Who isn’t anxious around the holidays? They are stressful, even when everything should be fun, happy and not too crappy. Since having my child, I have found the holidays to hold that “magic”, once again. It has been nice, really nice. The last couple of years, not only have they had that magic, they have been very stressful.
I can find stress in anything, I really can. This Thanksgiving is no different. We are staying with my mother this week. She lives about forty minutes away. I still have to work, so I am commuting eighty minutes everyday. I enjoy the decompression time of the commute. I miss a good commute really, but I do not miss the cost of gas to get me there and back. Not only that, I am going home on my lunch breaks to feed the fish and to grab things I may have forgotten or that my child has requested I bring. Yesterday was my first day going home at lunch.
Leading up to lunch time, a horrible, freeze of anxiety fell over me. I felt like I was back in my postpartum depression days….it was that deep. I did not want to go home if my child and my dogs weren’t there. I imagined that going to an empty, quiet home would be much like none of the “noises” actually existed in my life. No child. No dogs. Nothing. They are my life and they are my center. My home is my center. I can’t imagine a life without. This stressed me out more than not having enough money to afford the kind of Christmas we deserve.
About six months after M was born, I hit a wall of depression and anxiety. It was a point when he began chomping on a few solid foods, like crackers or teething biscuits and he also became more mobile. This added to the already heaping pile of stress on me. I began going to groups and I confessed my deepest darkest thoughts. What if I was living an alternate reality? What if my child had choked on that cracker or cookie and he didn’t make it and he had died? What if I was living as if he did live and I was just really crazy, moving through my days as if he were alive and he really wasn’t? What if I was THAT kind of crazy? I mean, I had day and night dreams about it. I even thought that I had possibly accidentally drown him in the tub. I was stressed and my imagination was working overtime to keep up. I ended up taking Zoloft for about two months, I kept attending counseling and group sessions and I finally saw the light at the end of that tunnel. Things were clearing up, I was able to leave the house and the horrible dreams were gone; however, the clarity of the stress I felt had just began. I hated being married to the person I was married to. I thought he would be different when M was born. I thought he would shape up. Be a great husband and father. That never happened. He fell short, way short. But either way, I dealt with my stress then and I will deal with it now.
I am home sick even though I am only staying forty minutes away. During these times of stress, I just want to be home, in my comfort zone and in the center of the noise that is my life. Silence is golden, but the noise of my boy and those dogs are better than all of the gold in all of the world.