house guests

December 22, 2011

Did you know anxiety can be like an unwanted house guest? The kind that completely randomly shows up and doesn’t even really have a reason and then does things to hurt you? And you can stand there and wonder, Why did I feel so good yesterday or one hour ago and now this?

It seems to hit me during down times, when it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Maybe it’s a build up from all the stressful moments and then POW!

This uninvited guest seems to only get the hint to leave in two ways (No, one of them is not Xanax. I wish.) (Read: I am an addict and would probably eat Xanax like I do marshmallow Peeps so I can’t have any.) (Because I eat A LOT of marshmallow Peeps.) (Hello! Sugar addiction!)


#1 – HUMOR

I know. I know. If you struggle with anxiety/depression too, you’re rolling your eyes and going yeah yeah yeah RIGHT. And believe me, I feel the same way a lot of the time but here’s the deal. The simplest of things are true. I prove it to myself accidentally all the time. Like when I tell the same story all day to everyone who will listen, about the annoying lady at the grocery store who was SO ANNOYING. By the fifth time I’ve told this story, the uninvited guest has seen it’s sneak-attack side entrance and slid right into my psyche and there’s no choice but BED for the feeling better.

Know what I mean?

Anxiety is a beast that wants to be fed with negativity. I’m not saying that negative people are anxious, I’m just saying that if anxiety is a struggle in the first place, negativity will definitely not help.

I got it right one time this week. Instead of totally and completely stressing the entire time I was at the mall (I don’t love the mall) with my three children, I tried to see how funny it all was. Because friends, it was FUNNY. It’s a long story but if you have children, especially a few of them, you will totally know what I mean when I say GOING TO THE MALL IS NEVER JUST GOING TO THE MALL. And we just needed to go two places but it did take two hours and there was much poop involved. And sweating. I was sweating a lot. And then finally, after the second poop episode, I said Let’s just go home. So we did. But we almost didn’t because at first we couldn’t find the minivan but then we did. It was pretty easy to spot since it was the one with the sliding side door WIDE OPEN. FOR TWO HOURS.

(This is not the first time we’ve done this.)

(It is nothing if not funny.)

(Why am I using so many parentheses today?)

So I laughed and we just got in the van and said OH WELL. Nothing was missing and even though the van was really really cold and the boys had one zillion questions about the door, it started and we went home. And I drove along and gratitude was there because humor opened the door and I could see that we are so truly okay and beyond blessed.  I thought about Ellie and how much I madly love her and how soon she won’t be able to swallow because of cancer treatments. I thought about the ways she and I make each other laugh because we have to and then I realized that I know what I do about gratitude and so much more because of Ellie. My sister in so many ways. She has taught me so much and my heart is heavy for her and a lot of that weight is gratitude and hope and wisdom that she gave me freely.

She loved the story about the mall. I got to make her laugh and in that moment neither of us had room for unwanted guests.

Please send your thoughts and prayers to Ellie. Her treatment starts today.


angela December 22, 2011 at 9:13 am

My thoughts and prayers are with her as she begins treatment.

And I only have two, and I often leave the mall feeling like I just left some archaic sweat lodge. There is so much humor there, even though I sometimes have to look to find it.

thekitchenwitch December 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

Ellie has cancer? Oh, shit. I’ve been so out of it lately, I had no idea.

Thoughts, prayers and love sent out her way and yours.

ps: Yesterday morning I went out to get the paper and what did I spy? An open car door on the right passenger side, where Miss D. always sits. It had been open since 4pm the day prior. Gah.
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suburbancorrespondent December 22, 2011 at 9:57 am

I think the ability to make ourselves and others laugh is vastly underrated. Laughter is what makes life bearable. And, really, the most stressful situation becomes tolerable if I start imagining what a funny blog post it will make.

We’ve done that open-door thing – makes you realize that most people are basically honest, you know?
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Ellie December 22, 2011 at 10:23 am

I love you bunches, my friend.

And I’m STILL chuckling over the mall story. Even as I wipe tears of gratitude from my cheeks for the stunning post, I’m chuckling.

Thank you is waaaaay too small a word for how I feel about you and your gorgeous words.


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nicole December 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

Oh you made laugh and then cry. Beautifully written. I know Ellie is carried by your support.
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Brook @ Redhead Reverie December 22, 2011 at 11:56 am

Oh, you are speaking my language girlfriend. Anxiety is a plague as is negativity, when one enters it opens the door for the other. So, I’m going to adopt your attitude and welcome in humor and gratitude. I try to instill that in my kids every day, but sometimes I forget about myself…hmmm…need to work on that. Setting the example right? Well, thank you VERY much for giving me a giggle {the mini van door} and a reality check.

Sending happy thoughts to Ellie today…HUGS.

Galit Breen December 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

So very much love to both you, and Ellie. xo
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Kat December 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes because I was such a mess today. I sat and cried for a half and hour and I don’t know why. I just felt so overwhelmed. It was crazy. And I kept telling myself “you are so lucky! stop crying!”
I needed this post today. Both for the laugh (GREAT mall story- and I completely relate) and for the reminder that humor and gratitude are an immeasurable blessing.
Prayers for Ellie.
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Varda (SquashedMom) December 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Thanks for another soul-baringly honest and lovely post. Sending love to both of you… anti-anxiety love to you and anti-cancer love to Ellie.
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Carrie December 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm

This is wonderful. I struggle so much with anxiety & you are so right – the worst days are when I’m walking around mumbling things inside my head like ‘not fair’ and ‘so tired’ and ‘when will this baby stop crying and grow up’…etc. I never thought of it that way but you are so right. Thanks for sharing. :) I loved the comment about the loads of questions the boys had about the open door, lol – that would SO be my son. :)
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Jess December 23, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I have never experienced anxiety until this year- and out of the blue it’s hit- the tension, the insomnia, the worry . .. and it grows horns with negativity! You are so right- gratitude and humor- just gotta laugh. (And three kids at the mall?- Oh boy, I am both laughing and curling into a ball to hide just thinking about it!)
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Elaine December 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I’ve been thinking of Ellie a lot lately. I know you are such good friends and I know it hurts your heart to know she is going through this. I’m so glad you shared your mall/van story with her. We’ve left a door open for a while in a parking lot too, by the way. I blame the kids. ;)
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