Anxiety Archive

It’s just as well I’ve never pursued a corporate career. I just wouldn’t have the Lady Melons to deal with workplace dramas.

Due to being afflicted with the remnants of social anxiety, I have three settings when confronted both with normal conflicting agendas between individuals and also when dealing with rampant arseholery.

These settings are:

1. Doormat.

2. People Pleaser. (Lets just all get along)!

3. Postal!!

I’ve known the following individual and business person for eight months. We contracted her to choose furniture for our living room. We were sick of making bad decisions on our own so we rang in a professional designer. But she wasn’t very professional. It’s been a case of over promise and under deliver.

I realised our designer was overcharging us every opportunity she could get. All the the while smiling and making out like we were best friends. This afternoon I was left with no choice but to drop the rope:

Way to fire your designer via email:

“Dear Designer.”

1. “I am sorry you weren’t professional enough to resolve the freight issues with Hubby.”

(She invoiced us $3,000 for furniture that we could have had freighted for free from the internet. We wanted to ask her to reduce her delivery charge but she escalated quickly)

2. “Threatening us with Court has bought an end to this working relationship.” (Hubby was trying to find a middle ground. Designer tried to bully him by saying ¬†she’d take him to court if he didn’t pay the full amount. He asked her to leave. Then I¬†followed up with an email. See Point 1 above.

3. “Oh stop it. That’s Alligator tears.” (Every time I’d pull her up on something she’d play innocent then hurt. Then GPOTY. (Grandparent of the year with my children. )

Me: “Furthermore:”

“I disbelieve that you have ordered the linen and the lamps. ¬†You tried to bullshit my husband about me taking a while to choose the linen. I paid a deposit on the original six months ago and YOU advised me it wasn’t available any more so we had to re select another fabric.” (She tried to gaslight me. Manipulate facts to insinuate my judgment was off)

Me: “I appreciated we followed the Method¬†designing practice of climbing in bed together to ¬†channel the correct choice of fabrics and the right down weighting for our climate.
It was lovely chanting OM and holding hands. Especially since I lack a Mommy Figure since emigrating to America.”

“I am also sure your design credentials¬†are impeccable.” (She went to a Scandinavian design school. She may have¬†graduated with a diploma in Muppetry)

Me: “However:”

“At every turn there has been delay after delay. The lack of follow up caused multiple delivery trips and this resulted in the freight blow out. 3000!”

“The lack of professionalism was not limited to bad project management. At one stage you tried to double invoice us.” You shocker.

She did. I got two $10,000 invoices and she tried to tell me I was wrong until I presented her with the cold hard evidence from our bank account.

I finished with:

“We are reasonable people so we will settle on the following compromise:

Keep the deposit on the lamps and the linen to offset your excessive freight costs. We have no proof or faith that you have ordered the aforesaid items and no wish to re litigate matters any further.”

“However if you wish to revisit these issues in any other forum we will be more than happy to present our side. As long as it’s in the People’s Court.”

Boss Lady

Boss Lady

“Furthermore. Keep the shonky table. We’ll replace it from Bed Bath and Beyond at half the price.”

Best

Enlightened Housewife.

 

Enlightened Housewife.  Ladling out the advice and speaking my mind since 2012. When I emigrated to America and had to fit in.  Before that I was a pussy.

Enlightened Housewife.
Ladling out the advice and speaking my mind since 2012. When I emigrated to America and had to fit in.
Before that I was just a pussy.

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Social Anxiety. A have a sister who I swear doesn’t suffer from it. I know lots of politicians and journalists who lack it.

Sarah Palin doesn’t have a smidgen:

She outrages us because she lacks  social anxiety. Bless her boots . Don't be standing on the dogs Sarah.

She outrages us because she lacks social anxiety. Bless her boots. Don’t be standing on the dogs Sarah.

But most of the rest of us have experienced this condition at one time or another.

I’m relieved I’m over it for the most part.

I’m told as a young child I was shy. At elementary school I had lots of friends. The first time I experienced social anxiety was when moving schools during my middle school years. We relocated and that entire car journey I spent my time thinking:

“Will they like me will they like me will they like me”?

Ah. Middle School Anxiety. Think how many friends I made at my new school radiating that low level paranoia!

One! She ditched me after three weeks when her best friend came back from vay cay. She was kind enough to inform me why she was dropping me:

“So and so is back from Australia now. So we’re not going to hang out any more, kay”?

What choice did I have? I took refuge in the entire works of Daphne Du Maurier and Jane Austin and it was fine, really.
I was always kind of a Breakfast Club type of student right through my High School years. Whether we were geeks, jocks or cheerleaders, we all ended up matey in year 13. We all suffered and looking back it was a necessary process to navigate the politics of adult life.

Then I met my husband in college and everything was awesome from then on right? 

No! Fuck no! Shortly after I met future hubby we dropped out of college. We spent some months couch surfing at our respective parents houses. Then we decided to haul our raggedy asses back to college for a second attempt. My 16 year old brother moved in with us and we all underwent a collective angst.

This was Dunedin, New Zealand in the 1990’s. It was settled by the Scottish.

The Glasgow of the Southern Hemisphere.

An awesome place to be unless you’re in a dark place, right? We moved into a condominium sandwiched in between a halfway house and a¬†guy dealing smack. We kept¬†away from both. We knew not to get too experimental. We were having enough trouble keeping a grip on reality as it was.

The 20 year old brain is extremely plastic. Unless you’re distracted by work or are intensely involved in your studies, it can be a perpetual state of Manic Depression. When we were up we were up. When we were down we would sit around in a group rocking; wondering when it would all stop, please. With someone in the condo below us playing Alanis Morrisette at full volume.

We moved out, we moved on. We grew up. We got jobs.

Hang in there it gets better!

Enlightened Housewife. Asking the hard questions since 2001. Except when I was pregnant and my brain was mush.

Enlightened Housewife. Asking the hard questions since 2001. Except when I was pregnant and my brain was mush.

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The worst side of anxiety is the watery bowels effect the condition can cause. I became aware about the age of twelve that if I had a crush on someone I could only be around them if there was a nearby bathroom.

In fact that is how I realised I had a crush. I particularly remember the epic time I was caught short down the back of a farm.

All of sudden the farmer’s grandson who I’d innocently played with last summer had this AMAZING taste in music. He introduced me to Fleetwood Mac. He drove a car. When he broke out a Mad Magazine one particular day I¬†felt the first stirrings of ….. A sudden urgent need.

I fled to the general proximity of what we called the toilet paper tree. Big green leaves that could be used as… you guessed it.

And as my insides clenched I reflected.

Mostly on how awesome it was our farming friends ran a dairy farm. With big friendly poopy cows. No one would ever have to know.

The second time this happened I wasn’t so lucky. I took refuge in a wax tree. The wax tree is a member of the poison ivy family. It ¬†caused a painful rash on my buttocks.

And ended my first crush. It was was far too painful and embarrassing to be in love.

A New Zealand jersey cow. Friendly, docile and poopy.

A New Zealand jersey cow. Friendly, docile and poopy.

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I’m doing a series of posts on the cheery topic of anxiety to herald in the New Year.

I was twelve when I had my first full on panic attack. I didn’t establish this date stamp until recently. I had pegged myself to be around the age of eight. I guess eight was how ‘old’ I felt in my head.

Turns out I was a hormonally sensitive tween. It was 1986. There was a disaster at the nuclear power plant Chernobyl.

My precocious friend ¬†Alana cornered me at school. “Do you know,” she said. There’s been a nuclear power plant accident in the Ukraine. Deadly nuclear fallout is going to drift all the way down to New Zealand.”

Perhaps my friend¬†Alana¬†was exhibiting a ¬†journalistic nose for news. When you’ve got a breaking story¬†the imperative¬†is to share to an audience. Verifying sources and fact checking can come secondary to the urge to share.

Alter this pronouncement; Alana went home to her parents who had recently converted from Catholicism to Buddhism.

She had this past year also enlightened me to the actual nature of Santa Claus. I went home to an acute state of misery.

The next two days were an internal monologue of, “when am I going to die, ” and”I’m so scared.” I was asked what was wrong by my worried Mom. My stomach and tongue were so twisted in knots that I¬†couldn’t tell her. She finally drew it out of me and I started to feel better. I believe it was then I got the card. “Welcome to Anxietyville, Have a nice day!”

I wonder how many Cold War era basket cases there are out there. I am certainly one of them.

Dealing with anxiety in childhood comes down to three things.

1. Genetic set point. I was never a bullet proof child. I tended to worry about random stuff even before the onset of panic attacks.

2. Exposure to events that might cause an overly anxious reaction. As a parent we can ¬†be aware that they may be having internal reactions that We can’t wrap our children in cotton wool but I’m careful to check in with them.

3. Management of anxiety by parents. Sometimes kids look older than they are. I don’t over share. They’re going through a totally different life experience than I am ¬†and I may not be able to judge their maturity level. I have a conflict of interest as a parent.

The panic attacks continued sporadically throughout my early childhood. Any prediction of the end of the world would set it off. There was some inane prediction by ¬†freaks channeling Mother Shipton that set me off around 1990. ¬†But everything else was mostly normal until I moved schools. Then came the rounds of social anxiety. More than mere shyness. I am an extrovert. I love social situations. I had lots of friends in my early school years and have lots of friends now. ¬†But due to whatever factors were at play (hormones, recent parental break up, I would suffer. I would go into a new school situation and be paralysed. I wouldn’t speak. I’d desperately want to make friends but I wouldn’t speak. ¬†And not being able to speak severely limits your ability to make friends.

Who’da thunk?

So I learned to self medicate by the age of sixteen. The usual suspects for us¬†Gen X teenagers.¬†Wine (casked); beer; ¬†rum. I developed ¬†a good posse of friends which was awesome. ¬†I took the misbehavior all a bit far in my late teens and early years of college. But it didn’t matter if¬†I burned off the odd flatmate because I was able to talk again and write. My anxiety would reoccur periodically. I’d go and talk with a doctor. They’d ask me how much I drank. I’d lie and life would move on.

I met a couple of people who had a huge influence on my internal state. I was a housekeeper at a motel and made friends with the head housekeeper who was just a few years older than me. She would curse¬†and¬†speak her mind. And she was so funny. We would be in fits as we folded sheets together. We’d finish work and hang out and she’d tease me and I’d relax. She was like the older sister I never had.

I met the deadlocked hippy who was my future husband.

Call it Oxytocin or “Love at first sight” ; the rare combination of Brains (we were College dropouts) and Aspiration (we had none; we were hippies) drew us together. It turns out we’d experience the future ups and downs of life together.

I’ll split this post out into two¬†shortly

 

I realized this year, mainly through others honest discussions, that we all have something. Call it anxiety; depression; the human condition. We’ll go to any lengths to hide it but we’re all suffering from it!

Crazy crazy us! If you’re an anxious teen or prone to anxiety; hang in there. It always gets better. And never underestimate the power of a laugh or a cuddle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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