I wanted to share this guest blog post from Nikki, a fellow mental health blogger. This is the second guest from Nikki. You can find her @ https://digitalbutterfly.life
( A Guest Blog Post)
Time Anxiety – The Panic Behind Being Late
Keeping to a routine and following a schedule are key things which help me balance my anxiety, but they also cause me one of the greatest problems. Time Anxiety.
This may not be a medical term, but it’s part of my Generalized Anxiety Disorder and something I struggle to get to grips with.
Over the years I’ve done Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), delving into my inner thoughts and unconscious beliefs about myself. But I never considered looking into this trigger. Why does being late or even the idea of it, send me into such a panic?
Timing with Children
I’m always clock watching. Perhaps that’s part of being a parent? School drop off and pick up, after school clubs, parents’ evenings, nap times, meal times, bed times. Everything has a time association. And if you’re late, there’s a consequence.
God help me if my youngest doesn’t eat on time. He becomes over hungry and grumpy as hell, which means he won’t eat anything. Then he’s even hungrier which means he won’t sleep properly. Consequently, I get no sleep, I’m exhausted and I can’t cope with things as easily the next day.
If my eldest is late for school, he’s the one who gets the yellow card, not me. My incompetency as a parent to get him to school on time would affect his ability to have playtime at school. And I don’t want that.
A Time Focused Life
But isn’t everything in life built around time? Meetings at work, project deadlines, appointments. If you’re late, there are repercussions. Missed bonuses, delayed treatments, job loss!
Even relaxing things have a time constraint. Going on vacation? Make sure you don’t miss your plane! Going to a concert? Make sure you get in before the doors close! It’s no wonder I’m anxious about being late.
But it’s not just being late myself that stresses me out. It’s others around me too. My husband is the worst culprit. He’s generally late. But he doesn’t care. He poodles along at his laid-back pace, jumping in the shower 5 minutes before we are due to be somewhere. He whistles as he gets ready, without a care in the world, while I’m having an internal meltdown. I check my watch constantly in fantastical hope that time will freeze or go backwards and we won’t be late. I tap my foot and sigh loudly. My heart’s racing, my jaw clenching and my thoughts spiralling repetitively.
“We’re going to be late. We’re going to be late”
We generally are. And what happens? Apart from us arguing, NOTHING. If we miss the train, we get another one. If we miss an appointment, we re-book. Late to a party, no-one cares!
Finding an Answer
If my husband can be so nonchalant about time, why can’t I? Why I am I unable to mentally differentiate between truly urgent timescales and routine based timescales. Those which, if missed, wouldn’t be the end of the world. Why do I panic if I don’t get the washing in the machine at a certain time or don’t leave the house at a certain time to get to the shop?
Control perhaps. Anxiety makes me feel completely out of control and time is one of those things in life, that you can’t control. You never know what’s around the corner that could affect your perfectly laid plans.
Or perhaps, yet again, it boils down to my underlying core-belief, that I am a failure. And every time I’m late, even if it’s just to do my own washing, it re-confirms that belief.
“I’ve failed to feed my children. I’ve failed to provide enough clean clothes. I’ve failed as a mother.
I’ve failed to be heard by my husband. I’ve failed to gain his respect. I’ve failed as a wife.”
It’s a bleak subconscious mind which constantly believes it’s failing.
Now that I seem to have uncovered a possible reason for my time anxiety, perhaps it’s time to return to my lessons from CBT. Bring my dark thoughts before my mental jury and challenge them.
Nikki is a mental health blogger and freelance writer at https://digitalbutterfly.life