This is what anxiety looks like…
Yesterday was my son’s birthday. It was a chaotic day filled with bowling, food, parents, and 15 kids. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off all afternoon trying to tie up loose ends and picking up last minute items for the party. Once everyone showed up, it was loud and obnoxious, but I figured it was only for a few hours.
After the party, as everyone was leaving, my son’s best friends parents asked what we were doing for Halloween. I suggested they all come over to our house so the kids could go out trick or treating together. As most of the other parents were leaving, I thought, “hell, why not invite everyone!”
And then it began. Again.
I realized that we were having another party, the same as the birthday, except on Halloween.
Have I mentioned that I hate Halloween??
By the end of the day, I fell onto my sofa mentally and physically exhausted.
Last night, as I laid in bed, anxiety took over my body. I started to sweat as I thought about how many people would invade my private space and then my mind whirled with questions. Do I have munchies for the parents? Should I feel obligated to feed them dinner? I don’t have wine in my house, will they want wine? Do I have enough beer and hard alcohol? Do I have drinks for the kids? What time will everyone show up? Should I assume they’ll come right after school? Or will they wait until after dinner? Will the kids be hungry before trick or treating? Should I have hamburgers and hot dogs ready for them? Should I trust the older kids to take them out or should I go with them? What happens if those asshat clowns show up and scare my kids? I think I should set some rules before they leave, but I don’t know – should I set rules for them? Maybe I’ll just go with them to make sure they’re safe…? Yeah, I should go with them. But will the other parents be okay at my house to entertain themselves?
And on and on and on my thoughts went until I realized it was 2:30am and I really needed sleep. My body was so tired, but my brain wouldn’t shut off.
This is my daily life, this is who I am, and this is what I do. I want to make everyone happy and keep everyone safe and I put it upon myself to take care of everything. Every single day. If the school needs a volunteer, I’m there. If the hockey team needs help, I’m the one to do it. If my son’s friends have a problem, they come to me. If my son’s friends parents need a hand, I’ll help out.
I know why I’m exhausted all the time. I know why I feel used and taken advantage of sometimes. I try to do everything. And I know I can’t.
My only hope is that I don’t look like the awkward mom who has a heart of gold but fails miserably at everything.
I’m a perfectionist and it’s my best/worst quality. I like being put-together, I like when people see me as competent, and I like being the one people feel they can rely on because I’m good at what I do.
But it’s so tiring sometimes. It’s like being on a Ferris wheel for too long. At first it’s fun and I’m smiling the whole time. Then it starts to make me feel sick to my stomach and I physically can’t keep swinging in circles or I’m going to puke.
I’ve been on this ride now for over two weeks. Around and around we go. When will it stop??
Welcome to my anxiety.