Under Pressure

Next week, my company will start bringing people back into the office. I’m part of “phase 1,” meaning that I’m expected to return to my office on campus on Monday.

I am terrified.

Coronavirus is still very real. The number of cases is increasing, (particularly in the county I live in). I do my best to wash my hands frequently, observe social distancing, and wear a mask in public. I’ve barely left the house in the past few months.

There is immense pressure to return to the office, but I’m torn. I could leave this company, or take a leave of absence and come back when things are safer. But then I’d be leaving a job I truly love and scrambling to find a way to keep the bills paid. Or I can return to the office (as I plan to on Monday) and put my health and the health of the people I love at risk. It’s a rock and a hard place indeed.

I don’t want to make it seem like I’m being thrown to the wolves. My company is requiring masks in community areas, and we are getting a solo office if we want one. I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would about the HVAC system we used—the company is improving the air filtration system and shared details about it with us. All of these things are great for sure.

But what about the elevators?

The break rooms?

The copy areas?

All it takes is one person.

One person being careless or showing up to work sick and all hell breaks loose. I understand that people want things to get back to “normal.” But unfortunately things probably won’t be “normal” for quite some time.

Honestly, things may never go back to the way they were.

When I return to work, I won’t be going to in-person meetings. I’ll be calling into meetings from my office, with the door closed and the window open.

When I return to work, I won’t be in a classroom teaching groups of 20-40 people. I’ll be in my office, training those exact same people virtually. I won’t be able to see their faces, but I can still educate them and support them.

When I return to work, I won’t drop by someone else’s office to troubleshoot an issue, or ask a question, or just say “hi.” I’ll be calling people, or using video conferencing—all with a sign on my office door telling people to call me instead of stopping by.

When I return to work, there will be no lunchtime gatherings with coworkers as we enjoy delicious food from the cafeteria buffet lines. I’m bringing my lunch every single day, and my own silverware too. I’m currently trying to figure out how I can bring enough water for the day so I don’t have to go to the water fountain or the break room for a drink.

When I return to work, it won’t be “normal” in many ways. As I think about it, there is one way in particular that will make going to work completely abnormal for me.

I’ll be scared to do it.

Let It Go

Ever overhear someone talking bad about another person and just know they were talking about you?

Yeah, me too. It happened Saturday night, in fact. I’m sure the ladies didn’t expect me to hear the conversation, but I heard it nonetheless. I won’t tell you exactly what was said, but I can tell you that most people would probably let it go.

But I can’t.

That’s the problem with me and my anxiety. I can’t just let shit go. And I can’t articulate what’s happening in my mind to anyone else–my words never feel strong enough to make someone else feel what I’m going through.

So I pretend. I act like nothing is bothering me. Even when anxiety is constantly looping in my brain, threatening to push me into panic mode, I smile and pretend like everything is fine. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Saturday night I pretended to be looking up something on my phone to make the ladies think I hadn’t heard them, or didn’t care enough to acknowledge that I did.

I haven’t mentioned what happened on Saturday to anyone until now, but trust I’ve been thinking about it nonstop since it happened. It happened after an event I’d helped plan, one that I thought was pretty successful. But apparently someone had issues with me and my departure from the event, which was the conversation I overheard.

I wish I could just not care.

I wish I could remember that the event was successful and someone’s small comment doesn’t overshadow that.

I wish I could remember that what other people think about me doesn’t matter.

But too many times, I can’t let it go.

So I’m setting a new intention for 2018: let it go!

  • Let negativity go.
  • Let stress go.
  • Let other people’s opinions of me go.
  • Let drama go.
  • Let my unrealistically high expectations for myself go.
  • Let doubt go.

Not saying I’ll have it mastered by the end of the year, but I’m damn sure gonna try.

What are your methods for overcoming anxiety?

Snowy Days

Winter in Wisconsin is in full swing, y’all. And ya girl is NOT FEELING IT.

Something Everything about the blistering cold, the gray skies, and the seemingly unending snowfall just makes me depressed. Being cooped up inside doesn’t help my anxiety either. The days are so short it feels like you never see the sun. The wind chill is so cold that it burns your skin. Now how much sense does that make–weather so cold it feels hot?!?

We got four inches of snow on Saturday, and another inch on Monday. More snow is predicted for tonight, and even more next week. My snow shovel and I have been best friends the past couple of days. #truestory I shoveled my driveway as my cardio warmup before my personal training session on Monday. There’s a silver lining to this cloud after all! 🙂

But, in all honestly, I know this rough patch won’t last. Where there is cold, eventually there will be warmth. Gray skies will be blue again. And summer will be here and make me forget all about these snowy days. Here is a snapshot from a hike at Devil’s Lake last summer–I cannot wait until I see green trees and feel the warm sun again!

Tooth Scary

I would say I’m sorry for the hiatus, but I’ve been out living life (and having a grand time doing it) so I don’t feel that bad about taking a blogging break–more details on my awesome adventures in a later post. 🙂 However, not every adventure since my last post has been awesome. Take, for example, today’s adventure–the dentist. 

I have had dental anxiety for as long as I can remember (and apparently before then). My mom told me I had to be sedated at the dentist’s office as a child because I kicked, screamed, and fought. My memories consist of tears, sweating, and an overwhelming feeling of panic. This anxiety haunts me to this day. Literally. To this day–I’m writing this from the dentist’s office. Just a short time ago, I got so worked up about getting the Novocain that I had to get damn near topless I was sweating so much. I trembled like a leaf. My breath became shallow and my heart raced; I thought I was going to pass out. 

 See? Not happy. 

Apparently, I’m not alone. Many Americans avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety. I don’t know what it is about being in the dentist’s chair that freaks me out so much. Actually, i *do* have a few ideas:

  1. I don’t like people putting their hands in my mouth. That seems very personal to me for some reason. 
  2. Needles and sharp objects. Never been a fan of those, but once they’re in my mouth my stress level quadruples. 
  3. The drilling. Oh, the drilling. It is irritating enough when it’s outside your office window. Even more so when it’s INSIDE YOUR HEAD. 
  4. Smell and taste. Smells like a nail salon, tastes like a chemical cocktail. I actually gagged today because whatever they used for my filling got onto the back of my tongue. 
  5. The cost. Not only do I have to suffer through #1-5, I have to give up all of my hard earned coin to do it!

I did some research and found that others feel anxious about going to the dentist for many of the same reasons I do. This is comforting; I’ve always felt like a freak for getting so worked up about sitting in the dentist’s chair. Luckily there are things one can do to cope with this fear, including (but not limited to) taking awesome care of your teeth so you don’t have to go to the dentist in the first place. 

That’s going to be my new coping mechanism–brushing like a fiend, flossing like a champ, and waterpik-ing like nobody’s business! I’ll also keep seeing the awesome ladies at my dentist’s office–they are excellent at making me feel comfortable and calming me down if I panic. 

Any of y’all get anxiety like this–not just the dentist, but with anything? If so, how do you cope?