Monday, February 22, 2016

anxiety dreams come true.

I had a dream on Sunday morning that I was going blind. My view grew darker and narrower by the minute, and I was crying and fumbling around and shouting, "My fucking contacts! I KNEW they'd do this to me!" When I floated back into consciousness, terror gripped me for a moment before I snapped my eyes open and, to my relief, saw the blue walls of my bedroom, hazy in the dim morning light.


Then it turned out I had - in actual waking life - some sinus issues or an ear infection all day Sunday, and my right ear was rendered almost completely deaf. My balance was off, I bumped into doorways, and everyday noises like running water and laughter were piercing to my functioning ear. Still, I kept thinking all day long that I'm pretty sure I'd choose going deaf over going blind.


And anxiety over depression.


I'm guessing that's what the blindness dream was - an anxiety dream. A new storyline to add to my usual motifs: teeth falling out, fingers slipping as I try to dial 911, can't find the building for my final exam because I accidentally skipped every class session for the semester. My anxiety baseline has shifted so dramatically - positively - since becoming a stay-at-home mom that I sort of forgot how sneakily consuming it is. Even if I'm not willing to admit to it or acknowledge it during the day, it seeps out of me at night.

And it's not much of a shock that the dream came halfway through my weekend. When we rang in 2016, I had one job: full-time stay-at-home mom. Now, less than two months later, I'm juggling a bunch of random stuff: morning baby-sitting play groups, a few guest blog posts, my Etsy shop, some early childhood consulting appointments, and working as the new Kids Columnist for a local community journal. Oh, and, you know, still being a full-time stay-at-home mom (though thankfully with reliable and unbelievably amazing child care, courtesy of Grandma). I'm thrilled with each and every one of these, but each and every one is also a brand-new venture for me, complete with kinks and fine-tuning and recalibrating. I mean, it's been a long time since I had to deal with technical difficulties affecting my work performance. And these days I don't actually have on-site IT...or off-site IT, for that matter.

Really good at pretend-cleaning. Troubleshooting an HTML mishap, not so much.

So, exciting and mind-boggling as it all is, I basically rolled my (operational) eyes at myself when I realized that the typical stress of starting a few new jobs had tipped over into anxiety. The great thing, though, was that it felt like the only way out was through. I couldn't just snivel on the couch into a box of Cheez-its; I had to book the meetings and transcribe the interviews and schedule the photography and hammer out the game plan and create, create, create. 

(I mean, I did access my long-standing coping mechanism of hoovering sugar while pounding out over 5,000 words this weekend, but you know. Whatever.)

Mostly, I was able to remind myself that there's a learning curve with new jobs, and also a learning curve with returning to work. Especially when it's a work format you've never attempted before - part-time working from home with a wacky toddler scampering around, wanting to wear nothing but a tutu. We compromised on clothing + wings for today's library trip.

Would share a tushie-and-tutu pic here if I weren't scared of sanctimommy backlash.


There's always more anxiety around the bend. Thursday is my follow-up appointment with nephrology. Friday is my final interview for my first column, which is due just a couple days later, which doesn't leave me much time to actually write it. And I'm harboring a fair amount of bitterness over the anxiety regularly yanking me out of the moment.

Master of Being Here Now.

And have I mentioned that Rowan's latest obsession (besides naked ballet)? She crams a baby doll into her shirt, cradles it gently, and even births it. Oh, boy. Today she wore her surrogate belly (and wings) to the FedEx store, and she told every passerby that she had a baby in her belly. At home, she zooms her Daniel Tiger trolley back and forth across the table and pretends that Daniel Tiger's mom is bringing the baby home for everyone to meet. In her crib, she sings herself to sleep with Daniel Tiger lyrics like we really love our baby and I want to play with my sister all day. She pats my stomach lovingly while we read books and asks, "Is there a baby in there for me?" Then she quickly answers herself: "Not yet!" It's all pretty adorable and endearing, but geez, kid, back off a little, eh? I'm still guiltily ambivalent about having another baby, and I just started all these new gigs, and Rowan only sleeps through the night like 70% of the time, and STOP PRESSURING ME ALREADY, CHILD.

That said, I'll take nine more of you, please.


Netflix and dinner for now. Side note, we had a free trial (plus an accidental bonus week) of Blue Apron deliveries, and not only were they freakin' stellar, but we've been re-making a few of our favorites, thanks to the detailed recipe cards. So I'm off to tuck into my warm grain salad with orange, avocado, and gorgonzola. Hell yes. Oh, and to add airborne Benadryl to our HVAC system so Rowan will start falling asleep before 9:00 at night.

Sleep tight.

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