- 2 years ago
- Wedding: October 2015
As the title implies, I’m starting to think that I’ve gotten more introverted over the past couple of years and feel like I almost had a panic attack over the simplest of tasks: hosting my parents for Thanksgiving.
Backstory: I’m an only child and have always had a great relationship with my parents. My mom is like my BFF and is the kindest person I know. My dad, on the other hand, is a bit more draining to be around for long periods of time because he’s more of a control freak and tends to take over/dominate a conversation. There’s no such thing as a short conversation with him, which has gotten more difficult for me to deal with because I like to keep things short and to the point. That being said, we’re also probably way too alike because we’re both introverts, and we’ve always had a great relationship.
I’m also a classic introvert. Being around people too much drains my social battery, and I need time to recharge after a certain amount of interaction. But I also love my job as a college biology teacher and have no problems with public speaking, so riddle me that. Darling Husband is pretty much the only person I can be around indefinitely without feeling that social drain, and I adore him for that. Mom is a close second. With my dad, I can only handle him in small doses now before my battery is in the negative charge and I feel the need to go find a quiet room and stay there.
Now to the current situation. My parents live about five hours away and made the trip to see us for Thanksgiving, and things were going just fine up until this evening. Darling Husband got home from work, and he and Dad were going to take point on fixing some venison and quail for dinner to go with leftovers. No one did or said anything even remotely harsh or unkind, but I just found myself getting more and more stressed. Our kitchen isn’t very big, and it was rather chaotic with myself, Darling Husband, and Dad in there all trying to do things. Every five minutes Dad was asking me to grab him something or find something for him (Understandable. It’s our kitchen, and he doesn’t know where anything is.), and of course all the plates and cutting boards were in the dishwasher currently being washed because I forgot to start it earlier in the day. Then Dad was constantly calling for Mom in the living room to come help him with something. And the TV was going in the background. And I could tell Darling Husband was super tired from working outside all day and was worried about him. And there was just too. much. noise. Too many conversations going on at once. I finally managed to duck out of the house and hide out with Darling Husband by the grill and try and talk it out, and that helped a little. Then during dinner Mom would try to start a conversation and Dad would take over and talk about something completely different. And he kept sneaking the dogs tidbits until I finally had to tell him to stop. And anytime Mom and I had a moment in another room, she would try to ask if I’m okay only for Dad to call for her to come help him with something.
By the time Mom and I were in the kitchen cleaning up, I started feeling short of breath and almost lightheaded, and I had a lump in my throat from trying not to cry from stress. But I feel ridiculous for even feeling that way. I mean, these are my parents. No one other than Darling Husband knows me better, and I’ve never gotten so stressed from having them here. But at the same time, there’s literally nowhere in the house I can go to just…be by myself and out of earshot because our house is pretty small. It’s perfect for me, Darling Husband, and our pets but just feels too small when we have guests for multiple nights.
The thing is, under normal circumstances I tend to spend a lot of time by myself at home, and I love that. I do a lot of work from home, walk the dogs and take care of the pets by myself, do most of the cooking and cleaning on my own, and have free reign of the tv to watch my shows on Netflix or play music or whatever. So I’m wondering if I’ve gotten more introverted and less able to handle multi-day house guests because of that.
I’m currently in the spare bedroom that we converted in an office and am typing this out with the door closed, but I’m still feeling like any second I’m gonna hear Dad call my name or someone is gonna barge in to check on me, and I’m just gonna lose it. I don’t even get this stressed when hosting DH’s friends for several days because at least we all play board games together and have hobbies in common. At home, Dad spends his evenings in front of the tv or goes to the gym, and Mom teaches her martial arts classes or does her own thing. Out here, we live 25 minutes from a small town where the only entertainment is a movie theater or a bowling alley. My parents said they didn’t expect to be entertaing and just wanted to spend time with us, but…I’m worried they’re getting bored?!
Bees, what is going on with me?! Have I just hit my limit with the socialization and need quiet time to recharge? Or is something more serious going on in my head? Just in case anyone’s wondering, I’m not pregnant, I just got done with my period, and I am pretty well adjusted to my IUD. I have never received a diagnosis for any kind of anxiety or mental illness and have no preexisting health conditions. I’m 28, Darling Husband is 29, we’re happily married for just over two years, and we are childfree by choice.
I don’t even know if this makes any sense or flows in a logical order, but I feel a little better just typing this out. Even just an affirmation that I’m not the only one who feels this way would be incredibly reassuring. Thank you in advance!
ETA: I do not want to undermine or show any disrespect to anyone who deals with any form of anxiety or panic attacks. I know people can say, “Oh, I have anxiety” and not understand what people with anxiety disorders go through, and I don’t want to do that. I only ask because I’ve never dealt with a panic attack and may not recognize if/when one happens.