Self-Checkout Line

It’s been a hard week. Inexplicable sadness. Despair over my never-ending depression. Unwanted thoughts. 

I decided on Sunday that I needed to make a change in my medication. Rather then go up yet again, I decided to drop it 5mg in case it was too high. No verdict out on if this is better or worse.

With my sister and her toddler visiting since late Monday night , I have had almost constant company. This is nice, considering that she is my sister and therefore allowed in my introvert bubble. Despite this, all of Tuesday I was in a haze of depression. Energyless. The thoughts continued. Only when I was able to attend my watercolor class that evening was I able to feel myself coming out of it. Of course the dread is still there, but I can bear with it now.

The same can’t be said about anxiety. Just yesterday at Wal-Mart with my sister and the kids I had a minor anxiety attack over the stupidest of things. My sister decided to use the self-checkout line. I typically avoid this, but decided that I may as well follow. We each had a handful of items. 

Then I remembered why I avoid the self checkout. “Item not bagged,” blared the machine. It was right, I had not been able to bag the box of emergency-chocolate-stress-cookies in time because the grocery bags would not separate. Dear Son leaning against the weight-sensative platform probably didn’t help the matter though. Unsure of how to fix it without looking like I was trying to shop lift, I cancelled the item. After a moment the guy in the back, who must have witnessed my struggle, allowed the computer to follow through with this action. Okay. Annoying.  Stressful.  Stupid. 

After removing DS again from the platform, I scanned my knock-off Girl Scout cookies yet again. “Item not Bagged.” “Unexpected item in the bagging area.” I turned to find DS sitting on the platform. I don’t know if this was the cause of the error or just a coincidence but my stress level shot through the roof. I was sick of my kid not listening to me. Sick of the stupid, useless machine not working and the bags sticking together and the baby choosing now to start crying. 

I could feel it. The creeping beginnings of an anxiety attack. Because of an unexpected item in the bagging area.

Nope. I wasn’t going to deal with that crap. Away I pulled the cart, turning without so much as canceling my order, and sped to the nearest manned checkout line. 

… which had a woman whose credit card wouldn’t work. For what felt like five minutes I took deep breaths as I tried to be patient and keep DS from putting his germy little hands over all the impulse-buy toys and candy. In and out. Why did it upset me so much? In and out. The other lines were opening up but all my stuff was already on the conveyer belt. In and out. Surely this woman would find a way to pay soon. In and out. I can’t see my sister anywhere. In and out.

At last it was my turn. The cashier asked if I was okay, having noticed my deep breaths. I was that obvious.

Why? Why, body? 

Am I really to be cursed with this nonsense for the rest of my life?
This new med change had better help. 

Juggling on Fire

I read a blog recently where a mother admonished others for scaring parents of one how difficult having two is. Her claim was that people say it’s 200% harder than one, while it’s more like 150%. Okay. 

She had a point. The routine baby stuff is easy peasy the second time around. And yes, it’s always annoying to be told how easy you have it now and how much more difficult things are going to be. But…

The article, more than anything, made me feel jealous. 

Parenting a clingy baby that needs a diaper change every five minutes and hyper, extroverted kindergartener obsessed with said clingy baby while dealing with both the mental and physical symptoms of chronic depression and anxiety… feels a bit like juggling twenty balls while frying tacos all the while on fire.

It’s hard. I don’t necessarily mean the diaper changes and chores and being woken every night between three and four. Though that has its toll. I mean the sheer exhaustion of depression. The lack of motivation to do anything. The anger that comes from post-partum depression. The anger that comes from your kid tearing up the house while trying to get the baby to nap and dozing off yourself because you’re so darn tired. The guilt and feelings of worthlessness because your kids deserve a better parent. 

It’s hard.

Things I Worry About

I worry about a lot of dumb things.

There are the usual fears: Dying without finishing a book. That my husband resents me for my obnoxious mental health issues. Wasps.

 

But then there are the ridiculous things.

I worry about what other drivers will think if they see me turn on my headlights when I’m already driving. I try to time turning it on to when no oncoming traffic can be seen and no one is directly in front of me.

I worry about taking too long to pick out a new brand of spaghetti sauce. Does that person nearby on the aisle want to pick something out too? Am I in their way? Do I look ridiculous? Maybe I should come back later and decide then…

I worry if my husband takes five minutes longer than usual to get home that means he’s in a car wreck.

If that friend of mine in high school still remembers that stupid and mean thing I said out of curiosity in like… 9th grade.

What my online friend will think of me if I suddenly start talking to him again after practically months of silence.

Why I’m still browsing the Facebook marketplace for Lego sets.

 

You know, dumb things.

 

 

Psychology & Personality

There is only one non-creative career that I’ve truly had any interest in. The trouble is, I’m certain it would destroy me.

No, that is not hyperbole.

It probably started around the time I realized I suffered from chronic depression. Learning more about it and coming to understand just how many people suffered from the same disease sparked an interest. Both mental illness and psychology as a whole are fascinating. My mother always did think I’d make a good doctor, though I’m not sure what my pain tolerance has to do with it. But I think she was right in a way. I could have been a good psychologist; if taking other people’s problems on didn’t completely wear down my well-being and damage it in a very permanent sort of way.

Its possible the interest goes back further. My mother kept a copy of Taylor Hartman’s The Color Code in the house. As a preteen I found the book not only fascinating, but a little self-validating. The personality test included divided people by their primary motivations. Power (Red), Intimacy (Blue), Peace (White), or Fun (Yellow). Most members of my family, myself included, fell strongly into one category and I learned, through time, to appreciate the positives of all four colors. If you’re curious of your own color, they do have a free online test here, though I highly recommend reading the whole book if you really want to get to know your color and how it relates to others.

Of course a four-color personality spectrum is rather simplistic, but the book made a lot of good points and it was mildly amusing to see the paragraphs of text highlighted by my mother that must have been made in her attempts to understand my dad.

These days I’m a much bigger fan of the Myers-Briggs test but I’ll write more on that later.

My point is, I find it fascinating. Personality. What drives us. How different people can relate to different people. Then throw in intense struggles like Anxiety and Depression and every person, myself included, becomes both a puzzle and a work of art.

Perhaps all this is why creating characters is my favorite aspect of writing.