The Nugget Chronicles: Anxious Happens

It was an interesting weekend here in our little house. See, after having spent so many weekends away working a night job, it just seemed fair that HawtWife would be able to go off and have an awesome girl’s weekend. That was this past weekend, so, starting shortly after noon on Friday, it was just me and Nugget all by ourselves for a few days. Given that I’ve been doing the whole stay-at-home thing, this should be no big deal at all, right?

Honestly, for the most part, things went pretty easy. Yes, Nugget wasn’t feeling terribly well (a mild fever that was coupled with a stubborn tooth that just didn’t want to poke itself all of the way through), so she was extra cuddly Friday. That’s cool. I’m totally happy to be my daughter’s pillow and blanket and whatever else she needs, because she just needs the comfort of a parent. Saturday rolled around, and she was definitely feeling better, so there was actually time to play and help her learn some new things (which culminated last night in her first exclamation of “Ta da!”) before settling in to watch hockey. Then Sunday hit, which meant that HawtWife was going to be coming back home, so, in many ways, it was like a standard week day. Nugget seemed to have relapsed a little to her illness from the weekend, but was more active than she had been. All in all, it was a pretty awesome weekend, with nothing really to complain about.

So, wait, why am I writing this blog, with the headline above?

See, as much as I loved all of the time I got with Nugget this weekend, I also got hit with some serious anxiety. I’m a recovering depressive (I honestly believe that mental illnesses, like drug addictions, are not something you “get over”, but something you need to watch for and deal with all of your life), and that means that sometimes, I get hit with these waves of crazy thoughts that seem perfectly rational in the moment. The reason I can call myself “recovering” is that, where once I truly believed that these thoughts were valid, now I can recognize that they are coming from a valid place, but aren’t really the best way of looking at things.

It all started during nap time on Saturday. Most days, when Nugget takes a nap, that means that Daddy takes a nap, too, and Saturday was no exception. The nap was a little delayed, compared to normal, but that isn’t what kicked things off. In fact, delaying the nap may have helped Nugget fall asleep faster than she normally would (for example, she was FAR less interested in crawling to the dog and poking her than usual). No, the first tipping point to the weekend was the nightmare I had during the nap. In this dream, I proceeded to firmly believe that HawtWife had cut her awesome girl’s weekend short, because she didn’t actually trust me being home alone with Nugget for the weekend.

Crazy, right? I mean, if I wasn’t the stay-at-home parent, it would still be a hard reality to swallow, because Nugget truly does love the time that she gets with me. I like to think I’m doing alright at this whole “Dad” thing, and HawtWife keeps confirming that belief for me. Still, this dream shook me, and was honestly made a little worse due to the lateness of the nap. I kept believing that HawtWife had already come home, and was waiting in a different room of the house, or that she’d texted to say that she’d be home soon to “rescue our daughter”, or things along those lines. Nowhere in the dream was I given any indication that there was actually a reason that I wasn’t to be trusted, just that HawtWife felt I couldn’t be alone with Nugget. It took a couple of hours before I was finally able to calm down the voice in my head telling me everything was falling apart with regards to my abilities as a parent, even though I knew the entire time that the voice was wrong.

Yeah, friendly tip for those who also struggle with mental disorders, or know someone who does (which makes this a Venn diagram of EVERYONE); just because the voice isn’t winning out and making you believe that it’s correct doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Or that it isn’t being super persistent and annoying.

The second bout of anxiety came when HawtWife got home from her weekend away. We got to talking about what awesome things she’d done, and she was spending some time reconnecting with Nugget. And, out of nowhere, BAM! the second wave of anxiety hit. I started actually resenting HawtWife for going on her trip, but wrapping it in a delicious, nougat-y package of “you shouldn’t have gone because I’m making too many mistakes”. It was ludicrous, and, largely, it was spurred on by a level of jealousy. Not because HawtWife was gone. She needed the time, and desperately needed it with other adults. No, my jealousy was coming from a different angle.

See, when I’ve been gone for time over the last few months, all of those experiences have been, in some way, shape, or form, working. Not kicking back. Not relaxing. Not having fun. Working. This isn’t to say that the work I’ve been doing hasn’t been fun. After all, guys, I host a comedy show and I work with professional wrestlers. That’s pretty much a recipe for awesome right there. But part of my jealousy was spurred by the idea that she spends her daytime hours away from Nugget doing a job that she truly loves, and then spent a weekend off relaxing and being awesome. The second piece of jealousy actually came from the realization that she’s got some amazing friends who she can share such a deep connection with, they can talk about literally anything under the sun. Yes, anything. Yes, even about that. And probably that, too. Look, I haven’t actually been a fly on their wall, but I’m guessing that they’ve talked about that, too.

Anyway, maybe I just don’t realize it, but I don’t think I’ve got friends that I can just expose my each and every thought to. At least, not for an entire three-day weekend. I tend to believe that I’ve got people I can talk with, but, after an hour or so, it needs to step away from the darker, more serious corners, and venture towards something light-hearted. I might be incorrect, but that’s a belief that’s pretty hard to shake. And it might totally be a self-imposed situation, too (I want to be open, but I find it difficult to stay open for too long without straying towards trying to be funny). So, realizing that HawtWife has that, I got a little jealous. And having spent the entire weekend with only Nugget, who is totally amazing and awesome, but not a great conversationalist, made things a little strained.

Here’s the thing, though. Having anxiety about stuff like this? It’s normal, and it’s perfectly alright. These issues and ideas pop up, and, if you can’t make them go away on their own, them by all means, talk about them. It’s sometimes tricky to get the voices to back down when you’re flying solo, so getting an assist to help stifle them is awesome.

Of course, there’s always the other point. Even when you’re doing something you love, like I get to when I’m watching Nugget, you’ve gotta take time to take care of you. I happen to be a pretty strong introvert, and one of the ways I get my mojo back is by vegging out on the computer, or with video games. With just me and Nugget, it’s hard to find those moments to recharge my battery. Thankfully, after HawtWife spent the weekend off recharging hers, she was kind enough to let me recharge mine.

Yeah, I’m pretty damned lucky.

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