I left the house early that day because I needed to stop by Walmart to pick up a few things before work.
My oldest needed a plain red shirt for her school performance that day, and of course, my searches at Target and other stores came up empty. Why is it so hard to find a plain. red. shirt.?
Normally when I go to Walmart for a quick trip, I have to repeat the items that I am going in to pickup in my head. Otherwise, I’ll get distracted because they sell so many things and I’ll end up being there longer than I anticipated. Since this was a pre-work trip, I needed to stick to my list because I was under time constraints.
Sweatpants for the toddler (we were heading to New York, after all and he needed warm pants)
Maybe a Minecraft t-shirt for the kid’s Christmas stocking (this item was dependent on cost & availability)
I tell The Kid what my list is as we walk in the door, because she’s very good at keeping me on track, and we head in the doors.
We shop, we pay, we head back to the car.
I had what I needed and I was going to be on time for work. Huzzah!
As we approach the car I look into
the black hole my purse and start to dig for my keys… but I don’t see them. I thought I dropped my keys into my purse after we got out of the car, because that is what I usually do.
Come on. This is silly.
I put my purse down on the hood of the car and started digging for my keys. No dice.
Maybe they’re hooked to my belt loop… and no.
Maybe they’re in my Walmart bag of goods that I just purchased… negative.
I could feel my heart rate starting to increase. My stomach started to tangle into ALLOFTHE knots and my throat got tight.
Your keys are here… somewhere.
Self-talk sometimes help when I’m on the brink of a panic attack.
Okay. Let’s retrace your steps.
Maybe you set the keys down on a shelf while you were looking at clothes.
Or maybe you put the keys down by the register at self-checkout.
I’m sure they are in there somewhere.
Only the biggest store ever.
You’re never gonna find your keys.
AND you’re gonna be late for work.
AND The Kid is gonna be late for school.
All because you were careless and rushing and didn’t take the time to make sure that you put your keys in your purse.
I grab The Kid’s hand and walk quickly back into Walmart. I have to find my keys.
If I don’t find my keys how will I get to work?
GOD. A new key fob costs like $300.
Someone else will find my keys and then they’ll walk out into the parking lot pressing the panic button until they find my car.
Then, of course, they’ll steal my car.
While they’re out with my stolen car, they’ll go into the glove box and find my address on some random piece of paper.
Holy shit. Our address.
Then they’ll go to our house.
Then they’ll steal ALL OF OUR STUFF!!!
THIS IS HORRIBLE!!!
MUST. FIND. KEYS.
I retrace my steps:
Children’s clothing section- shirts. pants.
I pause to try and breathe.
Did I go anywhere else?
My heart is about to pound fully through my chest. My breaths are short and fast.
Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit.
I decide to try and look through my purse. Again.
My valet key!
When I bought the car, the dealership gave me 3 keys. I dropped the valet key in my purse and it has been in there since 2011. Why? Probably because Jesus knew I’d lose my keys at Walmart and need the valet key to get into my vehicle.
Great. Now I can get The Kid to school, but I still need my keys!
My house key is on there, my mailbox key…
I see a manager nearby, so I ask her if anyone turned in any keys.
Her: When did you lose them ma’am?
Me: Like five minutes ago??
Her: Where in the store were you?
Me: Children’s clothing.
Her: That’s it?
Her: Did you check the dressing room?
Me: I didn’t try anything on.
She gets on her walkie to see if anyone turned in keys.
Her: Nothing right now, but if you want to leave your information up at Customer Service, they can give you a call if someone finds them. Don’t worry, you’ll find them. This actually happens all of the time here.
I’m… not clear if that is supposed to make me feel better.
She was trying to be kind.
She doesn’t know what kind of full blown panic attack I’m having.
I head up to customer service to leave my information.
Me: Hi… I um. Lost my keys? I was wondering if anyone had turned any in up here?
Her: Did you check the dressing room?
Me: **Steam coming out of my ears.**
No ma’am, I didn’t go to the dressing room.
People must leave their keys in the dressing room all. of. the. time.
Eff this. I’m gonna retrace my steps one more time.
Her: Do you want to leave your information?
Me: You know what, I’m going to take my daughter to school, come right back and look all over this place again myself.
Her: Okay, well let me know if you want to leave your number here…
I march out of the store.
I’m angry at myself. At life. And I just start crying. I can’t breathe. My heart is pounding and even though I’ve found the valet key, I STILL DON’T HAVE MY KEYS. The Kid is gonna be late for school. I’m gonna be late for work. AND I HAVE NO KEYS.
I drive The Kid to school, drop her off, (“bye Mommy, I hope you find your keys” Bless her heart.) and zoom back to Walmart.
I decide to phone a friend who gets what it’s like to have a full-blown panic attack. She listens to my sobbing, reminds me that everything’s okay, and encourages me to go back and try to find my keys.
I call Customer Service on the drive back to see if anyone has dropped my keys off.
Nope. Not yet.
Someone now has my keys and when I go back in to find said keys, my car will be stolen.
Will my insurance company even consider it stolen if the person had the keys?
Ugh. So stupid, Dawana. STUPID. The Husband is not gonna be happy about this at all… you know, after they break into our house and steal all of our stuff.
Will we have to change the locks?
This is a nightmare.
I sat in my car in the parking lot for a few seconds and tried to practice techniques that I’ve been given by my therapist and push the negative thoughts out of my mind that everything was going to hell.
The problem is that I was already so far gone that there was no coming back.
I’m not going to find my keys.
This is officially the worst. day. ever.
I can’t believe I’ve done this.
STOP IT! Go get your damned keys!
I retrace my steps one more time. One more time, I don’t find my keys.
I stop myself from bursting into tears (again) and walk to the customer service counter. Defeated, I was ready to leave my information with them to contact me and call The Husband and tell him what happened.
A different woman was at the counter this time, so I ask again, if anyone had turned in keys this morning.
“What do your keys look like?” she said. “They have a small Florida Gators keychain and a large Darth Va-MY KEYS!”
She pulled them out of the drawer before I could even finish.
I really can’t explain the weight that came off of my chest as soon as I saw them.
Like a cloud being lifted from over my head, my anxiety and panic automatically panic. On the drive back to work I think about how irrational that all was. Of course no one was going to steal my car AND break into my house- why would they do that?
My anxiety said so.
This is how anxiety works.
Anxiety is a liar.
Anxiety is racing, irrational thoughts.
Anxiety clouds your judgement.
Anxiety makes you feel like you’re trapped while you’re spinning out of control.
Anxiety is painful, it affects you physically.
Anxiety affects you emotionally.
Anxiety is real.
Moral of the story? Don’t lose your keys. 😉