The more I read about anxiety, the more I realize I’ve been juggling this way longer than I thought. I assumed it was something that started around 2016 for whatever reason. NOPE! Looks like I’ve had one symptom or another for as long as I can remember.
…it just didn’t keep me from doing things like it sometimes does now.
Or make me sweat as much. I started keeping deodorant in my purse to make sure I smell as fresh as possible- at least when I have to be presentable or socialize with other human beings (this idea came from my friend, Jenn. I used to tease her about keeping deodorant in her purse until I realized she’s a genius). What amazes me is my body’s ability to produce a sweaty pair of pits and a flushed face, but the rest of me is freezing.
Maybe it’s some sort of super power.
Sometimes I don’t bother to reapply deodorant- like when I know I’ll be running errands after work, depending on where I’m going (*coughWalmart*) because I like to maintain a healthy personal space radius. No one is going to come close to you if you smell as if you’ve been fermenting all day.
The other great thing I’ve discovered is anxiety wreaks havoc on my digestive system. Having a super anxious day? Looks like a good chunk of it will be spent in the official but unofficial pooping bathroom. During my numerous visits to said bathroom, I concluded they buy the cheap paper so we try to limit the amount of times we use it.
Okay, not really because the company I work for does take great care of us (thanks for paying for six visits of therapy!). But the idea makes me laugh…probably because it does make sense. It’s already cheap but you save even more money if employees aren’t using it.
Am I on to something?
Oh! My favorite anxiety side effect (not sure if that’s the right word but I’m running with it) is when I don’t know if my stomach is upset due to anxiety or something I ate. It can become an annoying guessing game. Out of five siblings, four of us have lactose issues. At least when Mom cooks for the holidays, it’s easy for her to accommodate our dietary needs. The other sibling has asthma. I kind of wish I had something like that. I feel it’s more socially acceptable and way less awkward to whip out an inhaler mid conversation than having to run off to a bathroom, asking yourself how it’s even possible your body has anything left to dispose of while dying a little more on the inside.
I can handle the sweating (good thing I love wearing black!). I know when I’m overthinking and being absolutely ridiculous- sometimes even slightly paranoid, so I save big decisions for when I’m feeling better- feeling a little more “normal”. I know when I’m having a bad day that the best thing for me to do is stay home where I feel safe or can freak out as needed without any judgement- assuming I have that option.
And I’m pretty aware of my triggers: Morning- this is when it’s usually the worst. Going to new places (not all the time!). Meeting new people. Lack of sleep. Lack of food. Running myself ragged. Generally just not taking care of myself.
But come on- did I really have to get stomach cramps as part of the package?!
Ugh. All that does is compound everything else. Because pooping in strange bathrooms is not my favorite thing. At all. Especially when I may be using someone’s bathroom that I hardly know. It just feels rude.
Fortunately, the stomach cramps don’t always come out to destroy any dignity I might have left; however, overthinking, sweating, and flushed face are the key players on this team. Don’t get me wrong, some days I’m great. And when I am, I try to live it to the fullest by doing things I know I won’t do on the bad ones.
Sometimes when the bad days do come, I still push through. It isn’t fun. It isn’t pretty. It’s certainly me at my most awkward. But when I’ve pushed through, I can’t help but be proud of myself. Because I was brave. I didn’t tuck tail and go hide. I made it through the storm, despite maybe having to make a few visits to a restroom or two, BUT I DID IT!
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor“. No, it doesn’t, Franklin Roosevelt, but sometimes a break would be nice. I’m not saying it’s a bad quote. In fact, I think of it when I’m struggling- knowing that my discomfort is helping me grow in ways I can’t see. Or acknowledging that after going through the initial uncomfortable steps it will make things easier the next time around.
…but man, I do appreciate a smooth sea.
I just remembered I have clothes in the dryer I should take out before they get too wrinkled. What I’ll probably do is take out my one pair of jeans, put them on, and leave the rest in until I come back…no, I can’t do that. My father may need the dryer while I’m gone (I have a kid to pick up so I leave here in a few hours) and he’ll unceremoniously toss them on my bed, so my clothes will definitely be wrinkled.
Yes, I’m 37 and still live with my father– that’s a whole other blog post (hence why this blog is called Life Made Other Plans. Teenage Amber, while drafting and carefully dictating exactly how her life would go, did not pencil in living with her father because she had a child at 23 and can’t afford to move out despite a full time job because wages and the cost of living are all fucked up).
It was kind of funny, though, when I mentioned moving out because my kid is old enough to be home later at night if Dad or I are gone- which allows me to start looking for a part time job so I can make having my own place again a reality.
I started to bring the topic up by telling my father I am 37.
While it amused me greatly and made me feel like less of a burden, I’m basically middle aged. I need my own space and a kitchen that doesn’t smell questionable 75% of the time. But at least we never go hungry. Our bellies are full. And we get to enjoy having a thermostat set to 74 degrees when it’s freezing outside.
You win some, you lose some.
More rambling blog posts to come.