Not trying to be weird or funny this post, unlike most of my efforts here. If you’re looking for a laugh or a head scratch, look elsewhere (well, you might still get that head scratch, though a little different from what I usually offer). If you’re looking for a possible way to cope with anxiety, you might find something of interest here. Or not.
You’ve been warned.
I’ve been under a lot of stress of late, dealing with levels of anxiety I haven’t experienced…ever before.
Not debilitating anxiety, but at times it gets damn close.
And I’ve been on vacation the last couple of weeks, which coming with its own holiday stressors, has done nothing to mitigate that anxiety.
Sure, the current state of our government is a significant contributor to my woes, but it is not the only one.
I’m worried about: property taxes, bills (Xmas shopping billing cycle is about to hit), income taxes, plumbing (both in the house and in me), getting my car smogged, returning to work after an extended absence (that never goes pleasantly), getting (another) flat tire while in the particular middle of nowhere that resides exactly halfway between home and the relatives we visited, and a host of other things I choose not to share here.
Bottom line: there’s a lot out there to feel helpless about, and boy am I managing to do just that.
The stress has been around for months, if not over a year, but really notched itself up in the last few weeks.
Suffice it to say I’m walking around with a knot in my stomach almost, but not quite, bad enough to make me throw up. Sure, it’s quite enough to keep me up at night, and make me feel almost constantly nauseous, and do who-knows-what to my physical and mental well-being. But am I going to get the sort of relief I immediately feel when I’m sick and then puke?
I’ve taken to reading happy / inspirational / funny news stories as a distraction before bed to take the edge off the panic I’m trying to quietly endure so as to not freak out the kiddos.
Except that’s not working either. At least one has noticed, so add that to the list of things I’m anxious about.
The good news sampling does help, though. In the moment. The effect fades with time once I stop. But in the moment…it’s like a piece of floating wreckage to cling to after your ship has sunk and you’re bobbing, pretty much hopeless and screwed, in a wide open, empty ocean.
Makes you feel OK for a bit, but then you remember you’re cold and wet and lost and screwed if a ship doesn’t appear on the horizon soon.
And your boat didn’t sink near any of the well-traveled shipping routes.
But I do manage to eventually get to sleep thanks to that temporary salve.
I’ve also found another treatment that helps me cope:
When I write, I forget I’m anxious.
Except right now, because I am very foolishly writing about anxiety.
Writing for me is like temporary amnesia. I’ve been working on a couple of short stories and while I work on them, the ugly world around me falls away and I lose myself in my fictional settings.
Creativity flows. Ideas come.
I gain some control in a life that feels otherwise uncontrollable.
I forget to feel helpless.
I start to feel good.
It doesn’t last forever, obviously, but the carry-over effect lasts longer than reading the good news stories.
So I suppose I’ve got writing. Now if I could just find more time to do that amongst all the obligations and responsibilities in my life.
Great. Something else to worry about…