Crossing The Bridge of Anxiety
This is the face of anxiety.
This is the face of panic attacks.
This is the face of someone who has felt embarrassed, crazy, and alone when this happens.
It’s still happening. And I don’t know how to make it go away.
Some days are great, like yesterday when I spent the day snow tubing with my family. The sun was shining, everybody was happy and excited to go spend the day in the snow and it felt great.
Then, this morning happened. A morning that I have woken up to so many times.
See that’s what happens when you have anxiety. You can go for months with no physical symptoms. There’s still stress (who doesn’t have stress in their life?) but the physical manifestation of those feelings don’t present themselves that often. According to my doctor, it had been two years since my last anxiety episodes.
Today I woke up with a heaviness in my brain and in my chest. It’s Monday so, let’s face it, the start of the work week can be tough. Am I right? (Insert chuckle here)
What you don’t know is that for the last year+, my work life has been stressful, overwhelming at times, and most recently, very toxic. I’ve seen it coming for a while. However, similar to a bad relationship, I thought if I held on, put in an endless amount of effort, and focused on the end goal, it would get better. It didn’t. It got worse. And the only one that paid the price was me. Well, and my family since let’s face it, I’m not at my best when anxiety comes around.
Someone very dear to me once told me that “I’d rather have four quarters than one hundred pennies. Less to weigh you down but it matters just the same.” This is so very true. I have friends but I don’t let things engulf me like I used to. I know when to let the little things go. Or when there’s too much weighing me down.
Yet there are times when I often think that I should know better.
“You’re the only one who has the power to be the best you...Nobody else can do that for you.” - Jessica Simpson, Open Book
I’ve spent the majority of my adulthood focusing on not taking things personally in my professional life. I’ve really gotten better at it. However, where I really struggle is in my career.
I’ve tried to learn as I go. In the beginning, I was too nice and didn’t come across as headstrong. Then I was told that I came across as too rough. So, my new emotional response is to freeze. I become quiet and hold back. Don’t get me wrong. I know what I’m doing in my career but somehow in rough situations, I lose my voice. Frozen in the fear of either getting it wrong or being told that I’m wrong. And guess what? The majority of the time, I’m right. I know what I’m doing. I just freeze with anxiety.
I won’t go down the rabbit hole of the psychological aspects of why so, let’s just say that I’m aware. Which wouldn’t be a problem if I could find a way to work around the anxiety that rears its head when it all seems to be too much.
I’ve been reading Jessica Simpson’s latest writing called “Open Book”. Can I tell you how strong, amazing, and unbelievably smart this woman is?! Read her book and you’ll understand.
There is one statement that she makes that stood out so clear to me: “You’re the only one who has the power to be the best you...Nobody else can do that for you.”
A lot of times this is easier said than done, but I still keep telling myself this quote every day. Along with “You are strong, you are smart, and you are able to get through this day.” This quote means a lot when you have anxiety because you frequently wonder if you will make it through the day.
So, why am I sharing all of this with you when I’m still in the trenches of fighting this battle? Because it’s lonely here.
“Stop. Stop holding on to the little shit and take a look around at what you do have around you that IS positive.”
The one overwhelming feeling that I have when I am in the thick of not being able to breathe, of feeling like my heart is going to beat out of my chest, when I feel like I want to scream but I can’t muster the air to push it out - I feel alone. Miserably alone. Like no one will understand. Like no one will want to touch this side of crazy. Like no would understand that I want these feelings to stop.
So, if you feel any of this, I get you. I understand how you are feeling. I get that you think that people in your world are looking at you under a microscope.
But I also understand that this isn’t crazy. This isn’t weird. This is life. This is taking care of you. It’s your body’s way of saying “Stop. Stop holding on to the little shit and take a look around at what you do have around you that IS positive.”
Maybe this anxiety is a gift. Now, don’t stop reading...hear me out on this one.
Maybe it’s way of saying that there’s another path to be taken. I believe in God. However, I’ll admit that sometimes I’m stubborn and ignore the signs that are put in front of me. So perhaps this is just a way of God, and my physical body, saying “Enough.”
My point to sharing all of this is that if you feel even the tiniest bit of any of this, I’m here. I get it. I’m there with you.
So, unlike any other bridge we’ve crossed before, let’s truly do this together. Share your struggle with me or don’t. Just know that I have been there, I’m still here, and I’ll hold your hand if you want me to.
Until next time.