario C): The most likely scenario. Nobody in my family actually gets sick but I waste DAYS (weeks) of my life making everyone in our home completely neurotic and paranoid.

Within minutes of seeing your post I have worked myself into a state of nauseated hysteria.

OH, and now everyone is commenting on your post. Awesome. And of course I can’t tear myself away. I know I should stop reading, but it’s too late.  I’m all in now. According to Carol “it’s going around” and “it’s a bad one”.


OH

MY

GOD

WTF Carol??

I am officially losing my shit. I’m nauseous and clammy and pretty sure I have a fever. I spend the rest of the morning researching and making mental preparations for the next few weeks…just in case…

It’s now lunchtime and I can’t tell if the burning sensation in my stomach is nausea or hunger but I think I might be hungry. That’s a good sign. Maybe I overreacted a little. After all, my family is very cautious. I pride myself on the little army of germaphobes I’ve created. Maybe we will get through this unscathed.  We have an impressive track record after all.

Two years ago when we were having our hardwood floors refinished, my four daughters and I stayed in a local hotel to avoid the fumes.  At 3am little Ella woke me up by saying “Mommy I think I’m going to throw up”. THIS, my friends, is my personal worst case scenario. I lose sleep before family vacations and romantic weekend getaways and pretty much anything out of my everyday comfort zone  in fear of myself or the kids getting sick in a strange place. And since we are home 99% of the time, what are the actual chances? Fortunately, she made it to the toilet. Unfortunately I was not prepared and did not have my supplies with me (rubber gloves, Clorox wipes, paper towels, antibacterial soap). I managed to keep it contained to only Ella, but the entire situation scarred me for life.  

Then, last year we had family friends over for some pizza and drinks. Just as they were getting ready to go home, their daughter came into the kitchen and randomly puked in the middle of my floor. We all froze and I’ll never forget her mom, who happens to be a good friend and KNOWS me and my issues, just kind of chuckled and said “Seriously, of all the houses to get sick at…” and we all laughed and laughed. And then I told them to GTFO.

My well trained oldest daughter Taylor and I were ready with our rubber gloves, Clorox wipes and paper towels and we disinfected as if the entire house had been vomited on. Then I obsessed for the next couple days, texted her mom for hourly updates, continued my compulsive cleaning, drove myself and everyone else completely crazy…and in the end nobody got sick.

Maybe it’s the not knowing that freaks me out the most. With other illnesses you have warning signs. You start to feel crappy and usually have enough time to get home to your bed. Nobody wants to go from zero to barfo in the middle of a traffic jam and I certainly don’t want to be hugging the toilet at my local home depot. If I know “it’s going around and it’s a bad one” I can’t stop worrying that it could hit at any time.

According to Facebook and my mother,  it’s ALWAYS going around, so I wish we could just stop posting about it, Becky.

And with that I’m off to wash my hands! You should do the same.

– Dee