Tag Archives: anxiety

How Do I Do This Again?

I have sat down to write no fewer than what feels like a thousand times and I can’t formulate my thoughts into a whole.  My writing has become stream-of-consciousness at best.  I sit down to write, I struggle through a few sentences, and then I walk away.

So, in an attempt to get back in the swing of things, I’m going to just go with my stream-of-consciousness writing and I’m hoping that you’ll all bear with me.

I feel like I’m betraying my mother-in-law’s memory by blogging so soon after her death.  How can I write about everyday things when I have the gravity of her death on my mind?

I want to be able to write about the joys of summer, ice cream sandwiches, kiddie pools, and bike rides, but my mind is consumed with the fragility of life, fear of more heartache, and ways to hold my family even tighter.

I was lying in bed last night, thinking about how much fun it would be to go camping.  My mind wandered to when the kids are a little older and I had visions of them wanting to sleep in their own tent.  My heart started to race and I nearly had a panic attack lying there.  I realized that I truly doubt that I will ever be able to let them have that kind of freedom.

When we were at the dentist today for Katie’s check-up, the dental hygienist led her out of the room without me to choose a reward for being so well-behaved.  Anxiety gripped me immediately.

I’ve always struggled with anxiety, with fears of the worst possible thing happening and I’ve spent my share of hours talking to a professional about it.  But now, I am feeling that familiar panicky undercurrent, nipping at my feet and it scares me.

My mother-in-law had struggled with health problems for quite some time and I think in some strange way, we took for granted that she’d always get through her challenges.  She was so upbeat and determined.  The latest hospital stay and her subsequent death truly caught me off-guard.

Now I’m feeling afraid of my own shadow.

I want to be carefree, I want my to make my children laugh, and I want to loosen my hold on them just a bit.

I want to blog again about happy and trivial things.

I’m going to keep writing and hope that little by little, I’m able to breathe a little easier and laugh a little quicker.

Thanks for hearing me out.

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Bloggy Boot Camp…With a Nudge and a Push

One of the things that I love the most about my husband, Craig, is that he is so incredibly supportive of my interests.  He’s my biggest cheerleader and knows me well enough to recognize that sometimes I get stuck when faced with a challenge.

I have a fear of doing new things and a long history to prove it.

I also take things way too seriously.

The combination of these two traits is often problematic.

Fresh out of college, I was so excited to start my first real job in financial marketing.  I didn’t sleep at all the night before my first day and I showed up that morning in my black suit and carrying my Coach briefcase.  (I wish I was kidding.)  I was way overdressed and stuck holding that ridiculous briefcase, which was not unlike that first purse that you carry around as a little girl, crammed full of things that you think you NEED to carry with you.   You remember the one, with cherry ChapStick, paper, pens, and tissues. By the end of the day, I had shed my jacket, ditched the briefcase, and was just fine.

Years later, I was invited to present a paper at a conference on cultural studies.  With my paper–“In Defense of Gertrude: A New Historicist Approach to D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers”–in hand (oh, how I wish I was kidding), I arrived at the conference in a nice skirt and blouse.  My peers?  Jeans and t-shirts.  I wanted to just die.  I sucked it up, presented my paper, and ultimately I was better for the experience.

Fast forward to now.

I had heard great things about Bloggy Boot Camp, a one-day conference for bloggers, but since I’m still so new to blogging, I kind of shrugged it off.  Craig brought it up a several times, encouraging me to give it some real consideration.  Then, Sunday evening, we talked about it again and with his encouragement, I mustered up enough courage to register.

Now I’m having regular panic attacks about attending.  I feel like I’m back in high school and I want to call all of the other girls to find out what they’re wearing.

Yet again, I wish I was kidding.

I know that I will be just fine once I’m there.  I make friends pretty easily, but there’s something about walking into a room where I will know absolutely no one that makes me feel unsure of myself.

Whether or not it goes as well as I’m hoping, I am grateful for Craig, who recognizes that while I genuinely want to try new things and explore my world, I often need a nudge and a push.

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Fear and Brownies

Fear is such a complex emotion. What may seem trivial and inconsequential for one person, can be positively horrifying and inexplicable for another.

If adult fears are difficult to rationalize, then childhood fears are seemingly impossible, as a child’s ability to distinguish between real and perceived threats is isn’t yet fully developed.

Katie is brave about so many things–she has no fear of monsters or darkness (yet)–but garbage trucks simply terrify her. The truck passes by our house no fewer than four times each Monday, beginning around 9 o’clock and wrapping up around noon. Over time, she has become increasingly concerned about the truck’s whereabouts. It has now reached a point where she trembles as it approaches and begins to tear up, begging to be held.

We’ve tried rationalizing with her, offering up the following standard, predictable reassurances:
The garbage truck won’t hurt you.
The garbage truck can’t fit in our house–you’re safe in here.
The gentleman who drives the truck is going home now to see his kids.
Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t let anything bad happen to you.

None of these have worked.

BabyCenter has a helpful article on preschoolers and fear, with tips including acknowledging your child’s fear, working with her to problem solve, and using pretend play to work through the fear.  We’ve tried several of their suggestions, with little success.  Today we employed the article’s suggestion to “explain, expose, and explore.”

Since we’ve done about as much explaining as I think we can do, we moved right into exposing and exploring.

I wondered if we put a face to the driver and she could speak to him for a few moments, if she might be less afraid. So yesterday we got serious and made him some brownies. She was so excited that it was nearly all she talked about all day.  She stirred and chatted with me about how much he was going to love her “yummy brownies.”

This morning was spent listening and waiting, pacing and anticipating.  We heard the truck rumbling down the street and Katie was equal parts excited and petrified.  She waited, in my arms, as he approached, brownies in hand and the sweetest, most timid smile I’ve ever seen.  We waved him to a stop, they exchanged names, and we gave him her brownies.  As he drove away, she was smiling and appeared less afraid, but I don’t think she is over her fear by any means.

Does anyone have any tips or stories they’d be willing to share, just in case the brownie trick didn’t work?

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