When Anxiety Attacks

After two nights of anxiety-fueled insomnia as we started into the new school year, I did manage two nights of decent sleep. At least, I didn’t wake up at 3 a.m. and stay up with a pounding heart and shortness of breath.

Here is a short, non-comprehensive list of the things about which I am having anxiety:

    1. Flora, and her newly developed dislike of soccer. She’s on the school team, and has zero interest in showing up for games and practice.
    2. Kate, and her deepening sadness. Her transition to middle school has not gone as smoothly as I had hoped it would.
    3. Michael, getting off the bus, by himself, every day.
    4. All the bad things that can happen to my children because I’m not right there.
    5. Dan, and me, and our continuing struggle to stay connected. Today is our anniversary.
    6. Money.
    7. The children’s will and ability to do the chores. I have asked, repeatedly, to come home to a clean house. I don’t mean sparkling, but clean. Especially in the kitchen. I would like to come home and be able to make dinner — not come home, tell the children what chores need to be done RIGHT NOW, help them clean the kitchen, THEN start dinner.
    8. Meal planning.
    9. Coming home and cooking every day. I’m over it. There’s got to be a better way (that doesn’t involve lots of going out).
    10. Having another anxiety attack and insomnia.

As we started into the school year, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the fact that I had control over NOTHING. I am cognizant that I don’t have lots of control over a great many things, and I have found ways to make peace with that. But lately, I haven’t been able to rein in the worry. I think a contributing factor is the horror of playing witness to the sheer incompetence of the T*ump administration. That daily onslaught from the Idiocracy has exacerbated my anxiety (I am sure I am not alone).

Solutions I am contemplating to deal with anxiety/insomnia:

1. If I start having sleepless nights, I may try melatonin. I fall asleep just fine — I am TIRED when I go to bed. But some nights, I wake up, and I’M UP. And some nights, even a little TV or reading, or counting sheep/relaxation, don’t do the trick.

2. If the anxiety gets too big to deal with, then I may see my doctor for a prescription. I have never taken anxiety meds. I came close when I was leaving my last job, because it was giving me daily panic attacks and tension headaches. But if my anxiety gets in the way of my day-to-day functioning, medication is a short-term solution I am willing to try.

3. Therapy? The question mark is for: when? In theory, I would love to return to talk therapy. I think part of my problem is simply that all my stuff runs around in my head.

4. Doing something different regarding meals. I’m not sure what yet. Maybe cooking a lot on weekends, putting together meals for the week. I can come home and throw something in the oven, or serve soup and sandwiches. The problems: what to cook (that everyone will eat); and getting in the habit of prepping and/or cooking, like, four big meals on the weekend. Plus, omnivore husband, daughter, and son vs. vegetarian me and other daughter. *sigh*

4b. I am considering a meal prep delivery service. A friend suggested Fresh 20, which is a meal planning service. They give you the menus, and what to shop for; you just have to shop, prep, and cook. But I looked at the first offering on the veggie menu, and I knew my children wouldn’t all eat it. They aren’t picky, but I’m not sure they are going to go for coleslaw wraps with hummus and a side of sweet potato fries.

5. Prayer. This isn’t a new one, but it’s a solid standby.

I can hear some people thinking: stop paying attention to the news/social media! But, look, that is a luxury. I think it’s more important to pay attention and do what I can — even if in some cases that’s just worry — than isolate myself from the crap in the world.

What’s your go-to anxiety defuser?

4 thoughts on “When Anxiety Attacks

  1. Just a thought… the concussion therapists told me if I can’t sleep, try doing things like folding laundry. Quiet, boring tasks that ought to quiet the mind. I suspect you’re like me and that’s when the thoughts whirl the hardest and fastest, though, but then again, maybe the exercise in mindfulness as you fold clothes will help?

    1. Of course the irony here is I don’t do laundry. When insomnia gets bad, I try to read or watch tv to distract my anxiety brain. Sometimes it works!

  2. Ah, your comments about your kids tug at my heart. Children are hard, hard, hard. And our love for them is overwhelming.

    As for the chores–good luck w/ that, too. Any way to connect finishing chores with something else? It’s so hard.

    And cooking sucks. Always. I have sort of given up on cooking food for everyone. Eat it or don’t, is my new motto. It’s just too hard–I make the same 3-4 meals on an ongoing basis, with leftovers. And if I prep something where I can double and freeze all/part, I do. I hate bulk cooking–I’ve tried, but I couldn’t do it, it ruined my weekends, haha. I’ve also started ordering my groceries online, and then going to pick it up (I bring a book in case it takes a few minutes). Honestly, it’s quite peaceful, and only costs 3-5 dollars.

    Good luck. There is never a perfect solution. There is always someone/thing to worry about. It’s just hard.

    I don’t know you, but I wish I could give you a hug.

    1. You are very kind. I don’t know that I want to spend all my weekends in the kitchen, necessarily, but I may try to double recipes I am cooking to freeze half. The children get allowance for chores, so the next step is that they get in the habit of doing them themselves.

      If Aldi ever does curbside pickup or delivery, it will change my life!!

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