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…
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.