The past week has been ROUGH. Like, hiding in the bathroom at work to just breathe for a minute rough.
Really, I am just maintaining right now. Going to work, taking care of my kid, and sleeping. It’s all I can muster. But, I made myself a couple promises that I just have to keep. First, I would try very hard to post once a week. Second, I would be honest. When everyone hides their ugly, it appears like no one has it. And that makes us all feel so horribly alone. Well it’s just not true. So, bear with me, here’s a piece of my ugly. Hopefully this all comes out coherently.
This time around, my ugly is all about anxiety. There is this persistent anxiety following me around and sometimes it peaks into a panic attack. Even when I know logically there is nothing I should be panicking about, I still can’t stop them and I get sweaty, take shallow breaths, and feel like I need to get away and be anywhere but where I am.
It doesn’t last forever but this panic makes me feel exhausted when it is over and I just can’t think. So then I become irritable, apathetic, and of course, I cry. Not only do I not want to be around anyone, I feel like I don’t care about anything. At this point I really try to cocoon and recover. It is not always possible, but it is what I want to do. Isolate.
At some point, the cycle starts again. I get anxious and start doing things like picking at the dry skin on my fingers or overthink the littlest things. Like maybe I should get something comforting for lunch, but should I spend the money? Then lunch becomes a new panic.
I either sleep too much or can’t sleep at all. I pick dumb fights with my husband or ignore him completely. Everything is extreme and black and white. There is no grey. I get a horrible case of FOMO, even when I don’t want to see anyone. I also get upset comparing myself to others online. Why do they get to go on a luxury vacation?! Well, anxiety Jen, it is probably because they worked really hard for it. But in that moment, it is because the world is unfair. More crying ensues.
So, after years of hard work, I have a list of things I know I need to do when I feel this way. I never want to do anything on the list, but sometimes I just have to push and do it anyways. The other side is better, even if my panic brain doesn’t think so.
This weekend I am trying to focus on this list. First, in the worst moments, I just need to stop and breathe. Breathe through the anxiety. I remember my therapist telling me to take deep breaths and it would help. In my head I was like, “lady, I know how to breathe, just fix me!” but now I know that isn’t even possible. There is no way for anyone else to fix you. And, the deep breathing is scientifically proven to lower heart rate and lessen anxiety, so sorry therapist lady, you were right.
If that doesn’t work, I get outside. Especially if it is cold outside, this helps pull me out of panic. Nature and the cold air reset me somehow. At this time of year the cold is good, but I do miss the sun.
Then there is meditation. I know there is a lot of talk about meditation and it seems like a fad, but I have found it very helpful to do at the beginning and end of my day. It sets the tone for the day and that tone is peaceful.
The next few things kind of go hand in hand. I need to get the anxiety out somehow and I can do that by venting to a trusted friend or family member, journal, join a support group, or get with a therapist. Just get that shit out somehow. It is a heavy burden to carry and you do not have to do it alone. There are not many instances that talking or writing about it doesn’t help at least a little bit. But, I don’t let myself vent without doing any other work on my own. Like I said before, no one can fix you, but they can help you figure out what will help. Feeling less alone is big for me.
At the end of the day, I know the bad feelings won’t last forever, so I also have to be patient. Do the things and know that nothing lasts forever. So hopefully by next week I can write something a bit better, but for today, this is my best. And I know that is ok, even if I don’t feel it right now.Let's connect