They did everything right. I got to sleep in, breakfast was healthy and delicious, and the espresso was hot and fresh. We went for pedicures and had dinner with my family. At times, we were laughing so hard I was nearly crying – something that hasn’t happened with my family for some time. The day was everything I secretly hoped it would be.
So, why then, did the day suddenly result in me being snarky, short, and eventually ending with me screaming at the dog? And I mean, SCREAMING.
Let me explain:
I can be quick to believe the situation is dire – catastrophic, even. After the straight up snarkiness directed at Tyler – in front of my mother, I might add – I became indignant.
Fuck him, I thought to myself, feeling a layer of brick being added to the wall around my heart.
What did he do? Logic Tina thought.
What did he do?! Let me list all of the things he had done … :: ridiculously long pause :: Well! He did SOMETHING. I just don’t know what, Anxiety responded.
Nope, he did not, Logic chimed in.
The truth is, he did nothing. We were having a conversation with my mom about our wedding plans – which were anything but plans, at the time of this incident. They were merely discussions, ideas, dreams, wish lists even, waiting to be molded into wedding plans. And he extended an invitation to whoever wanted to join us in Savannah the weekend before the wedding to no one in particular.
And my response? “Well, I wouldn’t say anyone. I shouldn’t have to spend my weekend with any one of your girlfriends who you might convince me to invite to the wedding, who I don’t want to spend time with!”
What? What are you doing, Logic asked.
What ARE you doing? Even Anxious Tina was confused.
You see, I didn’t mean “girlfriends” – I meant “friends who are girls,” and also, our guest list had been whittled away to closest friends and immediate family, and anyone who would be getting an invitation at that moment in time would be friends of his whom I adore and would love to spend a weekend with. So really, what was I doing?
Losing control – that’s what I was doing. Having to control every aspect of every moment is this awful side effect of anxiety – mine, at least. I must know all things, at all times. I must control all of the things, lest something goes awry and I am surprised. I don’t like surprises.
But the snarkiness and yelling at the dog were not because I lost control in that moment. The day was running away from me long before that snarky remark. Leading up to that day, I was angry, agitated, ungrateful, and looking for everything wrong with everything and everyone. Perhaps, weirdly enough, the only person who wasn’t doing anything to irritate the fuck out of me was N. Leading up to that moment at my mom’s dining room table, I would watch N in awe, tear up at how grown up she is becoming, and cherish the memories we were building together. Hell, I even played make-believe with her for about an hour just a few days before. Now that is something I abhor and usually wiggled my way out of.
I’m relatively new to the anxiety game. I’m unmedicated, instead opting for self-control, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). I have my list of grounding techniques and things to do when I feel a panic attack coming on. The problem with this, it seems, is that if there isn’t a particular situation I am anxious about, I don’t necessarily recognize when I am running high – when I am about to hit that downward spiral and lose control of my temper, emotions, and behavior – until I hit it. And almost instantaneously I say, “oh, fuck.”
My anxiety presents as a snarky, rude, jealous and controlling bitch. She lacks the inability to separate past life from current life, past trauma from the current bump in the road. She is MEAN and ANGRY, and she never says what is on her mind. And what’s incredibly frustrating is that despite years of therapy, years of unpacking, naming, and working through past trauma, and every damn technique I have, the anxiety is always the same. It is always as powerful, debilitating, paralyzing, and suffocating as the last anxiety attack. The same issues present themselves, over and over and over again.
Tomorrow is another chance to be a better you, I say to myself.
But you fucked up a perfect Mother’s Day, Anxiety responds.