Anybody ever seen the SNL episode where the skit is a game show based on supposed cool kids determining whether the person in front of them is a geek, dweeb, spaz, nerd, and so forth? Since peeing my big girl panties watching that episode many moons ago, I’ve been categorizing people as such just for shits and giggles. I know, I’m a questionable human being. But let’s be honest, on occasion we all reduce ourselves to similarly shallow ways to amuse ourselves and get through the humdrum of a given day. It used to be enough to read Star Magazine and drink a Newscastle on my front porch to get outta my head; a gluttonous combo that is 50% questionable. You decide. Either way, sadly, those days are long past. Now I’m adulting most of time. So let’s take a moment to digress, shall we?
Which are you? Geek? Dweeb? No question, I’m a raging spaz. And you might be a spaz too if you’ve been told your entire life, “Take a Chill Pill!” Sound familiar? Growing up I got that a lot. I get excited! I’m energetic. I’m passionate. I have zeal for life. I used to resent all the labels, then I came to embrace them. I remember being told once that when I grew up I wouldn’t be so hyper and, I swear, I burned a hole through that man’s temple with the fury I felt inside for said premonition. What I do have is anxiety.
Recently, with everything going on in my life, it seems my chemistry got a little outta whack. I sensed it coming for months, especially in the time leading up to separating from my spouse. Some days it was all I could do to get the girls up, dressed, fed, and dropped off at school before racing over to the lake to enjoy the wide open space, solace, and quiet time offered to me by nature while I hit the pavement (Not literally. That would hurt), my little one napped and I managed not to lose all my marbles.
I kept thinking I should be able to control the overwhelming feelings and thoughts. Thought as a capable, independent woman I could work through it. Would have, should have, could have; therein lies a big part of the problem. Then one day everything was compounded, shit hit the fan and I found myself in the middle of a torrential down pour, a real shit storm. I raced off to the co-op for immediate invention. Teary-eyed and with my tail between my legs, I begged an unsuspecting homeopath for a Chill Pill, effective immediately. No placebos, I demanded, but not habit-forming either! I need to function. I can’t breathe,” I told her. If it worked I wouldn’t have to resort to pharmaceuticals. I’m pretty granola and don’t take ibuprofin if I can help it. But there’s a time and a place for everything.
I’m a single mom, I have debts to pay, errands to run, baby-daddy drama, meals to prepare, boo boos to kiss, groceries to buy, taxes still not filed with only days remaining, phone calls to return, a home-based small business to run, bedtime stories to read, several mental health breaks required daily, friends to listen to, u-turns to make and all the other usual and unexpected things in a given day. This probably sounds like most of us in this fast-paced, modern thing called life. I always wonder how anybody who has a full time job and a family manages it all (*hat tip*). I also wondered how single mamas did it prior to becoming one myself. So here’s what I have learned.
Everybody feels the burden of busy lives, and, on occasion, gets overwhelmed. However, there’s an entirely different level experienced by somebody with anxiety. My detail-oriented mind starts to betray me. I become paralyzed by variables and, something like Porky Pig, an information overload erupts, forcing proverbial steam to expel with great force from my opposing ears. My chest closes in. I become claustrophobic. I am short of breathe. I am irritable. Shaky. Lose my appetite. I float around in a fog. I am utterly exhausted but wired. Can’t sleep. My executive command center goes wonky and I can’t make basic decisions about what to attend to, in what order. Then my child demands something trivial in that urgent high-pitched whiney voice that makes me wanna clean the toilet bowl instead of attending to her and I’m sure I’m gonna lose it. The house of cards suddenly collapses. Then that kind of panic begins to happen several more times in a given day so you phone a friend, recoil and sob uncontrollably. Time for a Chill Pill.
Wouldn’t I recommend the same to a friend? Yes, of course, so why so much reluctance when it’s me? My best answer is I have anxiety about taking an anti-anxiety pill. Yep. That’s right. Oh, plus that nagging voice that keeps calling you a loser and a failure for giving into the pressures keeps interrupting sound logic. Yeah. It’s a real humdinger and I’m a total spaz.