First, let’s start with an aside: I can’t believe I just used the word “frenemy.” I actually had to google the spelling. I’m a little ashamed. Come on, Stephanie; I thought you were better than that!
I’ve mentioned my anxiety before in relation to other aspects of my life – see “An Unashamed Therapy Dropout” for some background – but I never really spent any time just talking about the anxiety, the day-to-day kind of stuff. Now, I’m not going to do a post about “a day in the life of a thirty-something dealing with moderate to severe anxiety somewhat regulated by medicine and deep-breathing.” [Actually, I’m 29 for a couple of months still. Thirty-something just sounded better.] First of all, that is a really awful title and second, I’m not that comfortable letting you all into my head – need to keep some of the crazy on the down low. Also, down low. Really? Who am I turning into?
Here is the big problem with anxiety (it is similar to my problem with food) – you need it. Anxiety is a normal, healthy human response to stress. Unfortunately, when it gets out of hand anxiety is also a cold, heartless bitch that eats your last oreo without asking. If anxiety liked cookies, I mean. Let me give an example: On a good day, my anxiety causes me to concentrate on preparing for a lecture so I’m more comfortable speaking in public. On a bad day, my anxiety causes me to drive around a location a few times to work up the nerve to park and go inside. I’m not really sure what I am worried will happen when I go inside; I’m not always privy to that information and just have to trust the anxiety is rationally motivated [spoiler alert: it isn’t].
Phone calls. Oh man! Phone calls can be a killer. With the exception of my parents and my husband, I am always anxious when I have to call someone. It doesn’t matter if I know you, love you, have talked to you several times before, spoke with you an hour ago, etc. I realize that talking on the phone is something that a lot of my generation avoids. . but I can take the avoidance to a whole new level. My husband makes most of the phone calls to keep our household going – he makes the kids doctor’s appointments, talks to the little man’s therapists, schedules maintenance, etc. He can be off the phone before I can even think about working up the nerve to dial. So it works out. Recently, I had a list of approximately twenty people to call for a Junior League project. Talk about my worst nightmare – never hand a girl with phone anxiety a list of strangers to cold call. Yikes! I did it though. It took me days and I didn’t finish until the very last second of the deadline, but I did it. Thanks medication, I appreciate you!
Talking with my husband lately, I’ve been referring to “the problem with my brain” or “my brain is doing that thing again.” I don’t want to be anxious. I want things to be simple. I don’t want to have to close my eyes in bed at night and sing Christmas carols in my head to stop from dwelling on something. Yeah. . I really do that. It helps. Silent Night is usually my go-to.
I get anxious just about being anxious. That is messed up.
I’m feeling playful today, so my writing may sound a little tongue-in-cheek. I set out trying to have a serious conversation about my anxiety and ended up sharing a few tidbits that really aren’t a huge deal in the grand scheme. I’m not trying to make light of the anxiety though. It is a major problem for me and can be absolutely deliberating for some. If I’m being honest, I am already getting anxious that someone might react negatively to this post. I think this is the good kind of anxious though – the kind that keeps me thoughtful and insightful.