Saturday, September 10, 2011

Anxiety: I hate my bedtime rituals.

If you or anyone you love struggles with OCD, you'll be able to relate to this post. For years, as I have dealt with my anxiety, there is always one thing that is of peak concern that becomes my current obsession. In middle school, that was the need to confess compulsively. In college and high school, it was blood and the risk of HIV. After college it was securing my apartment (since I lived alone). Even as a newlywed, this night time securing ritual was still pretty bad.

I dreaded bedtime, as much as I loved to sleep. When living alone, I would get up and check the locks. And go back to bed. And get back up. And yell at myself or start to tear up. And repeat it over and over. I would finally either wear myself out or tell myself, "It's your OCD, Kira. Everything is fine." Then there were the days that I was afraid to even so much as leave a light on (much less the curling iron or stove) for fear that I was going to burn down my apartment building, and harm Jax. I'd get out to my car and go back in to check everything. Then check the door locks, over and over. It was awful.

Some of you may be reading this and thinking, what the hell? But it's very real to me. And to many out there who also struggle with this sort of anxiety. So, I knew when I became a mom that I'd be more anxious than the average mama bear. I knew I'd sleep less. Check more. And just have a hard time settling down in this head of mine. Boy did that turn out to be true. Times 100. My usual anxiety coupled with post partum issues sent me into a tailspin. Now, I'm back to what I'd consider a better than normal amount of OCD anxiety. (Thank you medication.)

Lately I've been thinking... Each night, Rusty goes to bed and falls peacefully to sleep. He doesn't need to check baby gates or even peep in on Asher. And I know he loves that boy as much as I do. But I can't do that. I have to go through my nightly rituals. I know all moms check on their babies, right? But my process is over the top. And it's exhausting. And I hate it.

It goes like this:
  • Check all downstairs locks.
  • Check to be sure Jax is in the house and collarless and has water.
  • Be sure all gates are closed keeping Jax off carpeted areas.
  • Be sure all Scentsy warmers are either turned off, or nothing is close to touching them.
  • Go upstairs. Close gates on the stairs. Check that they are double locked. (Asher has figured out the normal shut lock mechanism. So, we now have to do the little toddler proof double latch.)
  • Go into bedroom. Find red flashlight next to my bed. Check Asher on video monitor.
  • Tiptoe into his room.
  • Shine the flashlight on him. Check to be sure Rusty remembered to remove his bib.
  • Shine the light on the outlets and power strips. Be sure no toys are on top of anything and that all outlets are covered.
  • Shine the light on the video monitor cord and be sure it goes over the window frame and down the other side with no way for Asher to get ahold of it.
  • Check what's in the crib with Asher. Be alert for anything that may be a choking hazard within reach or on the floor (in case he gets out).
  • Check room temperature. (This leads to going back down to adjust the thermostat about 50% of the time. Which then leads to a repeat of most of what's above.)
  • Check Asher again.
  • Tiptoe back out. Shut his door, be sure it's shut all the way. Or, leave it cracked and be sure the gate in his doorway is double latched. (Yes, we have a lot of gates. But I have this fear that he'll figure out how to crawl out of his crib and venture out and around upstairs without us noticing. The idea of him falling down the stairs or getting into something electrical or a choking hazard petrifies me.)
  • Take a bathroom break. Check gates again.
  • Put flashlight back next to the bed. Check the monitor. Try to sleep.
So, there you go. A not so pretty look into this head of mine and my nightly rituals. Just now, I should be in bed. But I dread the process. Sigh.

What's the point of this post? I'm not really sure. For other moms out there to know that some of this extra anxiety is normal. And some could benefit from some treatment if it's extreme. For other really anxious moms out there to know they are not alone. To hope that someone reads and comments that they are the same way and I feel less crazy and alone. Any of those things would be a good outcome.

Well. Goodnight, world. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God bless you sweet Kira. How exhausting. Thanks for sharing. I don't have OCD issues and cant say that I share any of these feelings, but of course have my own issues. Sometimes its encouraging to look into the lives of others and be reminded that we all struggle in the lives that we live, no matter how wonderful they are. - Lauren Harris

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