Losing (or Lost?) My Mind

“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness” – Richard Carlson

It is well known I am stressed.

I have too much going on in my life and way too much stuff in my head.

I am having to once again push back on various projects. I am consumed with worry about a million things (the house sale, my trip to Ireland, getting my passport replaced in time,  money,  adoption and more).

If I needed any more obvious signs, I got it yesterday.

I am producing a video for work. It is an 8 minute segment that features a number of our executives, project managers and business partners. It is pretty high end.

The first of two tapings were scheduled for yesterday. My "actors" were scheduled back to back for 5 hours. Half hour sessions. They were being shot on a green screen and I was to be off camera, interviewing them.

I spent weeks arranging the details, meeting with the production crew, the actors, prepping them on little details like don’t wear green (it will disappear on the green screen). I wrote the brief. I wrote the interview questions, scripted the flow. Things were going well.

The problem arose when my husband had to leave town for a week on business thereby wreaking mild havoc with my childcare and work schedule.

My children cannot be dropped off at school until 8:30 a.m. My first taping started at 8:00 a.m. I had a production crew arriving at five to set up lights, cameras, etc.

I arranged with my boss for her to back up me until I got there. I could arrive at 8:45. This would mean she would conduct 1.5 of the interviews.

Unfortunately, her boss disagreed. She wanted ME there. I am the creative person, the producer. She was right of course. So we moved some appointments around so that I would only miss 15 minutes of the first one.

The crew and my two bosses would cover for me.

And THIS is where losing my head comes in.

I drop the kids off. I get to work. Park in the satellite lot. Hop the shuttle and off I go to the taping.  It all goes well.  I feel proud and encouraged. We will have a fine product in the end. I am anxious to see the rough footage and start the editing process.

I get back to my desk and feel like I am missing something. I rustle through my purse and attache and realize I don’t have my car/house keys. I panic a teeny bit but don’t have the time in my day to address at that time.

Four o’clock rolls around and I start to stress. On a corporate property with 10 buildings, thousands of employees, it could be a disaster if someone picked them up.

I take the shuttle back to my car thinking I left them there. The car is locked. It is pouring rain. I am pondering what I will do. How will I pick up the kids? Cab? How will we get into the house? Hotel?

I take the shuttle back to the office and approach security. They refer me to the main security office.

I am greeted by VERY LARGE sumo sized Hispanic man with a great smile. I inquire about keys. I describe them. Big smile appears on his face.

He turns around, takes an envelope off a shelf and produces my keys.

Security in the satellite lot turned them in.

Oh no, I did not drop them. Did not lose them. Did not forget them.

I LEFT MY FREAKING CAR RUNNING. I got out of my car, grabbed my laptop, my purse, and got on the shuttle. All the while the red two door accord was running!!!

Security noted it, turned it off, locked it and turned in my keys.

WHO DOES THAT? WHAT the hell kind of stress is in my life that I get out of my car and leave it running and don’t know it??

Mr. Large Smiley Sumo Security man is chuckling up a storm.  I am quite confident that the entire security staff is belly laughing about the  big breasted freaky haired red head that leaves her car running.  I am pretty sure they snicker as they walk past me now.

My lesson?

  • Slow down.
  • Get help.
  • Get back up keys made.
  • Make some friends (other than my ex husband I have NO support where I live and work. All friends and family are sixty miles away)
  • Exercise.
  • Try sleep once in a while. I hear it is a good thing.
  • Try to stop worrying about my daughter – at least a little bit. I am right now consumed with her graduation, terrifying thoughts on substance abuse (I have NO proof but suddenly got this irrational worry in my head after reading Beautiful Boy that she might have inherited the addiction gene. I have spent weeks agitated over it. I see lots of pictures of her with alcohol. She works in the music business. I have this awful scary feeling. Since I don’t know her at all, I cannot assuage it. The worry and anxiety runs around and around in my head and heart like a gerbil on a habitrail)
  • Stop reading so much. Lately the reading seems to be doing more harm than good (like causing me to become unduly concerned about my daughters ability to handle drugs and alcohol).
  • Try food.  A diet of yogurt, diet coke, vitamin water and the occassional Mike and Ike is not exactly brain powering delights.
  • Find some brainless work to do. Maybe start making jewelry again.

I am open to suggestions. I am also open to you turning my car off if you see it idling nearby, mkay?

10 Thoughts.

  1. We’ve done this before also under much stress. Here’s hoping you can build your support system — you certainly deserve one!!!!!

  2. Hello Suz…
    I have been where you are in Stressland. My m.o. was “forgetting” my wallet and/or purse and depending on the kindness of strangers to get it back to me. (Thank you all you great people out there!) Your list looks good… but stressful. Too many things to change. I felt stress reading it!
    What worked for me was changing one thing, and all others fell into place. The one thing was meditation. Breath control. I started with just 10 minutes in the morning, before anything else. Now I do more. Just Stop Doing. Breathe deeply. That’s all. You can progress from there.
    My mantra: “When I feel stress or upset I take 3 deep breaths.” It has made a difference in my life at home and at work.

  3. Suz, sending huge hugs. I don’t know what will help you ratchet the stress level down, and don’t think it really matters. What matters is that you are consciously aware that you need to make the changes that will bring the stress level down.
    I like Patty’s suggestion – breathe. I might just try that myself!

  4. You are already aware of why it started. A working single mom needs a support system. To have a high power job such as yours, definitly must have backup for the boys. Just think how much easier it would have been to have someone to call at that moment. All else easily would fall in place. You would not have been rushed,calmly turned key off, pleasantly glided to shuttle. etc. etc. I hate those snowballs and they just keep rolling until they are humungous. I think, take a few breaths, jewelry making sounds uncomplicated and soothing. SLOW DOWN! I always say, nothing good is going to happen when one is out of balance!

  5. Who does that?!?!?!
    If it makes you feel any better, my husband once did the same thing. Left his key in the ignition and car running when he went off to catch the bus to work. When he returned to the parking lot that evening, his car wasn’t running — out of gas. He not only had to call a locksmith to let him in (the car was an old classic, where you push down the door lock and then close the door), he then had to walk to a gas station to get gas to get home. (This was long before I met him.)
    Here’s another one: when my mother died and I was preparing to fly to Arizona to be with my dad and prepare for the funeral, I went to the ATM. Someone had left their card in the slot. I pulled it out, put my card, got my cash, and then took their card into the bank. What I didn’t realize until hours later was that I left my freakin’ card in the machine!!!
    It happens.
    You have a lot on your mind. Laugh along with the Sumo Security Guard and let it go. And, ah yes, find ways to lessen your stress. But in the meantime, go easy on yourself.
    (((HUGS)))

  6. thinking of you, babe.
    here when you need me. call me and i’ll come to ct. if you leave your car running again.
    (((hugs)))

  7. We have all been there. Events like this are a sign that we do need to take a deep breath.
    My niece has just returned to work after a year of mat leave. I was saying to her, because she had a stay at home Mom, that it is hard life, two of you working with a young child. Harder still as a single Mom although I have never been one at least not officially. The only added stresser missing in your scenario is that one of the kids got sick. I too did not have any family around so I try to be support for my niece because as we all know what Moms need most is support. And you are part of our support for which I am sure we all thank you and wish you a calm and restorative weekend.

  8. Shoot, Suz, I’ve done that and I don’t even have children.
    Since you mention the “addiction gene”, I want to reassure you on that too: My husband and I are both born to addict parents (his father, my mother), and we’re fine with regard to substances. We have five siblings between us, and only one of them (my brother) has anything even approaching a substance abuse problem — and even that qualifies as “abuse”, not “addiction”.
    And anyway, one big thing you learn when you’re the child of an addict is that you can’t make anyone get help or stop using if they DO have a problem, so that’s just another reason to take your concern about that facet of your daughter’s life off your own plate. Says me, that is. FW that’s W.

  9. I have left my keys in the ignition with the car on.
    I have lost my keys on my desk at work, had spares delivered to me, only to find them two weeks later in a three ring binder.
    I have locked my apartment door behind me with all my keys still in the house.
    I have left my house without shoes.
    It happens.
    And these things? All in about the last two or three months.
    You are NOT alone in stressville. Not that it makes it any better, but you’re not crazy 🙂 Either that or we’re both crazy!

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