Monday, February 11, 2013

Anxiety. It's like being forced to watch The Bachelorette

By early this afternoon, I had to declare today a complete and utter anxiety write-off.

Some days are just like that. And that's okay.

I woke up this morning with that shrill feeling in my chest. The one I would normally try to ignore, stomp down, get over, maybe use as an excuse to eat six cupcakes. I used to spend so much time fighting this feeling, and it would wear me down more than the anxiety does on its own. I've learned my lesson.

I used to try and figure out why my heart feels like it might blow up. But I'm learning - ever so slowly because I'm quite the stubborn bitch - to stop barraging my already fragile psyche with questions. I can always find a reason why I'm feeling this way; this week I could say it's because the house is up for sale, my dad had a heart attack, and I have a mound of other responsibilities on my plate at the moment. But that's not really what's going on. I have many high-stress days that I deal with just fine. In fact, I would say that at least 95% of my days are managed with an appropriate level of anxiety. More or less.

And the other 5%? Those are days like today. Those are days when the world seems held together by aging duct tape, when my life appears to be showing its true colours through chipped paint. Just on the other side is emotion, bright and raw and ugly. My confidence is peeling, wavering.  The dark thoughts I easily keep at bay most days start to drip through.

You're not good enough.

You're not strong enough.

You can't cope.

Nobody likes you.

My view is skewed by the constant vice in my chest. It twists and binds and makes me worry. It steals my ability to think, to function at the level I'm used to.

But rather than deny it or try to fight against it, I've learned to accept it, in a way.

Anxiety has helped me be a vigilant parent. It's helped me advocate for my children when they need me to. Thanks to anxiety, I've been known to create decent pieces of writing on strict deadlines. It keeps me alert and focused when I have to be, and helps me remember crucial information, like everyone's coffee order.

Anxiety and I hang out a lot. We're buddies, I guess. Sort of. You know, when he doesn't get too big for his britches. But sometimes he does. Every friend has faults, though. I mean, I can be wildly opinionated and full of myself, and yet people still send me Christmas cards, and not even just those people who feel obligated to do so.

On those rare days when Anxiety gets all up in my shit, I've learned it's just part of our dance. Picture us sitting on the couch with a bowl of popcorn between us, fighting over the remote. I want to watch The Walking Dead and he wants to watch The Bachelorette. I hate The Bachelorette more than I hate pleather pants, but if I only have to watch it every so often, I can live with that.

Today was a Bachelorette day. Thankfully not in the literal sense because as much as I was all "It's cool watching a show I hate in the name of compromise", I would have had to claw my eyes out with a fork.

I woke up feeling off and it's not going to go away because I want it to. It's only going to go away when I stop stressing about how stressed out I am; when I accept that this is the type of day it is, and that I'm (surprisingly) an imperfect human being who sometimes is going to have imperfect days. I did two hours of actual work and then raised the white flag of surrender. I've spent the rest of the day cleaning the house, watching dumb YouTube videos and retweeting other people's funny stuff because I don't feel very funny at all.

And I took a picture of myself, which is now my Facebook profile pic. I wanted to call it "This is my new profile picture. Because fuck anxiety" but decided my grandmother probably wouldn't appreciate that as much as I do.


I really should have called it
"Because fuck bad hair days."

Also, I currently have six boys in my house. My kids and three of their friends. Did I mention it's a PD day? Did I mention "PD" is also short for "Panic Disorder"?

I don't believe in coincidence.

I'm quite sure this day will bring me to that calm, peaceful place any time now.