Monday, June 19, 2017

Sleeplessness, Anxiety, and the weird things that keep me up at night (deadly spiders and celebrity Christmas trees).

I like many people who have anxiety know the joys that come with it.   I will be fine for a while and then WHAM!  I am  hit with periods of insomnia, panic attacks, and irrational thoughts.  This last week was nothing new.

So what was it that woke me up at 4 am? Deadly nocturnal spiders and Carrie Fisher's Christmas tree.  The swirling vortex of my mind usually reaches full swirl by 4 am.  Sometimes, I can calm myself and go back to sleep, other nights, forget it.  

What started this whole episode was a spider lurking in the corner near my bookcase in the bedroom.  I called my husband to come and look at it because I thought it looked like a black widow without the red.   I was convinced it was a deadly spider and it needed to be destroyed!  Well, we missed and the damn thing retreated back to the safety the crack between the wall and shelf provided.   

The damn spider was then living rent free in my head at this point.  After a quick Google search, I became even more convinced that it was a male black widow spider because they do have different coloring from the females.   So we went to bed, well my husband went to bed.   I did eventually fall asleep up but at 4 am had to go to the restroom.  Using my phone as a flashlight, there it was back in the same corner as before.  

Blurry eyed, I tried to kill the damn thing and missed again!  I woke up my husband with an explosive round of cussing the spider and more lights, every light in the bedroom to be exact.  They don't like bright lights and well, I was prepared to sleep with every light in the house on if I had to.

My husband had this idea to use a flat wooden lid that he wedged forcefully into the crevice and kill the spider that way.   After a few whacks that way, my husband declared the spider good and truly dead.  I think the spider is just laying in wait.  I am still not convinced the spider is dead ( I have seen Arachnophobia, I know what happens!)  UPDATE:  Admittedly my husband may have succeeded in killing the spider as it has not been seen in 2 days. Still, I am cautious.

After all that excitement, who can sleep?  Not this chick.  
I laid in bed staring at the ceiling which is just plain and boring.  I have lobbied for glow in the dark stars or something more visually pleasing then nothing.  But, my husband is like" just close your eyes".  I have explained that if it was that easy to just "close my eyes" and go back to sleep I wouldn't have this problem.

SOOO this brings me to Carrie Fisher's Christmas tree.

Carrie Fisher's  passing was  devastating to me.  She was my first real childhood hero as Princess Leia.  I wanted to be Princess Leia!   I named one of my daughters Leia.  I loved this woman, I loved her character, I would loved her books, I loved her other work.  I love/loved Carrie Fisher for everything else she did.   

Earlier in the week, I watched a video segment from GMA with her brother Todd Fisher.  The segment tours her home and talks about the upcoming estate auction of Carrie and her mother, Debbie Reynolds.  

Believe me, when I heard about the auction I downloaded the auction catalog. I joked to my husband I needed to sell a kidney so I could afford just 1 item that belonged to her.   I really would love one of her ugly children portraits. 

She was one celebrity I wanted to meet but it just never worked out.  Carrie Fisher would perform her "celebrity lap dances" nowhere near where I  lived and if she got close it was still hours of travel, planning, and large amounts of cash.  And the few times she got close, life got in the way.  So I waited and now she is gone. 

Back to the GMA segment,   As they toured her home the reporter asked Todd about her year around Christmas tree.  He explained how his mother took them to visit  actor Harold Lloyd, who had a year round tree and believed in Christmas everyday.  This had an effect on Carrie and she adopted the same.  

How does this effect me? Aside from wanting something from her home, I began to ponder my own feelings about Christmas. ( Here is where my mind likes to snowball everything.  As the snowball gets bigger, it begins sucking up anything and everything. )

 I have this love/ hate relationship with Christmas in general and this includes my tree. 

 In July, I will march into my local Hallmark store to buy my yearly supply of pop culture mini statuettes to adorn our tree.  One of them this year being  ironically a Princess Leia . She is on my tree in multiple variations of her character.  

In July,  I will love the idea of my tree.  Come the day after Thanksgiving, I will sigh and begin the decorating process.  Somewhere between then and December 25th, the magic will have faded and by January 1st, I am DONE!  I am ready to get the thing out of the living room and not look or think about it for another 11 months. 

But that's a lie!  because by May, I am stalking Hallmark for an ornament wish book to buy my yearly supply of ornaments again. Rinse, Lather, Repeat. Its a vicious cycle!

So then I started asking myself when and why did Christmas lose its magic?  Have I ever had a magical Christmas?  How do I get that same feeling and pure joy. 
As a child, I never liked Santa Claus.  I didn't like the idea of him sneaking into our home and for several years starting at age 3, asked that he just leave presents in our carport and I could open them there.
Everybody has a memory of their favorite Christmases. I don't.
At age 9 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery 2 days after Christmas.  I can't tell you what i got for Christmas that year.  There aren't any pictures, there aren't any memories other than that. After that year Christmas just seemed to be a motion you go through. 

When Black Friday rolls around the stress and anxiety begins waiting for something bad to happen. I have a list of holiday terrible (included on the list Carrie Fisher's passing).
 I will spare you the details because I am sharing this not for sympathy, but mainly to vent, ask myself hard questions, sort them out, and tire my mind for a little while so I can nap for an hour or two.

Christmas isn't supposed to be about money, but it is.  I don't enjoy Christmas shopping because I have a budget.  Then I go between feeling cheap and disappointing my kids because I can't be extravagant and then I stress about going over budget.  It is horrible but a modern reality. 
My husband grew up not celebrating Christmas and he is better at it then I am.  Am I burned out?  
My snowball is still rolling.  

I really don't like modern holiday traditions.
I hate elf on the shelf.  We have one of the damn little things. It was gifted to our children with good intent.  To you over achieving elf moms, I hate your elf and your pintrest pictures too. 

I hate gift cards. I get a gift card and never use it for myself.  I end up buying things for everyone else.  If you want to give me a gift, give me a gift not a damn gift card. 

Am I too cynical? Possibly. But something keeps me coming back year after year repeating the same cycle. Attitude vs. Gratitude.  Yes, i have a bad attitude about Christmas but I am grateful for my husband and children.  I try to make it happy for them.  

Everybody tells me I can't hate Christmas for my children's sake.  I keep my feelings hidden, which might be why I feel such overwhelming dread even now just thinking about this year's Christmas.  I do everything I can to create Christmas for them.  We bake, we make hot chocolate, we snuggle, we watch movies, we play games, I plan parties for them, we drive around to look at lights, we shop, we wrap. I enjoy that time together. 

I am envious of those with eternal optimism.  I feel defective because I don't have this in me.
 What am I missing?   
Help me Carrie Fisher, you're my only hope.  

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