5 Days of Gratitude (Day 2)

Today I am grateful for:

For this quiet moment in my sun room, as the birds chirp and the sun shines.

For the quiet hum of the ceiling fan that is drawing me towards our old couch, begging me to take a nap.

For Tuesday, which isn’t Monday.

For one more week before we get to return to the north-east and visit with family.

For the bloggers I’m meeting here.

For coffee.

For mornings when I wake up and my littlest one is snuggled up next to me. And though she has left me with only inches to sleep with, today I just don’t seem to mind one bit.

For my little one, who is still little and hasn’t left her baby years fully behind yet.

For blond hair and freckles.

For friends and friendly faces.

For laughs.

For persistance.

For love.

For my heart that is starting to re-open.

 

5 Days of Gratitude (Monday)

 

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“Interrupt anxiety with gratitude”

It seems the only way out of a negative-mind-loop is to stop focusing on the bad and refocusing on the good. With that in mind, today I am starting a little project I’m going to call “5 Days of Gratitude.” Each day of this week I will write about gratitude. On Friday I will re-evaluate my level of happiness and anxiety.

Here goes my first challenge!

Today I am grateful for:

  • An almost clean home.
  • My yellow dog, who is laid out sideways with her left her flopped open, giving her the appearance of a Fennec Fox.
  • My job, which allows me to take my kids with me, entertains them, and keeps them healthy and happy.
  • My husband who does his best to make us all happy.
  • Healthy grandparents.
  • Healthy children.
  • The California sun.
  • Yoga, sandy beaches, early morning runs, hills that lead to avocado groves, and cool breezes.
  • For books that hold me captive and take me far away, to places and journeys unknown.
  • For a new week; to start again.

What are you grateful for?

Parenting… Sometimes It Sucks.

When I started up this blog I had intended for it to be me documenting my way through social anxiety. I thought it would be a way to start pulling me out of myself and helping me participate more fully in my life. Unfortunately the last two weeks have been very stressful and I have found myself all most in a state of depression. I’m so worn out, like a dull blade on a cracked butcher block, and I can’t seem to snap out of it.

Actually, I snapped out of it briefly on Thursday night. I was sitting through another insomniac spell (It’s been a VERY long times since I’ve had serious trouble sleeping). I  had finally given up on sleep all together around 1am and sat down in the living room to watch TV. Five minutes into the crappiest reality TV show (Marriage Boot Camp Reality Starts – Its bad!) my house began to shake, as if the marines had accidentally let off a bomb and it was headed in our direction…

Earthquake.

I ran to my kids and just as I started yelling for my husband, the quake had stopped. It was a scary one, but it was over. And I felt relieved. The worry, the stress, the depression had been shaken out of me as the adrenaline took over. I was back in real time again, focusing on what’s really important.

The next day I was tired again but feeling much better. We even met with friends and went swimming. It was a perfect afternoon; I slept well that night.

The next day my oldest was bridging for girl scouts. We were excited. It was a big event for all the girl scouts in our area. I walked her across the long bridge to meet her troop before the big ceremony and about 3/4 of the way across the bride, she began to slow down and refuse to walk forward.

Her troop was playing with an older girl scout as they waited to cross. I, as well as her friends, asked her to join in. She refused. I asked her what’s wrong and she told me she was being shy, which I couldn’t understand. She has always been fine in this type of situation. There was also only one new person in the group, everyone else she’s known for at least two years; we’ve spent countless hours together. Not once has she complained at any other girl scout event, where the situations have frequently been almost identical to this very one.

No matter how I coaxed her, she would not join her friends. I eventually had to leave her sitting away, on her own, from the group. I told her that I understand being shy, as I am too, but that she needed to try to join her friends since she is part of the troop.

She crossed the bridge behind her friends, alone, pouting. I am generally very sympathetic to my children’s feelings, but this really angered me. All I could feel was “what is wrong with us?!” It was painful to see all of her friends hold hands excitedly as they bridged to the next level of girl scouts. I was caught in a comparison-sham-infused meltdown inside my own head. I didn’t want to socialize, I just wanted to leave and get as far away from there as possible.

I still don’t know why she behaved this way. She continued to tell me that it was because she was shy and then complained about how boring the rest of the ceremony was. I went home that night to watch all of our friends post Facebook pictures of their families having a great time at the event.

Again that night I didn’t sleep. I was angry at everyone, my husband for getting so annoyed, our friends for having such a picturesque time, my daughter for being such a pain in the butt, and at me for clearly doing something wrong and not knowing for the life of me what it was.

Parenting is hard. Some days I wish my children came with an owners manual and a subscription to an online course in how to navigate their emotions and behavior. I want to be supportive and caring, but I also want insight and understanding. Why did this happen?

I don’t think I will ever really know.

Waiting For The Storm To Pass

I am stuck in a crazy anxiety storm. I’m just hunkering down, waiting for it to pass.

My whole body is jittery and I’ve struggled to fall asleep every night for the past two weeks. We have also had a very chaotic schedule with the school year ending and summer break beginning.

This summer is the first time my youngest will attend a big kids program. She will attend the community program at my work, which is fabulous because I’m right upstairs from her and everything is absolutely free: swim lessons and swim team included! After years of forking over preschool tuition, we are finally free!

But just as she goes to kindergarten this fall, I worry about how she will be cared for. Thankfully her big sister will be by her side, but there will no longer be a loving preschool teacher there to hug her when she falls or help her when the kids are being mean. She is also a little peanut and I worry terribly that she will be forgotten or misunderstood… Oh my mothering heart goes crazy thinking of all the ways things could go wrong; even though it is so unlikely that things will.

I don’t do well with big changes, it takes me a few days to adjust. Meanwhile, I’m doing everything in my power to keep the anxiety at bay, but to no avail! My worry, my nerves, my heart and my brain just won’t stop.

So I guess sometimes I just have to hold on and have faith that this too shell pass…

 

Am I Self-absorbed?

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“Social anxiety is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. You could say social anxiety is the fear and anxiety of being negatively judged and evaluated by other people.”  Social Anxiety Association

You could also say that social anxiety is being stuck in a gooey pit of self-absorption…

To some the previous statement may be a little triggering and something that most people won’t agree with. But the above description taken from the Social Anxiety Association, in my own judgment, leads me to believe that social anxiety might just be a little narcissistic.

The definition is true, my fear comes from the fear of being negatively judged and evaluated by other people. Isn’t it a little self-absorbed to think that people really care that much about me?  Because in hindsight I know they really don’t.

So social anxiety does have a bit of narcissism to it.

I don’t say these things to anger or misrepresent social anxiety. The fear and struggle that comes with social anxiety is very, very, real. It’s crippling and frustrating and something we know that shouldn’t be. Deep down to our very core, we know something isn’t right. We sit in our own personal jail cell, locked up by our own negative thoughts. The jail cell also become our safety blanket, we think by staying on the outside of socializing, we’re safe from judgment. And then we sit and watch our lives pass us by.  We watch opportunities get passed on to our friends and coworkers. We see our possibilities fade into darkness; It’s a very lonely safety blanket.

I’m exploring this idea of self-absorption and narcism because I know, for me, this is a place to start for change. The realization that I’m so caught up in the fear of other people’s judgments just might be the catalyst to help me end this way of thinking. To remind myself that in my deep dark moments, when I am in pain and fear, I can tap into the idea that the people I’m socializing with are not really thinking about me as much as I think they are. Telling myself to stop being self-absorbed just might help me snap out of my caged induced anxiety and help be settle back into the present moment.

And even if social anxiety does have a layer of self absorption to it, I know it wasn’t born there. I didn’t wake up one day thinking everyone was judging me negatively. No, this fear was not born from a place of narcissistic tendencies. It was born from trauma and pain. A place of pressure, a place where perfectionism wants to take control. A place where my deepest darkest voice wants to remind me to say nothing. Be nothing. You are nothing.

Because they can’t hurt me anymore if I am nothing.

But it’s not true. It’s not. I won’t let nothing continue to become my life!

And I hope you stop the nothing from becoming your life, too.

 

 

The Fear

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I have social anxiety. I am not diagnosed nor am I currently under the care of a counselor or psychologist. I don’t need those things to tell me that I’m terrified of socializing with people.

It’s not an easy thing to live with. It’s painful. Most days I feel trapped in my own body, desperate to get out and connect with the world. Dying to muster up the courage to get my own words out. Or just simply stuck in a combative strife of finding my words, as my brain has decided to go blank.

Some may assume that I’m a dark loner who has no friends or connection with the outside world, but that isn’t true either. When I need to be social, as a mom, an employer, a supporter, a party goer, I can muster up the courage; ignore the fear for the time being.

I can pretend for a little while. The fear will come on strong afterwards, invading my brain with whatever possible fear or mistake I think I have made while being amongst people. Every awkward moment, every wrong comment, every conversation I watched go so much smoother than my own. And then the judgment, my own assumption of those around me as I assume they brush me off and move on to someone else.

So here I am, a socially anxious girl who just can’t take it anymore. It’s becoming too painful. Too painful to watch those around me become friends and share laughs and socialize together while I sit on the sidelines. But more than anything, I don’t want my daughters to grow up and become me.

So today this blog will become my own way of transforming myself. I will probably always have these fears, but I want to find a way to break through them, to keep them on the sidelines, as I live this one and only beautiful life.