Anxiety Vignettes: #1

You want to cry while you are waiting for a lemon cake to come out of the oven? Watch the Almost Famous trailer.

Glibly posted to facebook on Saturday night. While both crying and waiting for a lemon cake to come out of the oven.

A friend asked why? and I was confounded for a moment. Doesn’t everyone cry at almost every movie trailer ever? She pointed out the movie was fun and the characters were having a good time. And it sat me right on my ass. She was, or is right. For the most part they are having a pretty fucking terrific time. Particularly in the moment I cited as a tear making, when Penny tells the kid he already is home.

In yet another moment of glibness I typed I find 95% of all human interactions sad. Funny and then sad. Because I’m broken. Good news for you, though! Happy people live longer!

Anxiety creates emotional precariousness. Tears are never far away. Neither is laughter. Both show up at the most inappropriate times. Both show up at the exact right time. When life is overwhelming and absurd they are a valve that releases enough pressure to keep me from giving up. It is why someone who has intense IBS loves poop jokes so much. If I don’t laugh I cry. If I don’t cry I laugh.

So. Introducing Anxiety Vignettes. Moments of absurdity that make me laugh or make me cry. Coping mechanisms that seem reasonable until I need to explain them to someone else.

——————————————-

Dad came with me and the boys to school drop off last Monday before I took him to the airport. We lingered in the kindergarten room which meant we pulled into the preschool parking lot the the perfectly worst time. I stopped at the t-bone in the road to assess options. Most spaces on the near side were full, and every single space was taken on the far side in the half of the lot closest to school.

Dad, ” There’s a space over there.”

Me, “I can’t park there.”

Dad, “Um, ok….there is a space over there.”

Me, “I can’t park there.”

Dad, “What are you taking about?”

I pulled around to the half of the lot farther from school. My parents usually have a no-visiting-Syracuse rule when the temps fall below 60F, and it was a pretty cold morning. I believe my dad was wearing every item of clothing he brought with him.

Dad, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Me, “I CAN’T PARK OVER THERE!”

Dad, “WHY?”

Me, “BECAUSE SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN!”

Silence.

Me, “If I park on that side something bad will happen. I have to park on this side…..so something bad doesn’t happen.”

Every space was filled on the right side, by which I mean the correct side. I pulled to the end of the lot. And I made my own space in the dirt/grass/beginning of a path.

Dad looked at me incredulously.

My face was burning, “What?”

Silence.

Me, “Um…..something bad will happen.”

I looked at him. He started laughing. I started laughing. He sighed.

We trudged toward the building. By the time we walked to the other end of the lot there were a bunch of empty spaces on the safe side. But who knows what calamity I prevented by parking on the correct side of the lot?

Please, don’t all thank me at once.

c school picture

School picture.

last soccer game

Last day of soccer. T’s level of focus was….underwhelming.

reluctant vampire

Reluctant vampire.

boy in tree

Boy in tree.

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5 thoughts on “Anxiety Vignettes: #1

  1. I definitely think you’re right about anxiety creating emotional precariousness. But the part about the movie trailer and your response? I don’t know–ever since I had a kid I definitely cry at the weirdest things, and not just bad things. Especially if they involve children. I don’t think of myself as a sappy person; I’m practical in much of my daily life. But sweet things make me cry, even when I know they’re saccharine. I’ll be reading some stupid fluffy internet human interest story and ‘poof’ I feel them rushing up. I say this just to point out that it might not just be anxiety all the time–ever since I became a parent I am so much more aware of the precariousness of life. So sweet things make me cry (because they exist in our fleeting crazy beautiful world), sad things make me cry, and I even cry more easily when I’m laughing. And on the flip side, there’s also a real anxious making piece to parenting for everyone–I mean, how could there not be? I’ve never had so many morbid thoughts on bridges, or found myself wondering how I could get out of a sinking car and could I get to the car seat in time and snapped out of it, finding myself freaking out and thinking “what the hell is wrong with me?” So you’re not alone, even among others who don’t identify as having an anxiety disorder. I don’t know if that brings you comfort, but I wanted to tell your anxiety voice that you’re really not that different from the rest of us sometimes.

    • Great point, and I totally agree. Lots of people are easy criers. And I also agree parenthood exacerbates the easy crier phenomenon.

      I think that there might be an issue with how I’m presenting things because I’ve noticed that a lot of people comment that I am not alone with particular issues. One of the reasons I write about the anxiety/parenting/daily minutia stuff is because I think I’m not alone. I think there are tons of people who feel the same way. The anxiety in particular does not signify uniqueness to me, rather it so something a lot of people deal with and don’t talk about enough.

      On the other hand I think there are folks who don’t understand anxiety or depression because it isn’t a part of their experience. I’m trying to write to both parties simultaneously. And I have a feeling I’m not being very successful.

      • Oh, I think you’re doing a fine job. I think the reason we all tell you you’re not alone is because we don’t know how else to answer your distress. And maybe you aren’t looking for an answer from others at all. But at least for me, it’s instinctual to respond to that nagging voice that tells you how much more horrible you are than the average person, that it’s wrong, even if I know that anxiety doesn’t really just say ‘OK, you’re right, bye.” just because someone else says it should. Empathy is the only thing I have that I can offer, since it’s all just words on a page. I was actually thinking after I wrote that post, that there’s a funny tension when you try to write about painful and persistent illness of any kind. On the one hand, you need to express its truths and its reality because it is legitimately an illness, and it is something you struggle with. On the other hand, you don’t want to be consumed by it, you want to be able to say “I am more than this…[insert disease here].” So in responding by asserting ‘likeness’ we are trying to comfort and illustrate that we understand on some scale how you feel, and yet we run the risk of placation, like “oh, well I do that too, so you’re not really dealing with anything that bad.” It’s a very funny balance, and one I hope I didn’t tip the wrong way. But really, I think that’s why you may get the ‘you’re like me’ responses. Because we want to make it better, even if we can’t. So for complete balance and disclosure: I cry easily and I have crazy morbid thoughts about catastrophic accidents involving either myself or my child, or both, but I never have had to park across a parking lot due to fear or anxiety. And that’s what I’ve got.

  2. I’ve become a crier and it pisses the hell out of me. My Mom was a crier and as a kid it irritated me to no end. Now I am that person- very empathetic, I feel all the feels and am easily overwhelmed by then. Makes me freaking nuts. But, I can’t seem to change it. That particular trailer didn’t make me feel tearful but I love love love that movie.

    That picture of T, post soccer? Complete and utter fabulousness. I love it!

    • You know, I think it must be much harder to become a crier. When you’ve always been one you just don’t know another way! I understand the turning into your Mom thing, though. Every time I utter the words, “Calm-y down-y” to Z or the boys I hate myself a little. But I can’t stop!

      T is pretty fab. But I don’t think he is destined for team sport greatness!

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