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"Stop changing things!"

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SavPierce

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I'm frustrated with my husband again today - don't they say that it's the ones you're closest to that you're the hardest on?

He really doesn't ask a lot from me when it comes to leaving the house and doing things (his job is exhausting and his commute is long, which makes him more than happy to watch TV most nights and probably enables me to be a home-body, too). When he does ask me to do things with him, it's easier for me to say, "No, I don't feel like it," than it is to do that with other people because we're married and I know he's not going anywhere.

I was upset the other day when he was going to come to brunch and then said he wasn't, then changed his mind and said he was. Today I'm upset because we made plans to cut a Christmas tree on Thursday, then he changed his mind and said he needed to tackle the leaves that day, and now the weather forecast changed and he says we're back to Plan A, tree cutting day.

My first response was my typical anxiety response - "No, I can't do that."

I don't do well with a medium-level spontaneity. It's fine if we decide to do something in the spur of the moment (and I don't have time to panic), or it's fine if we decide to do something next week (and I have time to prepare for it mentally). But spontaneously changing plans with less than 24 hours of lead time? That's a guaranteed recipe for anxiety.

There's absolutely no reason why I could successfully cut a tree tomorrow because it was agreed upon it last week, but I should be incapable of cutting that same tree on the same day because it was only agreed upon 24 hours in advance. It's a totally irrational mentality and it depends largely on the equally irrational concern that I am a "spoonie" who needs to conserve her energy and her health. The fact that I'm working at Panera with my dad today has absolutely NO bearing on my health, energy levels or abilities tomorrow because I have anxiety, not an energy or health-limiting illness.

We are cutting a damn tree tomorrow and it's going to be fun.

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POST-GAME ANALYSIS:

Wow, I had such an extremely good day even though a million things went wrong.

Last night around 10pm, our well pump broke and we had no running water. My first thought was, "Oh thank god, that means we can't get the Christmas tree tomorrow and I can avoid that problem for now." My second thought was, "Isn't it strange how, for a lot of other people, needing a critical home repair would be the stressful thing, but I'm just relieved I don't have to go to a Christmas tree farm tomorrow and I'm totally in my element when it comes to taking charge of this water situation?"

I had very brief anxiety last night about the water situation because we can only flush the toilet if we have enough water on hand to fill up the tank, but there's a gas station about a mile down the road that's open 24/7 so there's really no circumstances in which I would need to use the toilet and be unable to do so in a reasonable amount of time.

This morning, someone came out to look at the pump first thing and was done by 9:30am - he said they'll come out tomorrow to replace the pump, or worst case scenario if all the technicians are busy, Monday.

Then, instead of letting this problem derail the whole day, my husband and I went to the Christmas tree farm. I had moderate anxiety and nausea during the drive, but I was able to recognize it as such and work my way through it. When we were almost there, my husband finally thought to check their hours and it turned out we were 90 minutes early, which sent me into another wave of moderate anxiety - on one hand I was again relieved that I might be getting out of it, but on the other hand it meant I'd have to subject myself to the event twice.

We drove by just to be sure the website hours weren't wrong, and the owner was there and extremely nice - he let us get our tree anyway, and we gave him a generous tip for not turning us away.

My husband started asking about lunch while we were tree hunting and that caused another, more mild wave of anxiety, and at that point I chose to just be honest about my limitations - I told him I'd go to any restaurant he wanted within my safe zone as long as he let me go home and unload the tree first, and catch my breath. That's exactly what we did, and we even ended up going to a restaurant that I previously felt sick at (the food is very rich and I'm not a huge fan, but he loves it and tree cutting day is kind of his special day because he looks forward to it more than I do). The meal went without a hitch, we did a little Christmas decor and "we don't have water" shopping, and then came home.

Today had the potential to go bad in so many different ways, and before I started actively trying to work on my anxiety, I absolutely would have used the well pump as an excuse to sit at home all day feeling overwhelmed. I know I'm not fun to be around when anxiety is telling me that I need to withdraw inside myself and pay attention to every minute symptom instead of the conversations and people around me, and I feel like I was able to actually enjoy the day today and be pleasant to be around.

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