It really is amazing, kids, what I do to myself even when I’m looking forward to something. In case you can’t read that scrawl in the cartoon above, it reads, “able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound!”
A week from Friday, we leave for the Shadow Lane weekend. I’ve been looking forward to this for months, feeling sad when I watched friends go to all the other big parties and eagerly awaiting our turn. Now it’s here, and I’m a wreck. Just like I am every single @#$%ing time. Sucks to be me, sometimes. I’m my own worst enemy.
I don’t do well with having too many things to do. And for me, “too many” is, like, more than two. I’m a terrible multi-tasker. I’m trying to coordinate work, shopping, preparations, etc., and every time something new is introduced, I panic. As much as I want and need work, I’m freaking out because everyone seems to need something from me next week. Whatever happened to end-of-summer slowdown?? Family will be in town this coming weekend and they want to see me on Monday. I would love to see my cousin, as I haven’t seen her in years, I’ve never met her guy, and I’m dying to meet her two-year-old son. But I don’t have time for this now! I have shopping to do, I need a haircut, I need a pedicure, I need to book the rental car, I need to pack, I need to do this, do that, blah blah blah. I need a lobotomy, is what I need. It’s all manageable stuff, but to me it feels Herculean.
This past Sunday, I had a fender scraper. Not even a fender bender; I just misjudged my distance backing out of John’s garage and tapped a car. I can’t believe I did that. I don’t DO stuff like that. I’m a very careful driver. I was incredibly lucky, though. The man couldn’t have been nicer. He was more worried about me than he was about his car; kept patting my arm, saying it was OK, that I needed to relax, it was just a car. “Maybe you should go get her some water; she’s shaking,” he said to John. When I pulled out my insurance card, he waved it away, saying he didn’t want to bother with that, that we could just give him some cash. It was just a little scrape, but on a very nice car; an Acura TL. I started to get out my checkbook, but before I could, John got out his money clip and peeled off $250 for him, which was the amount he’d agreed to. My hero… With badly shaking hands in 100-degree sun, I wrote up a little document stating what had happened, what we’d paid him and saying that neither one of us would make any further claims. We both signed it and that was the end of it. It could have been much worse. But my heart pounded all afternoon and into the evening. I felt like I was losing control, doing something so careless. What would I do next?
My back started acting up two weeks ago. I am used to this; I’ve had low-back issues since I was in my teens. Most of the time, these little attacks self resolve. But this one didn’t. So I started panicking — What if it doesn’t get better before the party?? All I’ve been doing so far is just taking Advil and using ice, but yesterday I went on full-scale attack, going to the chiropractor, getting an adjustment, ultrasound and a deep-tissue massage with very spicy smelling cream. Today it’s a bit better, which is a relief. But what if, what if, what if…
(An aside — I’ve never used capsaicin-infused cream before. What a weird feeling; my back tingled and burned for about an hour afterward. It wasn’t exactly unpleasant, but a little disconcerting, especially since it was 100 degrees here yesterday. How anyone tolerates that stuff on a spanked ass, I’ll never know!)
John insists he is fine, he will be fine for the trip, he’ll hang out and relax, etc. But his health worries me constantly. He reminds me that he’s gone to Shadow Lane with a shattered collarbone, and to 50 Freaks with a blood clot in his leg. If he could get through that and still have fun, he’ll be fine for this weekend. But of course, I still worry. I see, up close and personal, how deeply exhausted he is. I hear his labored breathing sometimes. And don’t even ask how the negotiations are going with his HMO and moving forward with this damn surgery. The pace is glacial.
The atmosphere feels thick with sadness and unrest lately. Too many deaths, political unrest, racial unrest, anger and violence. I can’t watch the news. When I’m already in a state of anxiety, I can’t handle the outer stimuli. For fuck’s sake, I wept when I heard Don Pardo had died. The man was 96 — did I think he was going to live forever? But it feels like another piece of my life’s soundtrack died. I’ve been hearing his voice since I was a kid and he was the announcer for the original Jeopardy! And how can we have Saturday Night Live without him?
No Steve this week for stress release, either. Not until next Tuesday. Auuggghhh.
My brain feels like an anthill, swarming and teeming in all different directions. And all this because I’m going away for a few days to do something I enjoy and to be with people I love. How insane is this??
Why am I sharing all this? Dunno. Maybe so I can have a laugh at myself and how crazy I’m being. Maybe because some people will relate. Anxiety isn’t logical. It just is.
I remember back in my office days, when I was overwhelmed with juggling the work of roughly three people and feeling like I was going to come apart at the seams, I had a little plaque at my desk that read: “REMAIN CALM.” Perhaps I need something like that here, only this time, because I’m at home, it could read: “Calm. The. F#$%. Down.”
Sometimes I wonder which is worse: anxiety or depression. Meh… they both suck.