Permission to Abort Operation Anxiety

Today has been a week of realizing and, eventually, accepting that my general anxiety level has risen to ridiculous levels over the past few weeks.  For a little while, around the time that Sondra started getting sick I started having a lot of problems with depression — lack of motivation, feelings of hopelessness, extreme sadness, problems with food/eating, extreme moodiness and irritation, so on and so on.  Of course I couldn’t just accept it as that, as some situational issues going on — I had to wallow and moan about how life was just so AWFUL. 

As that depression started to lift, my anxiety became more noticeable, at least to other people.  To Dr. Love, especially, because he’s the one who has to deal with my not-exactly-rare erratic behavior day in and day out.  I’m not proud or happy to say that I really get bossy, controlling, and mean with him when I’m anxious.  I work all day long and, if I come home and there are a couple of dishes in the sink, or some project isn’t done, I’ll go off.  If it isn’t apparent to me that he’s been busy all day doing different things, I get irrational. 

Little things set me off.  I have an obsession/compulsion about the bed being made, in EXACTLY the “right” way, all of the dishes being done and put away, the kitchen being spotless, clothes put away in closets in dressers, the living room devoid of clutter.  When I’m in my right mind, and even sometimes when I’m in the moment, I know that all of these little things aren’t super-important in the grand scheme of life, and I’m usually a little bit (sometimes a lot) embarrassed by the time I’m done throwing my temper tantrum. 

And sometimes I’ll just come home in a mood and I will sit and pick things to death.  It can get really obscene sometimes — I will sit and obsess about Dr. Love possibly leaving me or not loving me or not being attracted to me and it is a very slippery slope in my mind until it is to the point that I’m asking him ridiculous questions like, “Do you ever think about breaking up with me?”  This really pisses him off to no end and he really doesn’t like it when I go on and on about how his parents hate me, especially when I go into such detail about certain instances that I am SURE prove just how much they dislike me.  He usually ends up walking away when I start really getting into this “no one loves me, everyone is going to leave me, everyone hates me” topic matter, just because he can’t deal with how irrational I am being.  I can’t really blame him, although it really REALLY pisses me off at the time.  The problem is that, in that very moment, he can’t stop my bad behavior.  Only I can. 

Basically, my anxiety can lead to some very intense moments and I consider myself extremely lucky that Dr. Love takes these situations and generally turns them around, not getting angry or holding a grudge.  He’s really good about trying to make me laugh and get my mind off things by acting silly or distracting me with something else.  Unfortunately, there have been many days where nothing can snap me out of it.

As I said, I have been thinking a lot the past week about my ridiculous anxiety level and have decided that I really need to do something pro-active about it.  I had therapy with Goddess of Mindfulness today and we talked about what I could do to feel less anxious.  I pinpointed that my anxiety really gets ramped up after I get off work and this is when I’m most likely to go home and blow up.

During times of less anxiety, I spent a lot of time sitting on my back porch, meditating and doing mindfulness exercises.  I don’t do that anymore.  At all.  During that time, I also cooked a healthy dinner almost every night, whereas most nights now it’s just whatever I can microwave.  I’m tired of coming home from work, getting pissed off at Dr. Love, yelling at him, then eating something out of the microwave and watching TV for the rest of the night to block out (usually ineffective) how anxious I am feeling.  It’s no wonder I don’t sleep well, when I’ve been revved all evening.

As a response to fear about losing Dr. Love, I have it in my head that we have to spend every second together and I realize now that is not the case.  Dr. Love gets his “me” time while I am at work, and I come home to him every night and weekend, never having even a moment where he’s not around.  This is completely not his fault, but mine. 

I don’t take any time to meditate, practice mindfulness, cook, exercise, paint my toenails, or anything else that would make me feel good.  I’m (wrongly) driven to sit by his side, even if we’re not doing anything and are just staring at the TV together (which doesn’t usually happen because he gets tired of watching). 

I talked with him about it last night and he agrees that I need to be taking time out to do things for myself to feel better, to feel good.  When I talked with Goddess of Mindfulness about it this morning, she suggested that I need to find a way to relax at the end of the day.  When I was doing my best, I was in a routine of coming home, going for a walk, cooking dinner, and then maybe watching about an hour of TV or spending some time on the computer. 

When I come home now, my anxiety is at an unreal level and I’m so overwhelmed.  GoM suggested that, as soon as I get home, I go sit out on the porch and listen to some mindfulness exercises on CD.  She gave me a few suggestions of ones to try out and a workbook also that may be helpful.  I’m going to Amazon later tonight and will give them a try and report back, if they’re any good. 

My hope is that, with beginning to relax myself through meditation and mindfulness the moment I get home, I will have a less anxious evening and will be more amenable to cooking, exercising, blogging, LIVING.  Fingers crossed.

So this song is repetitive, but the lyrics (comments) get stuck in my head and I’m always singing it to Dr. Love.  Enjoy. 

Plain White T’s, 1 2 3 4

The Battle of Perfectionism

Dr. Love said it best:  “You need to live in the real world.  I live in the real world and I need you to be in it.” 

About 75% of my anxiety comes from the struggle for perfection in my every day life.  I went to work yesterday with the thought that everything was going just fine, but I am slowly starting to realize that it is not.  I alienate people by being demanding, being controlling.  I start out just fine, trying to roll with the punches.  Then I realize what I am doing, what is going on, and I NEED everything to be JUST SO.  And it’s not.  Because apparently perfection isn’t reality.  I would say that I can understand that, if I did.  I just can’t internalize it.

Dr. Love is always telling me that I need to relax.  “Just relax…c’mon, just relax!”  I find it nearly impossible to do, save for a few moments here and there.  I come home from work, and I am obsessed with the house being picked up.  To a crazy degree.  No dishes in the sink, bed is made, grass is mowed.  Unless these things are in place, I feel anxious.  I feel a compelling need to do it.  Unfortunately, this does not always happen.  I’m tired, had a bad day, unmotivated.  So I sit…anxious and miserable. 

I don’t know what I need to do to embrace “reality” and stop demanding perfection from myself and my environment.  My thinking is ridgid, black-and-white, obsessive.  I act on my obsessions, almost compulsively.  Jokingly, people have always said that I have a touch of OCD.  I can’t begin to describe the terrible anxiety I have related to my every day life.  Even when, on the outside, things are going well, I feel like certain things have to be “just so” or I am ungodly uncomfortable. 

This isn’t to say that I always do something about it.  There are days when the lawn isn’t mowed, when there are dishes in the sink, when the  house is cluttered and dirty (at least in my own mind), and, for some reason or another, I can’t handle it and I don’t do anything about it.  That’s called depression, it’s called defeat.  It is exhausting and miserable and unbearable.  Somewhere along the line (with a lot of prodding from Dr. Love, QoB), I have realized that my strong obsession/compulsion for perfection, my resulting anxiety when things are not so, and the depression and defeat that set in when I do nothing about things being “just so”…these things are ruining my life, making it so that I don’t have a life.  I can’t function sometimes just because things are out of place and I don’t have the wherewithall (is that a word?) to do anything about it. 

And it’s a viscious cycle.  I want my relationships with others to go smoothly, I want things at work, the cases I work on, to be perfect.  And I have to rely on other people and that is never good.  Because people, in general, are unreliable.  Especially overworked state employees.  They are not perfect, and they do not strive for perfection.  This causes a lot of angst on my part and causes me to lash out at them, whether verbally, in my own head, in an email, bitching to supervisors, etc.  I have no friends at this job.  People tiptoe around me, fear/annoyance of my judgement keeping them away.  And yes, this is another way that I keep people away.  I trust no one.  None of those people at work DESERVE my trust, and I absolutely will not give it to them. 

All of this angst just boils in my belly, in my chest, my heart, day in and day out.  And really, there is nothing I can do about it, other than to make my environment and myself as perfect as possible.  Unfortunately, I seem to be unable to do that.  More unfortunately, I cannot see a life where I do not expect it. 

This song reflects what I say to myself in my head.  Downright pathetic. 

Alanis Morissette, Perfect