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Sunday, January 17, 2016

How I Cope with My Anxiety

A new regional park just opened in my town.  It's in the local mountains, includes miles of hiking trails, and is, to steal a word from Buddy the Elf, "ginormous."  Today, I sent my husband and son to this new, ginormous park.

Today, I also had an anxiety attack.  I'm having it now, in fact.  So, I'm writing my way through it.  As I spoke the words, "Why don't you guys go to the new park" I felt my heart start to palpitate.  My mind started swirling with endless possibilities, all negative, all tragic.  There went my heart again.  My face got hot, my body tingled.  I started rattling off instructions for my husband and son.  "Keep your phone on.  Is it charged?  Keep him close to you. Bring water.  Stay close to Dada.  Hey, I love you very much.  Wait, come back.  Kiss?  I love you.  I love you.  I love you.  Have fun."  And I'm hot all over again as they've left and I'm alone to continue imagining mountain lion attacks, falls on jagged rocks, getting lost, and slides down mountainsides.  And now my heart is beating harder, faster.  So it goes.

Why didn't I ask them to stay, then?  Why didn't I stave off my own anxiety attack by merely taking back my own initial suggestion?  Why didn't I immediately change my suggestion to something different, something that doesn't still make my legs feel weak?  Because that's how I deal with my anxiety.  I know, logically, that I'm being irrational.   I know, logically, that none of these things are going to happen, that the possibility is so remote that they don't warrant the type of reaction I'm having.  That doesn't change my reaction, however.  It doesn't change my anxiety.  I deal with it, though, by forcing (hard) my logic to overrule my anxiety.  It took great force, great willpower to shut up my anxious head noises and ship those two out the door.  It took experience to shut up my mouth instead of telling them all the things I was picturing, because I know that would only worry my son unnecessarily, as he doesn't yet understand how illogical his mother's fears are sometimes and only, instead, knows that he trusts her, so will take on the feelings she feels.

Am I rambling?  That's the anxiety.

So I shut up, I said farewell, my body is in a panic-state, my mind is doing its best to quiet it, and I'm writing through it all, because this is how I cope with my anxiety.


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