Holy Mother Flippin Vacation Dudes

I cannot even deal with work right now. My anxiety over human person and the keeping alive of is bleeding into total panic about EVERYTHING! I understand this is irrational. I understand that I have no control over what is happening AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM.

STAGE MANAGER. PROJECT MANAGER. I AM SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO MANAGE CRAP. I can’t even manage the thought of packing a car and driving right now.

It’s going to be fine. What does fine even mean anyway?

I think Walmart and I are going to be super friends this weekend. Which super sucks. Because also MONEY and the NOT HAVING OF ANY is also stressing me the hell out.

“Remember that time when we just had our first baby and you were super crazy and super stressed about nothing at all? What a weird time that was!”

When?

Also yay wedding!!!!

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Anxiety Overload

You know that feeling when you’re underwater but you can see the surface? Like you are sitting at the bottom of a pool and can see all of the feet dangling in the water, the people walking around the edges, kids raring up to jump right on top of you. And you start to feel the icy edge burn in your lungs just enough to let a tiny bubble escape. But once that bubble escapes, another begs to be let go, and your brain starts to calculate the number of bubbles you can release per second to maximize the duration of your pool bottom hang out? And then your brain hits the panic button and suddenly you vomit all the rest of the bubbles as you desperately flail to get to the surface a whopping 2 feet above your head and you feel kinda silly for panicking so quickly but man does it feel good to breathe again.

Just me then?

I’m getting better at talking myself down from the tiny ledges. Things are (molasses up a steep hill) slowly starting to click into place at work. At least to the point where I no longer feel like my only option is to quit before I get fired. I can speak eloquently enough to make people comfortable and then work twice as hard behind the scenes to make sure I live up to the expectations I’ve put forward. It’s exhausting, but no longer overwhelming. And pretty soon it won’t be as exhausting. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel whereas a month ago I couldn’t even see the walls of the tunnel.

I’m by no means close to my ideal weight. BUT. I have lost 25 pounds since November. I often slip into thoughts like still 20 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight and 30 pounds from ideal weight  and the worst yet 40 pounds from wedding weight and that makes me what to give up and eat a tube of ritz with a side of cake. But when that negativity starts to creep in, I battle it with a few crunches or cat cow bows or Hannah lifts and remind myself that I have lost 25 pounds. And really – that’s 11 pounds in 8 weeks which admittedly isn’t great (at that rate I can look forward to having a beach ready bod by mid September) but it averages to about a pound a week, which is healthy, which is consistent, which is better then gaining. I see muscle tone coming back in my arms and legs. I can zip up more of my old clothes, a fact I focus on more than the amount of belly that spills over the waist band. I can keep doing this.

So my anxiety has decided to surround my child. I can only imagine the amount of crippling fear my own mother experienced…experiences…with her five children. I hope it is nothing like this or she deserves so much more than a bouquet of fruit on Mother’s Day because man. I can’t turn it off. I’m not concerned with big things out of my control, like cancer or car crashes. I am terrified of the things that are supposed to be in my control. I keep having “visions”. I do not expect these things to happen, it’s just a flicker of an image that gets caught on the edge of my brain and creeps in and then plays over and over and over again. It mostly has to do with heights. My own fear of heights coupled with my own fear of my clumsiness and how those two things can come together in terrifically terrible ways. I have dreams of dropping Hannah out of windows. Dropping knives off the counter into her tiny soft spot. Watching her crawl over the edge of the waterfall the Hahn family likes to explore every summer. I keep seeing me slipping at the top of the stairs and reflexively dropping her to save myself. These thoughts don’t stop. As she gets more mobile, if anything they are getting worse. It is paralyzing.

I’ve expressed this particular brand of crazy to Shelby and he is being kind of awesome about it. Probably because he has been so close to all of my crazy of late. It would be so easy for him to tease me or stand too close to a window with a sarcastic grin. I told him I don’t want Hannah near the waterfall on this visit, not for a long time. He agreed that if we go this year, Hannah can stay with her grandparents who will smother her with love and kisses. If he found it weird that I’m even thinking about that 3 months in advance, he didn’t let on. I have no reason to believe anything will happen to her, but it helps to be able to express these feelings to someone who doesn’t immediately jump to the witty remark and easy laugh.

Occasionally I start to get the flutters about packing and pumping and travel and car feeding and and and. But I remind myself that packing with a kid is not going to be any different than packing for myself. You think about what you need, take what you can remember, and if you absolutely have to have something forgotten, you can go to the store. It’s not like she’s getting married in a Yurt in the middle of the desert. There will be a Wal*Mart nearby.

So that’s where we are now. Borderline lunacy that is being redirected through wedding projects and professional workload. Fingers crossed that my stop is coming up and I can get off this crazy train.

Phoenix From the Ashes

Started this post but couldn’t get up the nerve to publish it. I guess now’s as gooda time as any.

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True confessions; I’m pretty sure I’m clinically depressed. Or at least was. I haven’t seen anyone so don’t know for sure, but given the uptick in my anxiety, I’d lean toward Postpartum Depression. I love my daughter, and I have never had any ill thoughts about her or having her, she is such a delight. But. Everything I knew about me was gone. I have decided that I’ve been mourning all the deaths of me.

For a variety of very good reasons, I decided to make a career change right at the start of my pregnancy. I learned as much as I could but to be honest, stuck with the task based assignments and didn’t delve too far into other aspects of the position. Partly because I was going out on medical leave imminently, but also partly because I was pregnant, just got out of a bad working situation, and wanted to take the easy road for a few minutes. I still believe this change was a good decision. When I came back from maternity leave, I dove back in head first. A lot of changes were made while I was out. A lot more responsibility was placed where it hadn’t been before. I feel like I was dropped right in the middle of the ocean with no one to help me, no guide. Things I used to live for are majorly anxiety inducing. I can’t seem to do anything right. For every inch I creep forward, waves of ignorance wash me ten feet back. And I carry all this guilt for taking so much time away from my home. Spending hours and hours away from my baby just to miserably fail at a job that shouldn’t be so hard. Interpreted as: failing as an employee, failing as a mother, and by extension, failing as a wife.

For a variety of very obvious reasons, I had to decline theater activities up to and immediately following my expected delivery date. Theater does not stop. New blood was brought in and as it so often does, eagerly overachieved and wowed the local scene. Shelby kept up with his obligations and I accompanied him to parties and social gatherings. Each time, I could only focus on my new position as “significant other”. Shelby brought his +1. These are his people now and I’ve killed my theater “career”. I became a boring corporate person with no creative outlet and wasn’t even doing the corporate part very well.

I focused all my energy on my weight. And it was all consuming. And it drove me to tears several times a day. I couldn’t remotely like myself, how could I expect anyone else to ever like me? All of my self confidence had been wrapped up in my former cuteness. It didn’t matter if I could perform well at tasks, I could always feel confident in my ability to smooth things over with a wink and a smile. Not because I thought they thought I was cute, but because I thought I was cute. A friend at work likes to remind me that I had a baby (as if I need that reminder), but I just can’t accept that as an excuse. That person walking down the street doesn’t know I just had a baby, and I know they are passing judgement on my squishiness. I scold myself every time I put something even near my mouth. Even salad with it’s croutons and dressing. And none of my clothes fit.

There’s more, but these are the biggies. The soul sucking shackles of depressive and self loathing thoughts. The total waste of mental energy which drains physically energy making it so hard to do anything of note.

I am feeling better most days. Most days I don’t have to argue with myself for so many minutes before being convinced that people need me to get out of bed, that Hannah and Shelby are counting on me to go to work. I can usually start the day if not happy, then at least not depressed. And I think I’m getting better at putting on the face. But there are still times when the weight of everything is too much and I throw in the towel and just cry for a few minutes.

Family helps. Exercise helps. Slowly picking away at the enormous and ever growing task lists at work and home helps. Winning the lottery and taking a trip to St Lucia would really help. I am looking forward to my sister’s wedding way more than I expected. Actual vacation, with actual family and fun times. A chance to put the stress of food for baby aside and trust the village to care for us. Thanks Justin, for making my sister the happiest ever, and bringing a little sunshine to other dark corners of the universe.