I visited with my new doctor on Friday. All I needed was a refill on my anti-depressant. He was rather brash, hardly professional, and I kind of wanted to ask him if he was my real doctor, though I knew the powers that be in this insurance-driven establishment would only laugh and say I had a great sense of humor. So I didn’t feel entirely bad when my kids scribbled with pen on his exam table.
Anyway, he had to ask some pertinent questions for a person wanting psychotropic meds, and one was, “Are you seeing a therapist?”
“Oh, I haven’t since I moved here, so I probably should find someone to go to, but I feel like a lot of my stress is pretty situational (I’m watching two of my children obliterate his stock of purple gloves). Do you have someone in mind?”
Of course, he has a well-stocked answer for that, and I am told to make an appointment through the all-knowing receptionist, whose friendships with every person in front of me seem to be deep and in need of a lot of reconnection. By the time I reach the front of the line and ask to schedule an appointment with my stock therapist, I just ask for a phone number and escort my children to the elevator where they may push buttons at their leisure. They had been playing “jungle” with the lobby plants, so I’m doing the world a huge favor by skipping the stairs in favor of a responsive elevator. One more Ficus tree lives to fight another unusually warm autumn day in Colorado.
After enduring five attempts (the final one successful) to get a blood sample from my arm for monitoring another health condition, my unruly children and I head home while I try to pretend that I am not feeling anxious. Being stabbed a few times more seemed like child’s play compared to what I had coming
You see, I had a phone interview with a near-stranger in two hours, and I was about to tell “my story.” I didn’t even know what my story was, so how was I going to tell it? And being an introvert, I tend to avoid phone conversations. There is something about not knowing what is happening on the other end of the line (are they answering my questions of their own free will, or are they under duress? Did someone just piece together the components of a smashed up landline unit and make a desperate call to my cellular phone, placing me between certain death and possible escape? Or are they throwing darts at a picture of my face while telling me how awesome they think I am?) It’s weird, but I get antsy about phone calls.
I breathe and positive-affirmation my way to the interview and find that talking to an adult about “my story” was like free therapy. And in it, I discover that my entire life has been drenched with anxiety. I used to just think that I had a lot of anxiety-inducing elements in my life, but in listening to myself, I realized I was the common denominator here. It didn’t matter what my schooling situation had been, what my roommates were like, how my family treated me, or what my daily battles were, I felt anxious.
And this brings me to the point of my blog. I am not fun. I have been, at times, I think. I remember occasionally being spontaneous, particularly in one phase of high school and during my first year at BYU when I was trying to break away from the stress and pressures I always felt to be the best I could be. Fun seemed like a superfluous pursuit, something I needed to sacrifice if I wanted to be successful.
Now that I am a parent, I wish more than ever that spontaneity and being able to unwind felt second-nature to me. I don’t drink, so that one’s out. I don’t really have time for a therapist. I’m going to the dentist tomorrow, and he and I usually have a fairly humorous and “ain’t that the truth?” conversation in which I mostly agree with him while trying not to drool, so that will have to suffice on the “talking through it” front.
Instead, I’m going to do more of what I did on Friday night, after my interview. I am going to live that stupid phrase I see scrawled on inspirational wall hangings: “Live, Laugh, Love. I might even try out “Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”
I am going to dance like no one is watching.
So pardon me while I go break loose…and pretend my kids aren’t watching in horror.