I took on the job of “team manager” for my kid’s soccer team after 4 emails to parents begging for volunteers. I didn’t understand the job and I didn’t have the time, but I stepped up because I lose willpower with each request for assistance in that kind of situation. And…well…I’ve been overwhelmed and/or lost about this obligation since pretty much the second I stepped up. High School sports are no joke and I come in with almost zero experience in competitive-level sports of any kind as my kids played rec league which was all volunteer run and every kid was required to play at least half the game. At this level coaches are paid and winning is the objective. Period. SO THIS IS ALL NEW TERRITORY FOR ME.
I’ve been keeping notes of things that I think would help with onboarding future team managers because I’m not sure they’ve ever had such a newbie step into this position and just in case it happens again, I figured my notes would be helpful. But I don’t know, maybe this is just how it goes, chaos and confusion when you step into a volunteer job as a parent who has never even played one season of a sport with this organization before.
Anyway…my point is that this job is making me lose sleep. A LOT. And I sometimes get down on myself thinking about friends with chronic illness or sick kids or who have lost jobs or don’t make enough money to save for their kid’s college and I’m sitting here losing sleep over the obligations of a volunteer job with my kid’s sport.
I mean, logically I understand that’s not how anxiety works. There’s no “normal” scale of what triggers panic in everyone and what doesn’t. My doctor explained to me that anxiety disorders start when anxiety disrupts your ability to live a “normal” life, or to manage relationships, or to complete necessary tasks. And everyone’s brain is different in how it reacts to certain stimuli and so everyone has a different response and threshold to what impairs their ability to live a “normal” life.
And last night, as I was up working on a puzzle just to calm/distract my mind after frustration when parents voiced they didn’t like the notification method I chose (What I didn’t say: Do you want this job? I don’t want it. If you want to control how to notify parents feel free to take this job from me.) I was thinking: THIS IS DEFINITELY DISRUPTING MY ABILITY TO LIVE A NORMAL LIFE.
For Chrissakes, it was not even a week ago when I shut down my Facebook over a toxic shame reaction to a correction made to one of my posts. What the eff, Kim? Can’t you handle any mild disturbance in your life without some sort of Mayday! Mayday! level of panic?
I just…when my anxiety flares up it’s like I can’t turn off the damn voices in my head putting words to my worry. When it happens during the day I find myself trying to distract my brain from the voices…often with unhealthy things like food or social media. And at night I just toss and turn and cry at my inability to sleep when I’m tired because I’m there’s so much of my brain who says: THIS IS STUPID, JUST QUIT STRESSING ABOUT IT. But the chemicals have already fired in my body to indicate stress and I’m already panicking and none of that helps and I just find myself staring at a puzzle through exhausted eyes trying to distract myself from the panic and waiting for my benzodiazapene to kick in.
And also hope it works. Because sometimes it doesn’t.
I just get mad at myself and my brain. I want to be the kind of person who can take on a short-term volunteer job and not have it cause insomnia-producing anxiety. I want to be the kind of person who can listen to a critique or complaint and filter it as “important” or “not important” and then process it accordingly without it pulling focus from every other area of my life. I want to be the kind of person who shows up at social events and never once hides in the bathroom and cries over a social faux pas. I want to be the kind of person who can be in a crowd and not have to do her breathing exercises just to avoid crying in fear. I want to be the kind of person who can go to a new building without having to Google Earth the parking or called an office manager to ask, “How does the entrance to your building work?”
I just get so mad at my anxiety sometimes and how much it affects my life and how other people handle much bigger challenges without life-disrupting panic or medication or therapy.
Some days I just feel really down on myself for how terrible my brain is.
And I’m probably feeling that strongly this morning because I GOT SO LITTLE SLEEP LAST NIGHT and exhaustion does not inspire good mental health. IT IS ALL A TERRIBLE CYCLE AND I JUST GET SO MAD ABOUT IT SOMETIMES.
Anyway. Be kind to everyone. Especially people who are volunteering to help with your kid’s extracurricular activities. You never know what kind of battles anyone is fighting just to get themselves out the door every day.