25 February 2010


I don't like to think about the big picture. Allow me to explain. I have these amorphous ideas of my children going through school, attending college, becoming functional adults of American society. I have these images of the Ty-man and I taking the kids to Yellowstone on an insane family vacation, playing at the beach, helping kids with homework, bouncing grandchildren on our knees.

But, overall, I keep the big picture at bay. Because for me, that big picture always leads to death. Mine, Ty's, kids, my mom, my friends, everyone. Going there opens the door wide for my panic attacks.

I pretty much deal with this anxiety every day. Even though investigating the paranormal has cut down on the attacks quite a bit, I still find myself going down the forbidden path. Now, though, instead of wondering how I will die, my mind grabs hold of Will the kids be OK when I'm gone? or I couldn't live if my children died before me. or How would I take care of the kids without Ty? I think about the what-ifs and the could-bes and I get so overwhelmed.

To combat this, I think about the little things. I need to wash these four dishes and these three cups. There are two shirts that must be ironed. I have a section of blackwork I want to work on. Should take me 15 minutes. Tomorrow, I'll go to the grocery store. This weekend, I'll get the kids set up with a craft project. I can only mentally plan a week in advance. Oh, sure, I make dentist appointments six months out and we register the kids for school in February each year. We even have a college fund set up. Woo hoo!

But me? Personally? I can't think that far ahead. I have to look at the little tiny details of my day. If I focus on the tiny stitches of life's enormous tapestry, then I'm OK, I can deal. If I start to back up and take in the entire embroidery of my life, I get overwhelmed and panicky because there's so much I've done and so much I still have yet to do. I have no idea when the project will end and if people will admire it when it's all over.

It's too much.

So I just keep crouching over my stitches, counting as I go, hoping I won't have to pull out any knots.


sybil law said...

Oooooh, man, can I relate!! I am the same way. Years ago, I couldn't turn that portion of my brain off and had to get Xanax to help me sleep at night. I think it also might be why I'm a semi - control freak and anal about organization (not that you'd know it from the state of my house right now). Now, I just stop myself in whatever way possible from the neverending questions and busy myself with the things I can do, like you.
So - are you stitching that beautiful work on the pictures?! I love it.

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Staying in the present - actually a really healthy thing to do. And sometimes impossible for this blogger. I hear you Girlfriend.

That One said...

Look at that gorgeous blackwork! Show us more?

We should start a club - the Big Picture Avoiders Club.

Unknown said...

Hey - any time you need a HUG - you just let me know. And you've got the right idea ... don't worry about tomorrow. One way or another, it's gonna get here - so you just take care of today - the better you do with today, the better that tomorrow is going to be.

Not Afraid To Use It said...

Nice to see you have something small to focus on to balance out all the insanity that is raising kids. Sounds like it helps, and that is a good thing.

Little Mrs. Jonesss said...

Your project isn't over yet, but trust me, people already admire you! This is great advice that I need to keep in mind with some major decisions pending. I need to quit obsessing how my next few years will pan out and let happen what may!

Megan said...

Nothing freaks me out. Except the dying thing. I just prefer to not think about it. I can't. I don't think anyone should.

Logical Libby said...

I wish I were better at focusing on the present. My mind just spins out of control when I think about the big picture.

hello haha narf said...

i'm all about living in the now. so yeah, you won't hear an argument from me. in fact, i love that you found what works for you.

just do me a favor and know that even though there's so much you still have yet to do, some of us admire you now for who you are and what you are doing.

Avitable said...

I tend to get overwhelmed by both the details and the big picture simultaneously.

Momisodes said...

I could have written this post myself...only less eloquently.
But I have certainly been the same way as of late. Especially with labor to look forward in the weeks ahead, my mind can't help buy wander down these dangerous paths. So...I end up focusing on little tasks. Things to do around the house or to prepare before the baby arrives.

marty said...

I take the approach that I am dead and everything that happens doesn't relate to me.

Being dead gives you an excuse for not remembering birthdays, not sending cards, not giving gifts and not going to confirmations of children who you can't stand.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Sybil Law - When I'm awake, I stop the death thoughts with TV. Honestly. At night, if I wake up in a panic, I make up stories and put myself in the stories. That's the only way I can do it. And yeah, that's my blackwork. :)

Merrily - I try to stay in the present. Not always successful, but I give it the college try.

Tuli - As soon as I make more, I will!

LceeL - Hug? Please? :)

NATUI - Small things are awesome.

Little Mrs. Jonesss - Exactly. Just quit worrying about it because that actually makes what we were talking about worse! :)

Finn - I think that's how all us humans deal with it.

Logical Libby - My spinning is controlled with mindless TV or romance novels. I'll try to watch/read something positive and that helps immensely!

Hello Haha Narf - Thanks, hon! *Aw, shucks*

Avitable - Yikes! OK. You just need to focus in the middle somewhere. Or, screw it, let's just go to Disney World.

Coalminer - Let's make a pact to not think about it!

Momisodes - Oh, goodness. Pre- and post-partum hormones ALWAYS made this worse for me. Nesting helped.

Marty - Wait, I thought you lived in the Matrix?