Yesterday, I took Thomas to the Kohl’s Children’s Museum in Glenview. I had planned on writing a whole cutesy blog post about our experience but then I realized that nobody really cares about my “review” of the different Children Museum exhibits (even the people that are supporting this adventure). Instead, I decided that it would be more fun (ha) to talk about the anxiety that consumes my life and why actually going somewhere on the weekend with a toddler was such a big deal.
First of all, when I say “I” took Thomas I mean “My mom and I” took Thomas to the Museum. There is NO WAY IN HELL I would have done this alone. Even the thought of it increases my heart rate and makes my hands sweat. It still counts as leaving even if you have a buddy, OK?
I have always been an extremely anxious person but since I had a kid it has gotten SO MUCH WORSE. I am not sure if it is the worrying that increased BECAUSE I have a little human to protect or if being at home with a baby all the time has just thrown me so much deeper into the comfort zone of my home that now I can’t get out… but either way it’s gotten to the point where I really don’t like to leave the house and escpecially do not like to do anything that is out of my routine. Least spontaneous person RIGHT HERE <–
I rarely ever leave the house to go and do things for me (Examples: Yoga, Nail Salon) and I attribute that to my mom guilt which I touched on a little in my New Years Resolutions post, but even leaving the house to do normal activities with a toddler stresses me the F-out.
Let’s use grocery shopping on a Saturday as an example:
First, I need to plan everything around his nap schedule. Forget going before nap because starting from the second he wakes up we are already on the downhill slope towards crabbiness. If he goes down at 10:00 AM like he should, he will nap until about 12:30 PM and then I have like a 3 hour window before he starts to get crabby again and has to go down for another nap. But wait, he needs to eat when he gets up. I don’t want to start the food until he’s awake because I don’t know when that is going to be. So that’s going to take an hour with the cooking and the clean up. Now we are down to 2 hours of happy baby time. Did he poop today? What if it happens at the store and I have to use the cold germy bathroom changing table? What if he has a tantrum when I am checking out and everyone stares at me and my badly behaved child. Should I even go? I hardly ever get to see my kid – I should be bonding with him, right? We should be reading and playing, not running errands. He is going to HATE sitting in the carseat staring at the back of the car — it’s so boring for him and I feel bad. What if I get in a car accident on the way to the store? What if there is a fire at my house when I am gone and my dog is trapped?
See how things escalated there? This is ACTUALLY my typical thought process of crazy. After I do this in my head, I order groceries from Amazon Prime and pay extra because 1. They are coming from Whole Foods which is more expensive and 2. I have to tip the shopper. Also, I never know what kind of bread to get. Why are they frozen?
Thats just what I call my “normal anxiety”. Then there is my “social/getting ready on the rare occasion that I do go out” anxiety. This anxiety comes with physical symptoms. If we get a babysitter and decide to go out, I will actually start losing vision as I am getting ready. It is insane. The only way that I can describe it is that I feel like I am not in my body. My husband loves this description (HE HATES IT). He thinks all of anxiety is fake and that Kim Kardashian is the reason that everyone says they have “anxiety” (<- read that in a whiny Kim K voice). I get this hazy feeling- kind of like when you get when you are driving on auto pilot and then wonder how you got to where you were going- usually it happens when I am getting ready. The stress of leaving my kid + being rushed by my husband + trying to figure out what to wear/doing my makeup + racing around the house makes it so that I can’t even see my face in the mirror. Why am I even going out if this is what I have to go through to get there? I’ll just stay home.
I should probably be explaining all of this to a shrink instead of writing it in a blog post, huh? But I also don’t want to be on medicine because WHAT IF THERE IS A FIRE AND I’M SO CALM AND MEDICATED THAT I DON’T REACT QUICKLY ENOUGH TO SAVE US? For real though.
I wish I had some amazing advice to give my thousands of readers who relate (Kidding. I think right now I have two subscribers and one of them is myself LOL) for how to “rid your life of anxiety” but I definitely do not and I think that’s also OK? Acknowledging your problems is half of the battle right? SURE IT IS. YOU’RE DOING GREAT. Here is a list of the things that I think help. I am no expert. I can’t even see myself in the mirror because my crazy brain is so clouding my vision & possibly my advice.
- Yoga. I don’t have time to GO to a yoga class but I do have a subscription to Core Power on Demand. If I use it once a month it pays for itself.
- Do the dishes before you go to bed. Waking up to a dirty kitchen is possibly the WORST start to your day. You start stressed and cluttered and es no bueno. Clutter makes my anxiety worse. Always.
Indulge your neurotic side and get cameras in your house and tons of smoke detectors.Kidding. You probably shouldn’t do this but I did it and I can see that there is no fire & my dog is alive and well when I am not there. Idk if its making it better or worse.
- Limit your coffee intake. I only have two cups of regular coffee a day and then I switch to decaf (honestly, I cannot taste the difference and I still get the cozy nice feeling of drinking coffee without the crazy). I’ve found that if I let myself have even ONE SIP more than my second cup my anxiety is so much worse and I spend the day shaking and worried about everything.
- Keep track of what is happening around you when you’re feeling anxious. For a long time I thought that my dizzy spells were a sign that I was dying of some horrible disease until I started making note of when they happened: Almost always when I was getting ready to leave the house. I did a little research and talked to my doctor and it sounds like what is happening to me is a lot like dissociation (a defense mechanism where your brain goes elsewhere in stressful situations to protect you). I am not sure why this is happening because I haven’t been involved in some horrible traumatic life event but it happens and being aware of when and why might help me to take some deep breaths and calm down to keep it from happening again.
- BREATHE. Take a couple deep breaths, try to ride it out.
Here are some pictures of Thomas at the Museum. It stressed me out 100% and there were SO MANY PEOPLE, but he was happy and he’s SO CUTE so I would say it was a win.