I will probably do my best to return to Mini Positive Posting soon, but today that doesn't feel possible. Today the grey wraiths of anxiety are wrapping their tendrils around me. They are invading my dreams so I wake, sweating, afraid of an event that has never happened and will never happen. Recurring nightmares from decades-past are crawling back to the surface of my mind, forcing me to re-live almost-forgotten fears. They are tainting my interactions with my colleagues, with my friends and, worst of all, with my LittleBear.
I am wallowing in the treacle of a project at work that will not function, will not die, will not survive, will not end.
I am battling trying to sleep in a house that persistently remains above 26C inside, even when the outside temperature is ten degrees or more lower.
I have volunteered for a task that requires me to approach virtual strangers and ask for donations, and it's pushing my social anxiety over the edge. I nearly broke down in tears in the car today as I contemplated accosting more people to ask them to contribute. I've managed 4 people in a week... only another 20 to go...
I have invited friends round for a drink later in the week. This should be a relaxed and enjoyable thing to do. But in my current state, every aspect of it now feels like a potential judgement on my worth as a human being. Will people come? Will they enjoy themselves? Will I manage to converse without making an arse out of myself? Will they all secretly talk behind my back? Will my home be found lacking? (Yes, yes, yes, no and no respectively, but facts don't matter).
I am meeting my old school friends for a reunion this weekend, with BigBear and LittleBear. Another social event, another reason to feel anxious, to fear judgement, to fear failure. Is it actually possible to fail at attending a picnic? In my mind it is.
And, worst of all, yesterday and again this morning, my beautiful, clever, funny, loving, wonderful LittleBear told me, "I feel as though I should be on the cloud every day because I'm a horrible person". And every cross word, every criticism, every correction, every reprimand I have ever uttered came back and swamped me with remorse and guilt. Is this what I've done to my baby? I have wanted so badly, and strived so hard, to assure him that he is loved, that he is splendid, that I'm proud of him for all the things he tries so hard at. And yet he says he feels like a bad person. He hears only the moment I say, "that wasn't very helpful. Please can you do what I asked you to do and not just ignore me?" He doesn't seem to hear the, "well done" or the "thank you", or the "that's really good!" Am I praising him in the "wrong" way? Am I knocking him down instead of building him up? Am I undermining his sense of self-worth without knowing how I'm doing so? Have I inadvertently done the exact opposite of what I hoped? All I ever wanted for my child was that he didn't suffer the excruciating self-doubt and lack of confidence that besets me. And somewhere along the line I have failed. And that failure is more painful than any other.