On Anxiety

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.

Margaret Thatcher

For me, there are different grades of anxiety. They range from the “Do I have something in my teeth” and “Why is that guy staring at me?” to the full blown “I need to get out of here” as I’m scrambling on my hands and knees up the side of a cliff on the edge of the Grand Canyon. I’ve had varying shades of success with dealing and even eliminating what is probably termed “social anxiety” (except it still bothers me when guys look at me a certain way), but the paralyzing fear of heights is still one I’ve not overcome. I’ve also dealt fairly well with the anxiety I sometimes feel when I do something I think is stupid or not well thought out, and generally that doesn’t happen often anymore (not because I do less stupid things, but because I’ve learned to accept and forgive imperfection in myself). So today when I got caught up in something that a more logical me would have processed cautiously and not taken to the extreme, I realized I’m on edge.

To say that I’ve been overwhelmed at work the past week is an understatement. Add into that some personal things happening in my life; well, today’s rumors and happenings in my community just pushed my nerves into overdrive. That creepy crawly feeling just under my skin started, and I found myself pacing to discharge energy and talking waaayyyy too much to people I probably shouldn’t have to get it out of my mind. After catching myself walking back and forth aimlessly in my house for 15 minutes, I took a positive move and went to pick up my children from school. Getting out of the house, out of thoughts running around and around in my mind of possibilities I couldn’t control and answers I couldn’t get, helped to seed a calm. Breathing deeply the crisp air, with a hint of spring, eased my anxiety in stages. As I started to think clearly, I mapped out actions that would positively impact the worse possibility should it happen. The world seemed to right itself. That brief moment in time, where I was disconnected from reality eased, and when I looked at the sky I felt grounded.

If you know me, you know I have a thing about control. It’s something I struggle with in gradients, because it has both positive and negative attributes, and generally it’s a positive. But there are times such as today, where so much in my life is skewed, that a large deviation from the normal triggers what I am usually able to obviate or easily mitigate. I’ve learned in these times to see it as an alarm, a wake up call, and take a closer look at what I think I’m handling well. And if I’m really honest, the thought “all control is an illusion” echos in the deep recesses of my mind. And I don’t know what to do with that yet.

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