“I’m going to connect you to Poison Control.”
It wasn’t my typical morning commute.
In the stress known as waking up for the busiest day known to momkind with a headache the size of the city, I chit-chatted with the babysitter, grabbed a to-go breakfast I knew I couldn’t stomach, gulped three Advil and hit the road. A mile down the road, I realized those Advils I’d just ingested were no Advils at all. I’d just taken three 24-hour Claritins.
Paula-at-Poison-Control’s verdict was I’d be drowsy, but would live to tell the story. I was even allowed to drive. That was good news, as I pulled into my destination across town.
My first event of the day was a three-hour meeting. I dozed off in said meeting for.the.first.time.in.my.life. I was quickly (gosh, I hope it was quick. How long was I out?!) awoken by six sets of eyeballs and a snickering meeting facilitator. Drowsy indeed. A kind co-worker & friend texted me mid-afternoon to ask if I’d gotten a nap. No. I was sitting on the floor of the occupational therapy gym pretending to be notating home exercises for my son. In reality, I was fantasizing about a 20 minute nap on the nearby tumble mat. Yes, please! I’d hoped my glazed-over-look passed as attentive-mom, but I was fooling no one.
I bolted from an afternoon crammed with therapies and evals to help the PTO setup for meet-the-teacher. Aside from misplacing my kindergartner a few times, I managed simple tasks like lifting tables and transporting ice cream. Intelligible conversation with fellow parents and my kids’ new teachers, was more of a struggle. Though, it couldn’t possibly have been worse than our first go-round. Two years ago, I bombarded my first kindergartner’s teacher with an interview so long you’d have thought I wouldn’t see her again until June. Where do the kids eat lunch? What if he can’t open his containers? Where do I pick him up? What supplies should I buy? How do you feel about parent volunteers in your classroom? How many recesses does he get? Do I send a snack? Will you remind him to go to the bathroom? Will you help him with his zipper? Will he get lost in the hallway? All this with a line a mile behind me. I’m surprised his teacher didn’t have security haul me away.
This time around, I was way more relaxed. Super chill. I’ve-done-this-before chill. Or allergy-meds-overdose chill.
After the meetings, appointments, events, practices, meals all wrapped up for the day, I squinted as I summitted the stairs on my way to bed. Why, oh why, did my head still hurt so badly?
Oh, right. Because I never did actually get the Advil I’d needed that morning. Oops.
The Claritin had been on the needed-meds line-up. We’d spent the week sniffing, scrubbing and sorting mildewed possessions. Our house was a mildew showroom and my allergies were in full rebellion. But, taking three instead of one gave me no added benefit; it actually left me less-than-functioning. And taking Loratadine in place of Ibuprofen did nada for my headache.
I needed the right antidote for my ailment.
And I need the right antidote for my life ailments. But, I often find myself seeking the wrong remedy.
When I’m insecure, I swallow extra-strength comparison, pride, shame and worry. I need to swap that out for some over-the-counter truth, grace and worthiness.
When I’m afraid, I gulp down control like it’s Emergen-C. How about some perspective, trust and courage?
When I’m hurting, I grab the bottles of self-pity, blame and judgment. Instead, I need an Rx for self-empathy, community and vulnerability.
When I’m angry, I down venting, gossip, and revenge (well, at least in my head!). What I need is honesty, bravery and forgiveness.
And the list goes on. I need to take note of my symptoms, in the moment, and carefully grab the right medicine for my condition.
Otherwise, I sleep my way through life, which is unhelpful, dangerous and in a variety of contexts, embarrassing!