Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The comforts of home

I have always been an anxious person. I remember that when I was in elementary school an event like a field trip was enough to give me an upset stomach for a week.

I hate the unknown.

I love structure and routine and sameness.

For example, I am still using the same digital camera I have been using for going on 10 years now, a 2 megapixel camera, I hate the idea of having to get a new television remote, I wear the same shoes every.single.day.
This whole year for me? Not at all routine or comforting or "same".

And it's all starting to really get to me.

The anxiety keeps me up at night. My old standby remedies are no longer working. Between all the stress and pressure and anxiety and sleeplessness I am starting to feel like I might blow my top at any given moment.
I would take a prescription drug, really I would (and have before), but I am still hoping for another baby.

Yesterday everything started to boil over.

Finally some portions of grandpa's estate are settled and that means I am close to that part being over.

Except I am still anxious as all get out.

Because it means moving for us.

Leaving the comforts of our little house here.

Embarking on a giant renovation project.

Moving into my grandparent's house.

This stuff is so hard for me. And I still feel pretty raw emotionally about the loss of my grandfather.

It's really hard on Jack too, who is so very much me like it seems.

I think of you all as friends. Perhaps you have some words of wisdom? A useful way to help relieve racing heart anxiety? Ways to help kids deal with all of their worries about moving house?

With any luck our lives will be settled down again after Christmastime, but that seems pretty far away, doesn't it?

Now I must click publish before I lose the nerve...

(The quilt is another I recently picked up. It's baby/kid sized and a rather simple pattern, but perhaps if you look closely at the enlarged photos you can see that she has hand quilted baby chicks into the white squares. They are sideways in the photos. I happen to think it makes this quilt *extra* special.)


  1. Sarah, I wish I could offer you some wonderful words of wisdom to make all of your anxiety go away. But I can't. I thrive on change. I love the unknown and the thrill of a new adventure. Personality differences such as ours are what make the world so interesting!
    Take everything one day at a time, find comfort in the fact that you friends all over the world who are thinking of you and sending you peaceful, calming thoughts & do your best to try to take a few moments out of each day to relax. Find something you can do *everyday* with Jack. Make a new "tradition" or routine to look forward to every.single.day. Until your world can calm down. You and Jack are both very very strong and together, you guys can (and will) get through this trying time. I'll be thinking of you!!

  2. Christmas isn't really that far away - it's nearly September and then you only have a few months until December - the time will fly. I find I can get on with things more if I tackle each little thing at once - even if it is just something small like emptying the dishwasher. If I think 'big picture' it all gets a little overwhelming and I find myself doing nothing at all. Also have you tried Bach Rescue Remedy - tastes awful but it has helped me in the past.

  3. I have been having those days a lot lately. There is talk about moving the business I run across country. Talk about anxiety! All I can do right now is breathe, laugh often, try not to cry, and hug my kids. I am thinking about you!

  4. I'd suggest Paxil, but you mentioned trying to get pregnant! Otherwise, yoga really helps me. Friends who understand and will listen. Prayer and remembering those who have it much worse than I do. Faith in a God who always makes new life out of death (literal and figurative). And, believe it or not, knitting and crafting. It helps to think about something else and to feel good about the creative process. Remember the other hard times you've gotten through. Things always do get better with time.

  5. My best piece of advice is to keep a running to-do list, with all the things that need to get done (big and small). Rewrite it as often as you need to. If the big tasks seem too daunting, chop up them into little sub-tasks. Every day, try to accomplish just one thing on the list. More than one is great, but just one is fine too. Eventually, you'll see progress, and feel less anxious about your move. Acknowledge the anxiety, but just do what needs to get done, one bit at a time.

  6. Schnookums, I have always had anxiety. I wish I could zap it away for you. I'm both: when I'm feeling good, I crave jumping and running. But mostly, I feel like you do. I love routine. My son falls apart without it, honestly.
    Zoloft helps a lot. A WHOLE lot. Also, crafting is self regulating, which is why I am always always ALWAYS either knitting, spinning, or sewing.
    FAITH is a great thing.
    Try to think of your comfort zone in a different way... like there is sameness in the morning routines, and there is sameness in what you do at night. You've been through so much, it isn't far fetched that you'd feel as you do now. ((hugs))
    I can totally relate to having the nerve to hit the button. :o) But you did the right thing.

  7. Change is never a good word in my book either. Moving to a new house caused my son terror when he was 4. After weeks of worry we finally realized he thought he had to leave his bed, his toys, everything and move into a totally empty house.

    Thinking about where you'll put all your treasures in the new house would be a fun game each night before bed . . . for both of you. A peaceful moment with giggles and glee about the future. It certainly couldn't hurt.

  8. All your fab finds are killing me! Moving sucks!!! Try to think of it as an adventure and focus on the fun stuff like decorating the new place and the fact that you will be making new memories in your grandparents house with your family. I am freaking about our big move coming up, so not prepared and it is only a couple of months away! EEEk, heart palpitations thinking about it! Kids are amazing and adjust really quickly, it has been so much more difficult on Chad and I. My eldest daughter is sad that we are moving. Jack will be fine especially with a great mama like you:)

  9. Lay all your cares and anxieties at Jesus' feet, trusting fully that God as already planned out your life perfectly. Every bump in the road and every sharp turn WAS mapped out for you to lead you to a perfect destination. Believe that God loves you and wants what is best for you (even though it doesn't seem like the best thing at the moment).

    I really love reading the writings of those who have experienced hardships and how they managed to get through those rough times. There is an especially lovely devotional compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman that may very well inspire you and comfort your hurting heart: Streams in the Desert. You can also view the devotional free online. ;)

  10. Moving is hard. Especially on kids but at least you'll be going someplace familiar and Jack is at a good age to understand. I made a huge mistake of not talking to my son about moving because i didn't think he'd even notice and the issues he has/anxieties etc came at that exact time. He was only 20 months. So....my only piece of advice is to talk to him a lot about it.

    For your own there's always homeopathic which is okay when pregnant or trying to get pregnant, chamomile 30 is something i sometimes use.

    That's a very cute quilt.

  11. You certainly have had a rough year. And now a move, which is huge for you guys, I'm sure. I'm a worrier, and suffer from anxiety too. I had panic attacks for a few years, which actually had me afraid to leave the house for a while. The problem that was causing the attacks is gone, and I don't have them anymore, but once in a great while something will trigger it, but I can talk myself down. I tell myself that everything will be ok, that this will pass. When I worry about things, I pray. I'm not some religious freak, but I do pray on things that are troubling me, and then it's in God's hands. He may not answer me the way I want. Then I take it as a challenge. Sarah, you KNOW, deep in your heart, that this will all work out. And Jack will be fine too. You're a good Mom, so how could he not?! It's just a big bump in the road. And I agree with Evelyn. Lists help me keep my sanity! Even if you only cross off one thing a day, you know that you've accomplished something. Hang in there. One day at a time. Don't borrow trouble. That's another thing I tell myself, because I'm a good one for always expecting the worst!
    We're all here cheering you on!

  12. Sarah, I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all solution, but like all challenges it is easier to approach in small bites. The one day at a time approach seems to work for me when I get all anxious about stuff that is looming out there in front of me. Most times I find that I stress about stuff that never comes to pass, and not that I'm closer to the end of my life than the beginning, I regret that I spent so much time worrying about stuff that never amounted to much.
    How wonderful that you will get to live in your grandpa's house where you have such sweet memories. It will all come together and remember that you're not carrying the load alone.
    You've got your honey, and you have your buddies here in blogland.

  13. We have been "snake bit" this whole year too, financially and job-wise for my husband. I hate it but know it is just a low spot, a phase, a passing thing. We now have a plan for getting things dealt with and that helps. Even so, I did have tears Friday night as we discussed "things". Sigh.

    Routine and structure are nice but change is good too, its how we grow! That being said, we have lived in our current house for almost 8 years, over half the life of my oldest child and since the baby was just 16 months old. She's known no other home. I can see how difficult it would be for all of my kids to have to move now. Jack will adjust. He's young enough not to have a ton of friends to leave behind. Make it an adventure! He'll get to choose the color of his walls and help in other ways. It will be exciting!! Just address his worries as honestly and positively as you can. He'll be fine!

    For real, what helps me with my GAD/PD is walking. I go almost every day to a local wooded trail and walk at least 1.5 miles. Also, SAM-e or even 5HTP helps with stablizing mood. I take L-Theanine to help calm me, it works on brain waves to calm without dulling(like xanax does). Andrew Weil has some breathing exercises that really do help with focusing and relaxing. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html

    Hope you are stress-less soon!


  14. Everyone has good ideas. I hope they will be useful for you. I agree that yoga is great for calming down--and if you do it enough, you begin to take that calmness with you when you leave the mat.

    You have a lot on your plate. I think I would try to visualize "where" you're going--your family living in your grandparents' home, everything is settled and you are all at peace. Having that as a goal may help you get through rough patches.

    At the same time, try to keep your "worry energy" focused on just the small task in front of you.

    I'll keep you in my thoughts.

  15. A simple idea that helps me get through with anxious times is going for walks. Fresh air and exercise can't be beat. Good luck with your move.

  16. Anonymous6:08 PM

    I wish I had some words of advice but I could do with some right now myself. Try to involve Jack with moving and get him excited, tell him about his new room etc. Ash him what he thinks he might want it to look like etc. Change is scary at times but it can also be wonderful.

  17. I think moving is the number one stress inducer EVER! If you decide to go for it (and I think you should!) make a list and make it manageable. Seeing all your stuff in your house makes you think you CAN'T begin to think about it...but it IS doable and Jack can be a big part of it.
    As far as your current anxiety....I think if you "have a plan" then it will become more manageable!

  18. ((Hugs)) I have had an anxious year myself. I have found that getting out of bed, having a few almonds or a cheese stick and a small drink of water and then going in to the den to watch TV helps. I like the late night TV on ABC. There is news lite and the human interest stories are good. After a few minutes of that I usually fall asleep. Hardly ideal, but laying in bed just makes me more anxious.

    I have also enjoyed the sense of order found in feng shui.I am not sure what I "believe" in this area, but the cleaning and the ordering helped me feel more in control at different times. I *love* the book Move Your Stuff Change Your Life." Simple and practical ideas.

  19. i am not so good at changes either, but for me the anxiety-inducer is having to make big decisions. or even small decisions sometimes. i worry that i will make the wrong choice. moving will be hard, but i hope that your grandfather's place will soon become home again.
    i will be thinking about you! (and good luck with the trying-again... it took us a while to get past the miscarriages and feel like maybe a second child was possible).
    i like the suggestions people gave - and revisiting some of your favorite finds for the internet is probably therapeutic as well!

  20. Oh, and moving and kids... JT did surprisingly well with our move. We read a lot of books about moving and involved him in various projects (measuring rooms, letting him take pictures of the new and old place, etc.) and he also got to ride in the front of the moving truck, which he loved. we had a therapist's number on standby in case we needed it, but he surprised us. i think being allowed to help pick out the paint/decorations for his room helped (although i vetoed the neon red and green he wanted).

  21. Oh boy - moving house one of the biggies! If you are a person who likes routines make sure that with all the changes that are going on that you and your wee boy have some routines or rituals that remain untouched and use these as a little oasis of clam to get through the rest of the day. It may be taking 15 minutes out for a cup of tea and a quiet read at a set time or going for a walk at the beginning or the end of the day. I find walking helps alot. good luck.

  22. What helps me when I feel overwhelmed or stressed, is to take a deep breath. I also find that reminding myself not to regret what happened in the past or to worry about something in the future, but to just live and be aware of today and the moment. It helps, but I'm still a huge worrier and I to, hate CHANGE! So know there are others who feel the same way you do:)! -Ingrid

  23. If you need help packing I am available :) Just remember that change can be soooo good.

  24. Anonymous12:03 PM

    I agree with the walking. Get out if you can to a park or some place totally different. If not just go walking and as slow as you go , pay attention to all the wildflowers blooming, the shape of the leaves, the birds in the air, the smells of everything blooming. If you don't have a porch swing...make sure to get one and spend some time just swinging your cares away...feet off the ground and eyes closed....aaaahhhhhh, soothing. A glass of cold tea or lemonade. Sip it slowly and don't get up till you are completely done with it. Take time to rest.

  25. Gosh I wish I has words of wisdom, but I do have a (((((Hug))))) Clarice

  26. I dont have any advice, but I really hope you feel better soon.

  27. I have also been a lifelong anxiety sufferer. While I do take medication, I've also been learning and practicing Emotional Intelligence. This is generally brought up in corporate/workplace settings, but I've been getting a lot out of it. Check out Bradberry & Greaves, The Emotional Intelligence Quickbook.

    Above all, just remember that you *will* get through this one way or another. It's your choice how you accomplish these necessary tasks.


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