Life Anxiety: I’m Still Here

Life anxiety makes me feel like we’re being shot out of a cannon after waiting in the barrel for a million years.

We’ve been working so long on getting the house ready to sell that it felt endless. I started believing I was in purgatory. With a few forays into hell. Spilling the gallon of paint on the floor is still hard to think about.

Turns out, when you work your ass off for months, you do begin to see progress.

We still have a shit ton to do, but we’ve downgraded from a fuck ton of work. I am hoping to winnow the work down to a crap ton by next Monday.

We plan on listing our house in mid April. It’s likely that the house will sell fast. Perhaps, in a matter of a few days.

Holy fucking shit, you guys. Holy shit.

We have to find a place to buy and maybe find a temporary place to live.

Of course, there is the work anxiety.

I have an upgrade to do on our credit card system and feel like I am inching toward the guillotine every day. Sunday night is when I die a slow, horrible, painful death. You would anxiousthink death by guillotine would be quick and painless, but no. My guillotine isn’t sharp or well maintained. It’s rusty and jagged and  won’t actually cut my head off, but I’ll get tetanus and die from lock jaw.

I don’t even know about lock jaw. I just know, when I was little, my dad used to talk about lock jaw all the time and the thought disturbed me.

There is literally no reason at all to be worried. This is just a little software patch the credit card company requires. There is no reason to think anything will go wrong.

I haven’t been able to properly swallow in days.

I wish I were different. I don’t want to feel this way all the goddamn time. It’s exhausting.

I hate it when it’s hard to swallow because then I know my life anxiety is bad.

Then I get scared that I’m shaving years off my life. Stress kills, yo.

It occurs to me, the work stress I feel now is no more or no less than the stress I have felt at every single job I’ve had since Randy and I first got together nearly 23 years ago. 9 jobs, you guys. I have had 9 jobs since Randy and I have been together. I tortured myself over every single goddamn one of them.

If nothing else, I am consistent.

I’m trying to turn my head around a little because I don’t have time for this shit. I don’t. We have too much work to do in the house and my job isn’t going to get less stressful anytime soon.

I do not have time to be this anxious.

I do not even want to think about those thin, cold, black tendrils of depression I feel poking around in my head leaving pinpricks of numb spots in their wake.

I don’t have time for this.

So, I am consistent.

I considered what else has been consistent. What else can I count on that feels good instead of making me feel like crying?

The way I feel when Randy rubs the curve of my right shoulder blade versus my left one because he knows I get a huge knot in the right one. He knows when I rhythmically rub my feet together, I am either super anxious or my stomach hurts. Sometimes both. Usually both. He will stroke my arms or the back of my neck until I fall asleep. He tells me everything will be okay when I need to hear those words. And he is patient when I am impatient when he doesn’t say the precise words I want to hear.

Randy is consistent.

No matter how my anxiety has tortured me at work, I survived every time. I have a 100% survival rate.

No matter the job. No matter how my brain tortures me, I am still here. I will be here next Monday morning. I know I will. I’m nearly positive. We will sell our house and move. We might have the inconvenience of finding temporary housing, but we will move.

Thank the stars Randy is here, too. He helps me get to the next day. I think I help him as well.

Although, selling a house is not easy when the two people selling are impatient, stubborn, and want things done a certain way. We debate things ranging from replacing all the carpet to when it’s appropriate to throw a box away.

I figure this blog post is a sort of love letter to Randy. He can refer back to it and read the ways I appreciate him the next time we discuss, again, what color to paint the vent cover in the bathroom.

The correct answer is white. The goddamn ceiling is white, why wouldn’t we paint the vent cover on the ceiling white? Why?


Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. Curvyroads says:

    Everyone needs a Randy, and just so you know, not everyone gets one.

    I am fortunate to have one, and mine goes by Jerry.

    Hang in there…I am convinced you will survive this too!

  2. Harry says:

    I hope it goes smoothly. Your blog has helped me realize that I have issues with anxiety. I never even would have considered using the word before reading this page.

    A friend noted a long time ago that when I get upset and “start spinning,” I usually end up talking about something OTHER than the stressor that got me going. Like I’m upset about work but then end up expressing concerns about how my house looks.

    I realize now that it’s probably anxiety.

    Which is, you know, a step. It’s important to attach a name to these things so I can identify it when it’s happening.

    Thanks for that.

    • Michelle says:

      This means a great deal to me. The more I learn and share, the more it helps me. If I am helping others as well..then that is the icing on the cake. 🙂

  3. Mary K says:

    O.M.G. I know other people get knots in their (right) shoulder blades, but I never knew anyone else rubbed their feet together as a sign of stress or tiredness! I do both of these things consistently, btw.
    Stress – the most consistent thing in my life.

  4. Mary Jo says:

    Hi Rage!
    Immediately before I read your post, I read this one, & thought it might be helpful to you. Or not. Lord knows, anxiety is tough & stupid. I also heard that song about breathing….

    “No one can find the rewind button now.
    So cradle your head in your hands
    And breathe, just breathe,
    Whoa breathe, just breathe.”

  5. Peggy says:

    I want to thank you for the proper progression of tonnage.

    I also grew up with the threat of lockjaw-it was inevitable if you stepped on a nail. I spent a good week when I was 7ish waiting to die after stepping on a nail while exploring where I shouldn’t have been. My first memory of mentally curling up in a ball.

  6. mydangblog says:

    I had the same fear of lockjaw–also an irrational fear of earwigs after seeing a “Twilight Zone” episode. You know, the only time I’m not wracked with anxiety is when my son is in the same room with me. Even when everything else is relatively calm, there’s always the terror that something might happen to him. I always know my stress level is getting high when I start having ridiculous panic attacks that he’s been mugged, or had a car crash, or whatever. Ken is very much like Randy, but this he doesn’t understand, and I struggle alone with it. Also, is the next level below “crap ton”, “piss ton”? I’m sticking with the bodily fluids theme here, but maybe there’s something better:-)

    • Michelle says:

      Piss ton works. And I have the same fear. When I know exactly where my kids are, I’m good…but I don’t, very often, know exactly where they are.

  7. Doug in Oakland says:

    The worst anxiety I remember having was about a year after my stroke after my state disability ran out and I had no income for three months while my SSDI was being processed. Also at that time I was still doing PT once a week and hadn’t yet figured out how the system at Highland Hospital worked, so when my blood pressure meds ran out, I had to figure out how to get seen by a doctor to get new ones prescribed, and meanwhile my blood pressure had shot up to 160/100 and my PT therapist said he wouldn’t let me work until I got it under control.
    My sister came to the rescue. She paid my rent for three months, bought me a blood pressure cuff on Amazon so I could keep track of it and stop worrying about it all of the damn time, and on the phone she told me: “You’ll get through this just fine, and then it’ll just be that time that you were worried about money and your meds.”
    As it turned out she was right, and also as it turned out, that was exactly what I needed to hear.
    I love my sister. It’s her birthday Saturday, and I hope she has the time of her life.
    Moving is scary. Especially when you feel like you’re not in control of the important parts of it. You’ll be fine. Some day you and Randy will look back on this as “that time we had to sell the damn house and move.”

  8. Rena says:

    I’m sitting here right now, working with one client on this computer and another on my laptop and then I have two three-year-olds running like crazy people through the house. I know about anxiety…maybe a little!

  9. Doug in Oakland says:

    OK, I just wrote a comment and when I tried to post it, it disappeared. So if it somehow magically returns, feel free to delete whichever one you want to.

    The worst anxiety I can remember having happened about a year after my stroke when my state disability ran out and I had no income for three months while my SSDI was being processed.
    I was also doing PT once a week then, and hadn’t yet figured out how to navigate the system at Highland Hospital. So when my blood pressure meds ran out, I had to figure out how to get seen by a doctor there to get new ones prescribed, and meanwhile my blood pressure had shot up to 160/100 and my PT therapist told me he wouldn’t work with me until I got it under control.
    Also, at that time, I still couldn’t walk very well, and was having these weird panic attacks when I tried to walk through open areas that made standing in line at the Highland Hospital pharmacy sort of terrifying.
    My sister came to the rescue. She paid my rent for three months, and bought me a blood pressure cuff on Amazon so I could monitor it and stop worrying about it all of the damn time. And in a phone conversation she told me that I would get through it just fine, and some day it would just be that time that I was worried about money and my meds.
    As it turned out, she was right. Also, as it turned out, that was exactly what I needed to hear right then.
    I love my sister. Her birthday is Saturday, and I hope she has the time of her life.
    Moving can be scary, especially when you feel like the important parts of it are getting out of your control.
    But you’ll get through this just fine. Some day you and Randy will look back on it as “that time we had to sell the damn house and move.”

    • Michelle says:

      Dude, that is just goddamn horrifying. I am glad you have such an awesome sister. Mostly I am disappointed in or annoyed by humans, but the ones that are awesome make it worth being here. They make it worth fighting to be here.

  10. Andrea says:

    Anxiety is beastly. I love your sentence that says, I do not have time to be this anxious. It’s so true – when anxiety strikes up and rears its head I’m like, COME ON! WHO HAS TIME FOR YOU!?

  11. Babbalou says:

    I also grew up afraid of lock jaw (we farmed and lived in the middle of no where so there were a lot of things that could cause lock jaw – and rabies!) Anyway, off topic, but I’ll tell this anyway. When I was about 20 years old and moved to a city where I didn’t know anyone I got terribly sick with vomiting and diarrhea that went on and on and I was getting quite dehydrated. My room mate called her doctor and a medication was prescribed to stop the vomiting, which it did. Within a day or two I was recovered, but I continued to take the medicine as directed. About 10 days later, several days after I’d stopped taking the medication, odd symptoms appeared – my muscles were acting funny like they were all too short and pulling in position and they hurt, I was drooling, focusing my eyes became difficult and then my teeth clamped tightly and I could hardly open my mouth. I thought it must be lock jaw and I was terrified. Again, my roommate came to the rescue – she got me an appointment to see her doctor that afternoon but my symptoms progressed to the point that I showed up early. By then my muscles were all spastic, which was very painful, I couldn’t sit up straight and the drooling and lack of eye focus and locked jaw were severe. It turned out to be a reaction to the medication I’d been given for the vomiting (which I’d forgotten about) and I spent 24 hours in the hospital while they gave me other medication to reverse the reaction.

    I haven’t thought about lock jaw in years! But admit that I do keep up with my tetnus boosters.

  12. I really wanted to post something sweet and supportive and applaud your awesome relationship. But then you mentioned the vent cover, and asked “why wouldn’t we paint the vent cover white?” and now I have to address that because my brain ferrets and I actually know the answer to that question.

    You would not paint the vent the same white as the ceiling if the texture/finish of the ceiling is such that painting the vent to match would actually make it stand out. For instance, my ceilings are all this weird brushed-texture that means you can’t touch up just one bit if you blob the walls, you have to redo the whole ceiling. It also means that if I’m repainting a ceiling vent, I’d do it in a darker color to blend with all the funny shadows up there, or maybe some sort of textured spray.

    • Michelle says:

      I can see that and while the ceiling isn’t smooth, it’s only lightly textured. A silver square would be much more noticeable than a white one. We’ve moved on from that one. Next up…where should the black chair go?

  13. KK says:

    You’ve got this, I remember when selling up and moving were just a thought in your head and you couldn’t see it happening, and Randy needed a lot of persuading that getting a cat was a good idea. Now you have two and you’re definitely going to make the move to a new place happen, and yes the answer is white.

    • Michelle says:

      Yeah, I’ve been taking some deep breaths. We got this. I think the anticipation of what is coming up will probably be more painful than the event. I hope. I probably just jinxed it. I don’t even believe in jinxes.

  14. Spiked Lee says:

    Yes, white vent to match white ceiling. Don’t bother buying separate paint, as long as it is clean, and decent looking, it will not keep the house from selling. Do not paint anything a really bright color, like the puke lime in the closet in the house I bought. (Happy hubs repainted it.) I actually love the kind of dark mustard gold they painted the mudroom, and repainted the kitchen the same color.
    Remember a couple of weeks ago, I said depression was nipping at the heels? (It’s actually a scared small black pekingese dog, BTW.) I was lucky this time, after a couple days mostly in bed, I figured out it was the new brand of vitamin C. when I dropped it, I was starting to feel better after just a couple of days. I’m so lucky, and it was wonderful to have you be understanding and encouraging.
    Also, thank you, you wordify the anxiety really well; it helps me understand the daughter a lot better, her anxiety is just dreadful, but she can’t express it as well as you. Understanding it helps me be patient and that helps her, so thanks!
    Anyway, you have this. You have done harder things before, and this time you have the support of not only Randy but also most of the internet.

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks for this. You are right, I have done MUCH harder than this. I got this. I also forgot to be excited about this next part of life and I so looked forward to living this part of life. It really will be fun, after the next couple of months. The next couple of months will be hard…but you are right, we’ve done much harder things. Thanks for that. xo

  15. I joke that my parents hoped I’d get lockjaw because it would shut me up, but really it’s one of the few diseases I heard about as a kid that sounded truly terrifying.
    It didn’t stop me from going barefoot though.
    There’s a lesson in there somewhere but more importantly I want to wish you well. And to say the vent cover should blend in, not stand out. It would be glaringly annoying if it stood out. There’s probably some kind of lesson in that too.

  16. emelle says:

    Two things that mean more to me than to you, possibly:
    1. If Randy is unfamiliar with this country song (, he needs to get familiar with it. Its chorus seems to perfectly describe his intimate knowledge of how to massage your specific tension away: “Body like a back road, driving with my eyes closed, I know every curve like the back of my hand. Doin’ 15 in a 30, I ain’t in no hurry. I’ma take it slow just as fast as I can…”
    2. Is nine jobs in 23 years a lot, these days? I have had some years I got more than nine individual w-2’s/1099’s. Hell, I think I had three “real” jobs from ’95 until ’02, when I moved out to LA! … & then there were TONS of “temp” jobs (through agencies)… & then I got out here and did office work, catering, bartending in restaurants and at parties, AND found a way to get paid to act… and then I learned Script Supervision… and I’ve “day-played” as a Production Assistant, Personal Assistant, Costume Assistant, Assistant Director, etc. — Yeah, pretty sure I’ve possibly had 23 (or more) DIFFERENT employers in the last 9 years. And every time I find myself on a new set, I have my standard “running late to work on my first day on set” nightmare the night before.
    Not that I’d trade any of that to try to finish a house to sell! I’ve also moved across the country 3 times in that 23 years, with 6 “local” moves as well. Moving sucks. & I don’t really have a Randy. I mean, I do, but mine can’t use that song as his theme song, and I feel certain yours can.
    So it’s all good! You’ve got this! You’re gonna survive! What did we end up naming that twat, your anxiety? Jasmine? Jennifer? Julie? I forget. Give her a good yelling at, let Randy drive with his eyes closed, and feel better. 🙂