Well, I’ve mostly recovered from my anxiety attack a couple of weeks ago. I use the the term “recovered” because it’s like an alcoholic saying they’re cured of the booze. They know deep down inside that because of their addictive personality they’re just one bad day from being off the sobriety wagon. It’s a day-to-day battle, and dealing with an anxiety disorder is much the same.
I’ve been working a lot in the last few weeks on redirection…meaning taking the nervous energy that anxiety creates and doing something productive with it instead of internalizing it which will only lead to a meltdown sooner or later. It’s sort of like taking a hyperactive kid to the playground for a couple of hours after you’ve fed him too much sugar. Get him out of the house before he destroys something (or many things) and let him expel his energy in way that will not harm himself or others.
Weekends are the worst for me, because unlike the other five days of my week they lack definitive structure. Now, my husband, he seems to love the lack of structure of the weekends as most “normal” people do. Well, me, if you remember the movie, Rain Man, and what happened to Raymond Babbitt when he was taken out of his life of structure… that is me on a lesser scale. I just want my K-Mart underwear and to watch Judge Wapner everyday at five. Is that too much to ask?
Well, life tends to stray away from structure and towards chaos no matter how hard we try to maintain structure. So, Saturdays tend to hit me hard as that day in particular lends itself to a lack of structure. Now, the Saturdays we are traveling and have definitive plans are the best, but the Saturdays which are kind of “whatever” days are days that I tend to feel the most anxiety.
We were supposed to travel this weekend, but our budget and a home improvement project we’ve been trying to complete since May and needs to be done before the holidays precluded travel. We had a three-day weekend with plans to work at home, but that was not enough structure for me. We were trying to get our stairs refinished and stained this weekend, but we only had one sander. The sanding was proving to be more time consuming than originally planned, and so that left me with nothing to do on that project until the sanding was complete. So, I have been left to fill two days with other things.
Now, there’s always plenty to do in a house with two people and five cats, but that’s another problem. I look at all that needs to be done in the house…while all the while everything is beginning to be covered in a layer of dust from all the sanding being done by my husband, and voila, anxiety attack! I was feeling overwhelmed by it all.
Even though anxiety was mounting I got through Friday pretty well. I just started redirecting that energy into one thing at a time telling myself, “Okay, I can do this. I will focus on one thing at a time.” That worked pretty well, and I got a lot of things done on Friday even with the added stress of taking the newest kitten…who has had runny diarrhea for a month…to the vet.
On Saturday there was still sanding to do which meant that I couldn’t start helping Eddie yet on the stair project. Most likely the weekend would pass without staining even beginning. We got up and decided to go out for breakfast. Because we were, yet again, off schedule I wasn’t in a good mood. The thought of being in the house again on such a gorgeous day was almost too much for me to handle. I couldn’t even enjoy my breakfast. That’s when I knew another Saturday anxiety attack was imminent. When we pulled back into the driveway Eddie mentioned that the lawn needed to be mowed, and a lightbulb went off in my head. I decided that I would do it and do some other end-of-season yard work that needed to be done. That would get me out of the house into the Fall sunshine. I worked four to five hours outside yesterday mowing, weed eating, fertilizing, and seeding. To say the least that expelled some anxious energy! We then had a date night last night which included dinner and movie.
Today’s Sunday and due to multiple mitigating factors we did not go to church today. First of all, we stayed up too late last night, were both dog tired this morning from all our work the past two days, and Eddie got a call last night to clean the cat cages at PetSmart for the Humane Society this morning since no one else was available to do it. This left Sunday as another no-structure day. I quickly became cranky feeling like I needed to be super-productive again today, but fortunately, I was able to bring that under control.
According to my faith and personal conviction Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, and I’m deciding to do that…rest. Now, there are things that have to be done, and I’m doing them, but today I’m redirecting my anxious energy into blogging and relaxation. Relaxation at home is the hardest for me, because I constantly see things that need to be done.
But I’m trying…trying really hard to let things go…trying to adopt the philosophy that the things that need to be done will be there tomorrow, and that if something is dirty or undone it’s not the end of the world and does not mean I’m not a good housekeeper. It means that instead of focusing on things that are inconsequential I’m focusing on making my life much more peaceful.
Easier said than done, but I’m really trying…