When the organized anxious parent is sick

I’m the coordinator in the family; it keeps my anxiety at bay.

I need to know what is happening on what day at what time and whether it might end early or run over or what might impact travel time.

I need to know the “there’s talk of such and such happening, but i have no idea if it will nor but, but now you know that the possibility exists.”

I need to know the “there’s a small chance of this happening, and here’s the plan for handling it.”

I need to know if there is a plan. And ideally a plan B, just in case. Maybe even a plan C depending on how volatile a situation is. If there is no plan, I’m anxious.

I plan out the day as soon as I wake up in the morning–especially since I commute with my daughter. I even have the diaper bag well enough stocked most of the time to take care of her if the bus crashes and we are stranded for a couple of hours in the prevailing weather of the day.

I can’t just show up to a gathering at a friend’s house without having a plan for leaving.

When we go to the store, we need a list of what we are out and absolutely need, we need to have an idea of dinners in the upcoming week, we need to have a list of “if this is on sale, get it.” Then I have to go to the store less often for emergencies, and for smaller items, and that actually eases stress and anxiety in the long run.

My husband is a different planner.

He’s more lackadaisical on the items I get anxious about. He doesn’t worry so much about the logistics of getting our daughter from one place to another. If stuff happens, it happens.

So when I am depressed, I just physically can’t handle the stress of planning. Or when I’m anxious, the anxiety of having no plan.

Because I am sick right now, I’m in that spot of having to rely on people who are more laid back but truly care and will get things done in due time and in due measure. It’s a little anxiety-inducing, honestly. Maybe this is good exposure therapy? I don’t know.

But I do know one of the contributing factors of being sick right now is because I was constantly anxious about logistics.

Layoffs at work changed some logistics–> anxiety.
Trying to figure out logistics of a new daycare and whether we get in –> anxiety
Trying to figure out logistics of keeping such a tiny living space livable with breathing room without tripping over junk mail or toys or things that just never get put away –> anxiety.

Everything causes anxiety. And honestly, could also be kinda OCD–a form of anxiety.

But when depression swoops in and anxiety is too much, I can’t figure out logistics. I just am unable to make decisions very well right now. But not being able to make decisions and ease anxiety?

I’m the parent who wants to be logistically organized, but my husband does not share the same quality. When we are both well, our two styles of living work well together with some give and take and rebalancing.

But when I am sick?

I will be learning skills of how to manage this need for order and how to live with uncertainty, among other things starting next week when I begin DBT classes in an intensive outpatient program.

But until then, I am trying to practice as much self care as possible to manage the anxiety as my husband and mother in law take charge with the logistics of running the house and caring for my daughter and making dinners and just generally supporting me.

As my therapist reminded me–I lived with anxiety my entire life, so it will be slow to release anxiety’s hold on my life.

But I will eventually get there. Especially with the help from family and friends. And this IOP program.

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