You know how sometimes it seems like you’re Doing The Right Thing and it ends up totally biting you on the ass? No? Maybe it’s just me. I am incredibly talented when it comes to digging large holes which I later trip and fall into and wonder what the heck happened.
So, take my current, ahhh, situation. I’m fine! No, really, I’m just fine! Perfectly fine! See, that’s my stance the majority of the time. I mean, sure, technically I am so far from fine that I remember fine about as well as I remember high school trigonometry, but I am not going to unload on every random person who asks how I am. Or on my coworkers. That’s what the internet is for! Haha!
Wait, where was I? Oh yes. The fine and the not-fine and the Doing The Right Thing that totally isn’t. It’s all coming back to me now.
So here I am, not-fine, yet trying to get along as best I can, doing what I need to do, etc. And despite all of the incessant whining I do here, it may surprise you to know that I actually manage a pretty good front, most of the time. And that’s fine with me; my coworkers do not need to know I’m having panic attacks, for example. Every single person I know does not need to hear the blow-by-blow of whether I managed to get through the day without ativan.
This is otherwise known as putting up a brave front. It comes in handy. Particularly with the kids.
Anyway, a while ago–before this craziness began–I agreed to sing at a wedding. The wedding is this coming weekend. To be clear: I was not asked very far in advance. I assumed that something had happened to whomever was originally slated to sing, but I didn’t ask, because I didn’t really care. I was asked, I said yes; whatever.
Last week, I realized I didn’t think I was going to be able to handle this commitment. I called the person who hired me and said, “Hi, please don’t be angry, but is there any way you could replace me? I don’t think I can do this.” We talked, and she made it clear that replacing me at this point would be nearly impossible, and asked me what was going on. I gave a very Cliff Notes version (“I am experiencing some severe anxiety”) and she assured me I’d be fine. In fact, she went on and on about how I always manage to deal with everything and this would be no different, and it wasn’t a very long song and it’d be no problem and she’d see me for rehearsal.
I really wanted to believe her. I didn’t, actually. I knew she was wrong. But she obviously believed I’d be fine, and hey, that sounded good! Plus she made it sound like only a real loser would back out now, and since I’m JUST FINE I don’t want to be that loser!
Mostly, I just didn’t know how to say “No, I am not fine.” I expend so much energy pretending to be, even when I admit to anything less, people don’t believe me.
So another week went by, and instead of feeling better I am feeling worse, and the thought of getting up to sing at a wedding when just getting out of bed in the morning is a herculean effort is enough to make me cry. Literally. There is just no way.
Naturally I did the mature and sensible thing befitting a person of my Perfectly Fine status. I called my friend the pastor’s wife and cried all over her until she offered to have her husband (who would, after all, be performing the wedding in question) intervene on my behalf. I explained that I’d already attempted to withdraw without success. My friend assured me that they would figure it out, not to worry, etc.
Tonight I found out that the music director not only pitched a hissy, she demanded that I call the bride personally to apologize. Because I am naughty. And, apparently, 4 years old.
Listen, I understand that I suck. I understand that she’s pissed and probably embarrassed and that the bride is going to be disappointed and all of that. I get it. But 1) I’ve worked with this woman for 5 years now, and she knows I don’t just blow stuff off or randomly decide to let people down, 2) I tried to give her enough notice to find a replacement, and 3) If I can’t handle doing this gig because I’m having so much emotional distress, how on God’s green earth does any thinking person with a soul even SUGGEST that I personally phone the bride?
“Hi, is this Bride? Yeah, this is Mir. I was supposed to sing at your wedding this weekend. Except I’m not going to, because I suck. Also because I am losing my mind, but I’m sure that’s completely secondary to you having your dream wedding, so, um, my sincere apologies. I have to go slit my wrists now, but I’m sure you and your husband will be very happy.”
I don’t think so.
Now, in addition to my frustration and zillion other less-than-positive emotions about my current situation, I am FURIOUS with this woman for not having a shred of compassion for what is already a fairly agonizing situation for me. I am already completely mortified. I don’t expect her to tell me “oh, that’s okay” but come ON.
In case you were wondering, I also haven’t finished that report for work, I skipped the “Parent Appreciation Party” at school, and I packed Monkey the same sandwich two days in a row because he didn’t eat it the first day. I’ll be issuing all apologies on a first offended, first served basis. Feel free to add whatever transgression I’ve visited upon you to the list and I’ll be sure to get to it… sometime.
Right now I’m a little busy standing in the corner.
Too late now but I think I would have called in sick from the “emergency room” and let them deal. Okay maybe not really but after the attitude I think I’d just not answer my phone. You’ve given notice. Let them use a CD. Not to be rude but no one at the wedding really cares even though I’m sure when you are in form you have a beautiful voice. The bride needs to get perspective. It isn’t Broadway, it is her commitment to husband (and visa versa). And if it was Broadway they’d use the standin.
“3) If I can’t handle doing this gig because I’m having so much emotional distress, how on God’s green earth does any thinking person with a soul even SUGGEST that I personally phone the bride?”
4) how on God’s green earth do they think they’re going to like it when, as a result of their pressure, you stand up to sing and a) pass out b) throw up or c) twirl your head around ala Exorcist and toss your FemRing into the congregation! Geez…they need to cut you some slack.
Yeeeeeaaah. Fay hit the nail on the head. I was thinking the exact same thing. If you are stressing this much just thinking about singing, what do they think is going to happen when you are pressured into it. Better to back out now than “ruin” the wedding by freezing up or freaking out.
Anxiety sucks. I know. My Xanax knows.
So uh… did you make that call today? I wasn’t online earlier to check. :hug:
Let it go. You don’t have to please the director. You know you aren’t faking this. Life is going to go on … the bride can buy a tape or have piano music or something. Life is going to go on. This isn’t like you not showing up to perform some life saving surgical procedure :)
It’s a sad world we live in when we value the “job” or “service” someone does over the actual “person”
I’m sorry, Mir. Maybe Adam Sandler can stand in for you?
(I know, it’s not the reception, “just” the wedding, it’s my lame-ass attempt at levity)
Hey! I know…I can make my gurgly boob do tricks…It could be my first gig!
I’m so less than thrilled with the music director at your church – talk about someone who’s definitely not overflowing with the milk of human compassion…!
As for the rest of the people you mistakenly believe you owe apologies to? Not hardly…
ahhhh…the faithful ones who work at the church. Isn’t it wonderful? Such a fine example of human compassion!
I hope you start feeling better soon.
Concentrate on doing what’s right for you. Thinking about the utter lack of compassion from other people is only going to add to your anxiety. You have to take car of you first.
You know, I hate that “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” crap that people hand out when they don’t have the slightest idea what it’s like to be in your position. You’ve done the right thing. You owe the bride NOTHING. You owe the music director NOTHING. You only need to do what’s best for you and your kids and that’s what you’re doing.
Hang in there. Keep writing – and when you feel down, remember you’re an inspiration to total strangers like me on those days when only a heavy dose of humor will get us through the day without jumping out our office windows.
*the. damn. window. won’t. OPEN!*
*BANGING, general SCREAMING*
Quit worrying about what other people think.
Don’t you dare feel bad for not singing at the wedding AND Don’t you dare let anyone make you feel bad for not singing.
The ceremony will be fine and the music director will get over it.
This is the right thing to do for you and for the wedding. You wouldn’t want to make a “memory” for the couple and their guests.
If the music director acts mad or pitches a “hissy” you can put a stop to it. Tell him/her you are ill and very hurt by his/her behavior. Sounds like the music director is the one that owes an apology.
Cindy nailed the word choice on the head: when mental stuff happens, the happen-ee is ill. For lawd’s sake. What do you think the music director would’ve said if you had dysentery or acute appendicitis? Some people who haven’t had to cope with mental illness don’t seem to ‘get’ that it isn’t just a sobfest, that psychic pain is real pain, and just as genuinely debilitating as a raging bacterial infection.
You do not suck. And having a panic disorder is not a character flaw. I love you, so there.
I agree with Jilbur, Cindy nailed it.
Anybody taking odds that the reason you were asked so close to the wedding is because the original soloist backed out because s/he didn’t want to work with the musical director?
So many people to smack, so little time, but Bridezilla has been added to my list. You have the Blogosphere’s permission to go back to bed and tell the Universe to get bent.
Its all pretty much been said above: the musical director is an asshat-ess only thinking of herself, not the bride much less you; i’m sure the bride & groom won’t even notice (they would have definately noticed your Linda Blair impression if you did try to perform).
Don’t look to others for validation, look into yourself and see that you are a good person – the person that I (we all) see here. You are warm and loving mother, friend, daughter, girlfriend, human being. You have a duty to yourself and your loved ones to do the right thing for you. These other people can look out for themselves.
Mir, you’re having panic attacks. Ativan = no good for panic attacks. Hail thee to thy doctor post haste. Seriously. You should be on klnopin, xnax, something better for panic. Trust me. I know how you feel, and I know HOW MUCH it sucks, and how it feels like it will never end. But it will. Just don’t stop asking for help.
I so totally know what you mean. It does get better.
And the music director? So needs some growing up. If you can’t do it, you can’t do it. You told the bride – that’s all you need to do.
And the bride? Seriously needs some compassion. If you are wigging out over it like this – then you can’t do it. Plain and simple. She can get a CD.
You? You did the right thing for all concerned and shouldn’t worry about this any more. You are in the right.
Also – You can’t change what happened or is happening – but you CAN change how you react to it and feel about it. (easier said than done, but it works)
I too am particularly fond of digging myself holes that I can’t climb out of. Except that I usually try to pull myself up by those proverbial bootstraps mentioned above and usually end up miserable. I am proud of you for not only saying no but for doing so in the face of someone who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Try to have a relaxing guilt-free weekend and remember that you and your family are the most important.
Oh, Mir! If it’s any comfort at all, I suck too. I’m suddenly SLEEPWALKING most nights, for heaven’s sake, and I don’t even have anything strange crammed into my nether regions. Gah!
Bridezilla needs to have a bit of Christian compassion, methinks.
Get thee out of the naughty corner sugar and straight to “someone who cares”. Screw the glowing bride ( no, not literally. That’s what the groom’s for ) and take care of what YOU need. That is all.
Your guardian angel. ^j^
That’s what the groom’s for? HEEE. Ah, Mir, I’d fill in for you if I was even on the same side of the world. But there’s no way they should be pushing you to it. That’s stupid and gr if you want you can totally sic your blogfriends on them.
“Feel free to add whatever transgressions I’ve visited upon you….”
Ok, here’s my list of your transgressions.
1)You haven’t taken proper care of Mir.
That’s it. That’s the only thing you should be punished for.
Feel better soon, sweetie. Smacks all around to the bride and the music director.
It sounds like I need to kick someone in the shins for you…just let me know.
Hi, no you don’t…
WHO’s the 4-year old in this story? Did the music director stamp her foot as part of her hissy fit? Screw them all!
Anyone who hears you say you’re experiencing “severe anxiety” and goes on to blithely say you’ll be “fine,” getting up to sing at a wedding is a self-absorbed idiot.
You’re not “naughty” you’re ill. You’re having panic attacks. You can barely get out of bed. And weddings are rarely favourite occasions for those of us divorced at the best of times.
Let Bridezilla and the music director from hell figure it out. If this music director can’t find someone at the last minute, I agree with DOG. It’s because no one will work with the bitch.
You take care of you. Monkey and Chickadee need a well mom more than that wedding needs a singer.
And if they give you any more grief, you let us know! Your faithful readers will come down there and smite them on their pompous little heads!
You have to let it go, that is the only way to break the anxiety cycle. Your description of your problem is that “you suck” you have to admit and believe that you have an illness..albiet temporary. I am wondering if you let some of that ambiguity seep into your converstion when you tried to call things off…people pick up on it. Its OK Mir, its not forever…just like illness it requires time – thats why convalesing is such a pain in the neck. People do eventually get it, especially if you yourself are firm about it.
Take care. Mary
Just wanted to add to what Tiny Coconut said. In my own personal experience with anxiety, ativan doesn’t make a dent. I can’t even tell I’ve taken it when I’m in that place where I feel like I want to jump right out of my skin.
Xanax is better, it packs a bit more of a wallop. Because when I’m so anxiety ridden that I can’t even drive for fear of crashing the car, I need something that will nip it in the bud.
Sigh. I think this is the first time I ever saw your blog. I have no words of advice or comfort or anything. But for whatever it’s worth, you have made me feel a little better. Being “fine” all the damn time sucks.