Keeping anxiety in check: How I almost lost it last week...
March 16, 2010
On Friday I did two things that I am not proud of, but I’m going to share them with you because, well, that’s what blogs are all about:
1. I took a pregnancy test even though I knew there was almost no way I could be pregnant.
2. I called my doctor’s office and told the receptionist I was worried I might be having a heart attack even though all it felt like was heartburn.
This makes me laugh out loud every time I read it. Probably because I am not pregnant and I did not have a heart attack. Am I a hypochondriac? I guess so. I never used to be but I believe that having cancer gives you a free pass at it for the rest of your life (how can you ever be sure that something is nothing if something turned out to be cancer that one time?). Still, Friday marked a new low for me. But, while my worry turned out to be for naught, it wasn’t unwarranted....
The whole week I felt…off. I had knife-stabbing heartburn even when I wasn’t eating, I had two dizzy spells, I felt fat (fatter than my usual I-just-had-a-kid fat), I was achy and headachy and I hadn’t gotten my period back since giving birth. Oh, and despite the fact that my kids sleep great, I kept waking up in the middle of the night with the Chuggington theme song playing on repeat in my head. In other words, I was a hot mess.
By the time I got to my book club meeting on Friday night I felt like the world was closing in on me. At one point I actually thought I might pass out. I kept quiet for a while but then I started talking about how I felt, and I realized—with the help of the 10 friends/therapists in the room—that maybe I was just overwhelmed and anxious, not dying. As I started talking, it made sense. My plate was overflowing. At the time of my heart attack call (during which Nick was trying desperately not to laugh and I don’t blame him), I was making apps for my book club meeting that night. I was also finalizing the menu for the dinner party I was cooking for the next night (12 people and 4 kids at my parents’ house for my sister Meghan’s farewell). I owed three friends phone calls, had just agreed to be interviewed by a college reporter, had unwritten thank you notes scattered around my dining room table and, at 5 p.m., I’d heard from two different editors from two different magazines who both needed me to turn copy around by Monday. Did I mention I also have a newborn and a two and half year old who likes to test my patience at every turn?
But here’s the thing. When I started telling the girls about my craziness and how bad I’d been feeling and all the things I was worried about, I started to feel better. By the end of book club I was almost back to my normal (abnormal) self. Today I have zero of those crazy symptoms and, while I’m still overwhelmed by everything going on, the dinner parties and the deadlines are gone and I’m going to try not to overextend myself for a while. I also got my period back, thank God! The hormones weren't helping!
Have you ever had anxiety that made you physically ill? Do you take on too much and then feel like the world is caving in on you? Is that a dumb question for a bunch of mothers?
Also, check out my friend's awesome post today about wanting to have a third kid...and vote to help her decide what to do!