My Anxiety and Me: A Winter Milkshake

Hi! Me again. Another attempt at firing up this blog with a new series I hope to continue. My therapy sessions deal with a lot of trying to understand why I am the way I am instead of being resistant to being the way I am because it doesn’t fit into “the norm”. Yesterday I think I took a tiny step in the direction of acceptance. A tiny baby step.

This glimpse into my mind is me being very vulnerable. I’ll ask that you please be kind. Or at least pretend :).

Something that gives me the most anxiety is caring what other people think. Even strangers who I’ll never see again and particularly my neighbours who I don’t know. Most days I feel like they’re peeping out of their windows watching my every move and judging me. I have no evidence of this but I feel their non existent eyes on me whenever I venture outside.

When Lucky was born one of my biggest stressors was what would I do with him when I get home from grocery shopping and Dad isn’t home? Do I leave him in the car while I take everything in? What will the neighbours think? Do I take him in and then get everything? Will they think I’m irresponsible?

If anyone cares, I bring him in first and leave him strapped in the car seat so that he’s not getting into anything while I’m busy. But boy do I run and boy do I carry everything at once!

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N is out of town this week and we had a snow storm over the weekend which meant I had to shovel by myself. Queue instant panic about what to do with the kiddo. I would obviously have to take him outside with me. This proved to be nerve wracking at first because the only receptacle I had for him was a plastic laundry basket.

Side note about the laundry basket. I bought it to put him in at the ice castles in NH because I couldn’t find any sleds the day before we were set to leave and I leave everything to the last minute. I didn’t want to carry him all over and I didn’t think a stroller would work. I ended up not using it because I felt silly using a laundry basket when everyone else would surely have legitimate awesome sleds for their kids. I definitely regretted it because even though everyone did have awesome sleds, Lucky is very heavy and it was cold and unpleasant. But I digress.

I should have tested the laundry basket idea out at home first because it was a joy. Lucky loved being pulled around in it. Yes he did almost topple out a few times when I went over a bump but he loved that as well. After about 20 minutes of shoveling I started to feel relaxed and confident and after I was done I dragged him around the (teeny tiny) yard a few times and enjoyed his giggles and his big smile. It was definitely worth it.

So yesterday when I got home I had to park in the street because the beginning of the driveway had massive chunks of ice that were blocking my way. I realized that I couldn’t do my laundry basket trick because there wasn’t snow in the driveway and it would just look silly having him sit in the laundry basket while I shoveled a bit more.

(Please know that I realize that all my anxiety about everything is unfounded and ridiculous. I know that I sound like a crazy person. I’m working on it.)

But I decided that he could stand near me and it was literally 3 big chunks of snow that needed to be moved. So I zipped him up in his snow suit and took him out and made him stand in the driveway and I sang to him while I moved the snow. He ended up sitting down and clapping along.

As I gathered him up to go inside and celebrate another win against the judgey non existent neighbour eyes I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had to move the car back into the driveway. What am I going to do with Lucky?

I couldn’t leave him in the house unattended. I couldn’t strap in the car seat and leave him in the house because he hates getting into the car seat nowadays so it would be cruel to do it for a few minutes then take him out again. I also couldn’t leave him alone and get into the car and drive. They know I’m home alone with him. What would they think?

I could strap him in the car seat and take him with me to back into the driveway. I could do that but they would think I was being silly for taking him out for a 2 minute excursion and again, is it worth the screaming to get into the car seat?

I could wait until he goes to bed at 8 and then move the car and make a public showing of me holding with the monitor so they would know I wasn’t a terrible mother for leaving him unattended. But going out at night in the cold was really something I didn’t want to do.

There was only one solution. We had to go for a drive. At least around the block. If they see us leave for a while they’ll think I’ll have something to do and they’ll go back to their lives until I park the car when I get back.

I let this ruminate for a while. I let the complete absurdity of it all consume me and I allowed myself to be very angry. Why am I like this? How can I stop being like this? And then I remembered what my therapist asked me. What if it’s okay to be like this?

I took a deep breath and said to myself, “It’s okay to take your kid for a drive because you don’t want to deal with this anxious situation that you’ve created in your mind… Doing it this way means less anxiety.”

And with that I popped Lucky into the car seat and off we went. I had no plan or destination but I felt calm and I know after a hard session of therapy, she always tells me to treat myself. So with that, I drove down to our local Sonic and got a small milkshake to celebrate.

We drove home and I reversed into the driveway and no one was the wiser. I lived to face self-made judgement another day!

The moral of the story is that sometimes you have have to face a problem head on and get right to the point. And sometimes it’s okay or take the long way around. Just remember to treat yourself at the end :).

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3 thoughts on “My Anxiety and Me: A Winter Milkshake

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I was in therapy last year (well, mainly because it was free because I maxed out my insurance at the hospital but also) because of issues with anger and anxiety. I suppressed feelings a lot as a kid (my feelings weren’t respected / paid attention to, so what was the point?) and now it comes out at random times when I’m cooking dinner and have too many things going at once, or my husband folds the towels “wrong” or whatever. I definitely didn’t want to pass that mess on to my son, so I’m glad I was able to get counseling. It was so super helpful. And a big part of it was accepting that, for now, for real, this is how I am, it’s how I coped as a kid, and now that exiled part of myself wants a hearing — wants respect, wants to be paid attention to — and I can be my own parent now and accept myself unconditionally. That is a huge step. I am not lovable or worthy of dignity “if” x, y, or z. I just am, like all children of the cosmos.

    It’s still hard to let myself say that, but at least I can say that, and mean it, sometimes. It makes a big difference. And it also makes it easier for me to feel that about my son, even when he’s being a whiny pain in my butt, haha.

    By the way, we’re using the cloth diapers you sent us every day! They really rounded out our little stash 🙂

    • Oh, that makes me so happy! Both the diapers and you sharing your story. Thank you :). I can’t wait for the day when I can say I’m worthy out loud and actually mean it. I’m really starting to enjoy therapy now and that’s all that matters right now.

  2. That’s so good of you to share your experiences. I sometimes wonder what people think too but not to that same extent. Maybe my anxiety is lazier than yours. Haha! But really I’m sure your neighbours are not watching or judging and even if they are then give them a show to brighten their dreary day. 😘

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