Tutoring session with a 5th grader…
Me: “Hey bud! What’s up?”
Kid: “I’m hanging on by a thread.”
Me: “Oh, man. I’m sorry to hear that. But you know what? I think everyone’s hanging on by a thread these days. I know I certainly am. It’s just becoming too much, you know? Waking up every morning and every day is pretty much the same, with very little to do to get our minds off the problems in the world right now. It certainly creates feelings of anxiety, wondering when and if any of this is ever going to get better. But just know you’re not alone in those feelings.”
Kid: “Wait what? I said I’m hanging out with Fred. My cat, Fred.”
Kid: “Are you ok?”
I’ve been doing a lot of solitary activities to manage my quarantine anxiety and I guess it’s become an issue because I just received this email from Eric:
Me: “Tomorrow is Daylight Savings and it’s going to be 67 degrees on Monday!!!”
My Seasonal Affective Disorder:
Therapist: “We’ve been talking about the importance of taking some time to meditate in order to relieve anxiety and practice mindfulness. How has that been going for you?”
Me: “Well, I do it every single day. No excuses.”
Therapist: “Really! That’s great! A lot of people find it very difficult to make time for it every day, so good for you.”
Me: “Yeah but I can’t say I’ve really noticed any benefits…”
Therapist: “That’s surprising. Tell me about the conditions while you’re meditating.”
Me: “So, ok, I know you’re really supposed to sit up, but honestly I prefer to lay. It’s much more comfortable for me.”
Therapist: “That’s fine. There’s no wrong way to do it. ”
Me: “That’s what I figured. Also, I prefer to do it at night because my days are a little too busy.”
Therapist: “Ok, that’s fine.”
Me: “Ok, so I lay down every night, I close my eyes, slow my breath and try to clear my head and all that, but I just end up falling asleep every time.”
Therapist: “Ok, so. That’s not meditating.”
Me: “It’s not?”
Therapist: “No. That’s just you getting into bed and going to sleep at night.”
Therapist: “Feelings are like the weather, in that they–.”
Me: “–can kill you.”
Therapist: “And how did that make you feel?”
Therapist: “Elaborate on that. Be more descriptive of the feeling.”
Me: “Shitty…like, the way a piece of shit on the ground probably feels.”
Last month we officially joined a Kiddie Gym, and I’ve been taking Nora there almost every day. Due to my social anxiety (which results in an inadvertent yet epic resting bitch face that I am completely oblivious to until a homeless man inevitably sees me on the street and screams “Smile, sweetheart! Life’s not so bad!”), for the first few weeks I pretty much kept to myself and probably wasn’t giving off the friendliest vibes to other moms.
Then today I decided that I’ve become more comfortable with the familiar faces and perhaps it’s time to try to be social and (gasp!) maybe even make a friend.
So this morning Nora was climbing the mats with a toddler boy who started getting a little rough, and his mom, who seemed pretty cool and normal and like someone I could totally be friends with, stepped in…
Boy’s Mom: “Nick, honey. Be gentle with the little girl. She’s just a baby!” (turns to me) “Sorry about that, he doesn’t know his own strength. We’re working on it.”
Me: “Oh, no worries at all! And it’s fine, Nora’s tough. I’m just impressed you knew she was a girl! Everyone always assumes she’s a boy.”
Boy’s Mom: “Oh, no, no! I’ll never make THAT mistake again!”
Me: “Oh did you think some short-haired baby girl was a boy and the mom had absolutely NO sense of humor about it?”
Boy’s Mom: “Yes…”
Me: <laughing> “Some people are just the worst.”
Boy’s Mom: “It was you. Last week.”
We didn’t become friends.
Speaking with a new mom I met in our building, who has a son around Nora’s age, I mention that as much as I’m completely in love with my daughter, I’ve definitely had some bumps along the way in adjusting to motherhood.
Her: “Ugh, I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with postpartum depression.”
Me: “Oh, you’re very sweet and I appreciate that so much, but I actually, very fortunately, have NOT had to deal with postpartum depression.”
Her: “Oh, my bad! I just thought from what you were saying…it sounded like a postpartum depression type thing.”
Me: “Oh, no. I actually was very nervous I’d have postpartum depression because I’m definitely at risk. But surprisingly I didn’t. What I’m talking about is just like normal parenthood transition stuff, you know?”
Me: “Maybe you DON’T know…”
Her: “I don’t know, I guess I just haven’t found the transition difficult at all. It’s really only brought me joy.”
Me: “Wow, that’s awesome. You’ve really never been totally overwhelmed? Or anxious about the huge responsibility of raising a human? Or even just like ‘AHHHH I miss my old life!?'”
Her: “Honestly, no. I love every second of it. Is that weird?”
Me: “I mean no, it’s amazing! Good for you. ENJOY IT!”
You lying cunt.
My therapist and I spend one full hour discussing motherhood, and my difficulty in finding balance in my life. We discuss strategies for coping with the mom-related anxiety. We talk about how to feel less overwhelmed by the huge responsibility of raising a child. We come up with a schedule that will allow me to spend quality time with Nora but still be able to do things for myself. We discuss the utter importance of carving out time to write, because writing provides immeasurable benefits to my mental health.
Therapist: “I’m glad we have a plan for you to find more balance. Motherhood can be hard, but you’re doing great. Now before the session ends, is there anything else going on that you think I should know about?”
Me: “Oh, yes– I stopped breastfeeding. So we’ll probably have to keep an eye on that, from a hormonal standpoint.”
Therapist: “Yes, definitely. And I think with stopping the breastfeeding, you’ll find you have a lot more time to do things for yourself, which will be wonderful.”
Therapist: “Is that why you decided to stop?”
Me: “Well, no, not exactly. It’s more that with all the crazy hormones that go along with breastfeeding, I really just wanted to get my body regulated again and back to baseline…”
Therapist: “I think that’s a great decision.”
Me: “…so we can have another kid.”
That moment when you come across your therapist’s Facebook profile, and realize she has a life outside of your sessions.