For many years now, it's been clear to me that I am more anxious than the average person. My close friends and family tell me all the time that my worries are not "normal" worries. My anxiety issues first became apparent with an increasingly debilitating fear of flying. This was a true problem when you consider that for 13 years, I worked full time at home for a company headquartered 300 miles away. Thus I was required to fly--often. It's my suspicion that juggling two full-time jobs and two kids for more than five years contributed to my anxiety disorder. I was living in constant fear of dropping one of the many balls I kept constantly in the air. People would say to me all the time, "I don't know how you do all that you do." I've decided my engine was fueled by worry. I used to have these images in my head of one of my kids sitting on a dark curb waiting for a ride that wasn't coming because Mom finally dropped one of the most important balls (this actually happened to one of my friends, so see, it CAN happen). I once BOLTED out of my house and literally FLEW George Jeston-style in the car to pick up my daughter, heart pounding, mouth dry, white knuckles, the whole nine yards. Only to realize, halfway through this crazy jaunt, that I would arrive more than an hour early--not 20 minutes late as I had feared. This was the result of a simple time-telling error that could happen to anyone, I said. Not true, my family assured me. This could only happen to you, they said. My kids have known for some time that Mom is a little crazy around the edges. This has never been more apparent since my daughter started driving, sending my anxiety into the red zone.
Coupled with my anxiety is an out-of-control superstitious streak. Trust me when I tell you, these two things make for a problematic combination. The superstition I can't help--I'm Irish, for crying out loud! I remember when I was a kid and my parents were leaving on a trip to London. My mom broke the mirror on their medicine cabinet, leading my father to rant for an hour, "If my father was alive, we'd be canceling this trip." So it's not my fault! I come by that part naturally. We are leaving on a rather ambitious vacation this week, and I went out of my way to avoid flying on Friday the 13th. I mean, come on, I have enough issues with flying without adding Friday the 13th to the mix. That's just unnecessary roughness! I woke with a start in the middle of the night recently, freaking out that instead we'd be flying over the North Atlantic on the anniversary of the Titanic disaster. My son disabused me of that notion (I was off by a few days), but not before I had a somewhat sleepless night imagining a second epic disaster occurring in April of '12. I can hear you all mumbling, "This chick is a mess." Trust me, I know!
I had a friend once who was as much of a mess as I am. We bonded over our disaster planning capabilities. I lived in Jacksonville, Florida at the time and a truck had recently driven off the Buckman Bridge. We spent countless hours dissecting that event and preparing for the possibility of it happening to us. How, we wondered, would we get two kids in car seats out of the car before it sank? Let me just say that had it happened to either of us, we were ready--readier than most people would ever be. For her birthday one year, I gave her the Worst Case Scenario Handbook, a gift that she said proved how well I knew her. She said it was one of the best gifts she'd ever gotten, until a week or so later when she called to blame me for a sleepless night because the book was full of horrors she'd never thought of. Needless to say, I didn't read much beyond "How to Survive an Alligator Attack," since that had real relevance when I was living in Florida.
It was my luck in life to give birth to two kids who aren't afraid of anything. They love to fly--the rougher the flight the happier they are (freaks). They love roller coasters and those carnival rides that look to be held together by duct tape. So while they are hurtling through the air on the tilt-a-whirl, I'm on the ground popping the Xanax, preparing for imminent disaster and praying for their safe delivery back to Earth. We were at the beach during a tropical storm two years ago and their father allowed them to BODY SURF in the crushing waves. I mean, SERIOUSLY? As they had some of the best fun of their young lives, I very nearly required electric-shock therapy to get past the trauma of watching my babies be pummeled by furious surf. Did I mention their father is also a fearless freak? Both my kids have expressed interest in skydiving, rock climbing, hang gliding, mountain climbing and other extreme sports that I am better off not knowing about. My response to those interests is always the same, "You'll have plenty of time to do all that when I'm gone." They ask if I have a time table for my departure so they can prepare for the "fun years." LOL! Brats!
It's been brought to my attention that I might benefit from anxiety medication. I have some. I'm too afraid to take it.
Am I alone in being an anxious freak show? Please tell me I'm not!