Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chasing Normal

Every once in a while I’m sort of hit with the realization that I’m not doing a great job in the living normally department.  I get used to the way I live my life, it seems pretty average to me.  I actually forget the impact that my agoraphobic tendencies have on our situation.  So I guess I should say I also forget the whole family is not doing a great job in the living normally department because of my problems.  It really is crazy how normal mental illness feels when it's your baseline.  It's awesome that we live in a time when not normal is embraced, where weird is good, and the geeks are the cool ones.  But I'd rather be normal than nuts any day.  

This weekend, for the first time in months, I went to a location that wasn’t a preapproved “safe place” with Z and T.  Please let me repeat that.  For the first time since January I left the house with my family to go somewhere that wasn’t the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the therapist’s office, or walking distance from my front door.  Z really wanted me to go to the Farmers Market so we could pick out some veggie plants for our yard.  I mean, he really wants me to go every week, but this time he had a convincing argument.  He knew I'd want a say in what we were going to try to grow.  He even stayed home late on Friday morning to let me sleep in because going to the market would mean losing a sleep-in day for me.  And that was after he stayed home late on Thursday morning as a complete surprise so I could get extra sleep. 

I’m not sure how I managed to not chicken out, but I went.  Mother’s Day weekend is a big plant weekend at the Syracuse Farmers Market and even though we arrived just after 7:30am the place was humming.  By the time we left it was a madhouse.  Crowds are not my favorite thing during the best of times, and T is no longer content to hang in his stroller while we do our shopping, so it was pretty stressful.  I didn’t quite freak out, but I wasn’t terribly patient or pleasant to Z either.  And by the time we got back to our driveway I was shaking.  And frustrated.  And angry.   What can’t I do normal things?  Why is a stupid trip to the Farmers Market so fucking hard for me?  Why do I let myself get so discouraged when it doesn’t go perfectly, rather than be happy I was able to go in the first place?

The previous weekend Z and T zipped around town together doing various errands.  And I felt sad and left out.  Which is a great way to feel because it means I am tired of living the way I’ve been living.  For me feeling trapped is much better than feeling content about my situation.  I think that might have been part of what helped me get off of my ass and out the door on Saturday.  On Sunday afternoon Z took T to a barbeque for his graduating seniors.  It was hosted by a colleague of Z’s who lives about a half hour away.  Z really wanted me to go as well.  I felt like I was letting him down, but I just couldn’t do it.  If it was somewhere closer, more like 10 minutes away, I think I would have gone.  But the 30 minutes there and back was just too much especially considering how hard a simple Farmers Market trip turned out to be.    

I tried to spin it, I told myself I was lucky to have a couple of hours alone on Mother’s Day to watch crappy TV and take a nap.  There was even a House marathon on.  But it didn’t really work.  I felt trapped, I feel trapped, I know Z feels trapped.  How long will it be before T starts to realize his mom doesn’t leave the house like other moms?  I understand every weekend is a new opportunity to work on this stuff, but sometimes I feel so pissed that anxiety is often the ruling force in my life.  At times concentrating on the positive is too exhausting to manage.

OK, I don’t want to end in such a bleak place.  So how about this?  It’s easier for me to manage new places if I’m alone.  Last week I had a babysitter so I could run some glamorous SAHM errands like going to Target and I realized I was starving.  Major pregnancy hungry that needed to be addressed immediately.  I spotted a sushi restaurant and went.  Going out to eat alone used to be one of my favorite things.  It felt so amazingly normal and fantastic.  Pretty cool.  

This is cropped from a photo one of Z's students took at the BBQ and I'm not quite sure how to credit it because I don't know the photographer and I'm not sure she'd like her name in some random blog.  But it is my current favorite picture of the two of them.  T took his Daddy's hat off and got it onto his head all by himself.  Man, do I love my boys.

T's come up with a new peek a boo game. 

He doesn't get how sheer the drapes are. 

      If you go to our Farmers Market on Sunday it is a Flea Market and you can score an awesome slide for $10.  It goes without saying that the boys made this trip without me.


  1. Just saying hello and that I love reading your blog. Your little one is precious, and every word you type about your anxiety resounds with me - we're quite similar in our types of anxiety it seems.
    Hang in there - I know what it's like to daydream that there will be a day when we DON'T over-analyze going places. I don't think it'll ever be quite that carefree, but as long as we continue to make baby steps and try to fight back against it, every time we do that - it's a success.


  2. Kelly, thank you so much. I wish you luck as you battle anxiety!