Over the past week or so – I’ve stopped functioning in a healthy way. I actually spent the first half of today sitting on my couch, eating a box of cookies and watching TV. I’d like to say that I enjoyed the slowing down but I didn’t. It wasn’t the restful kind of alone time I’d like to experience. There were things I wanted to do and goals I wanted to accomplish. But you see – my anxiety doesn’t give a shit about that and its been waiting patiently for the right moment to come out of hiding. I’ve been busy with events, projects, family, and social engagements so it knew it couldn’t get a word in edge wise over the past month. So, it sat quietly, biding its time until it could take over and shut me down.
Despite being a consistent pattern for me – I’m always surprised by how anxiety creeps in. The typical scenario for me looks like this – I perform at a heightened level during busy times but the moment things settle down – that’s when the rumbling in my head and the pit of my stomach begins. It starts quiet – like a soft whisper – telling me it’s ok to stop and sit awhile. So, I listen to the seemingly kind voice and take a break. I tell myself that slowing down is healthy. That I deserve some downtime as a reward for going so fast. But the problems begin when I find myself slowing to a complete stop. That is the moment that my anxiety comes out of hiding – a big smile on its face because the wait is over.
It descends on me with chest crushing pain, recurring negative self-talk, and a debilitating inability to focus. Anxiety backs me into a corner where patience and compassion are nowhere to be found. It’s a place where coping with other people’s emotions can be physically painful.
Things only tend to get worse when I retreat into my anxiety. This afternoon was different. I made a conscious decision to put my emotions into this blog to help serve as a reminder of my previous patterns. No more retreating, numbing, ignoring, forcing a smile on my face or pushing it down deep. So here I am – typing with shaky hands, crying on the keyboard – forcing myself to hit the reset button.
This blog entry will remind me that next time things slow down – and the rumbling begins – that breaks from certain things are NOT an option. In order to maintain my sanity and sense of balance my self-care rituals need to stay in place no matter what. Things like walking every morning, eating regularly, reciting affirmations, being creative, etc. are non-negotiable items in my life as long as anxiety is fighting for my attention.
There is a difference between a well deserved relaxation period and completely halting all the things that are good for your soul and sanity.
So tomorrow – as the sun rises on a new day – I will start again with walking, breathing, eating, affirming and creating. Even if its only 5 minutes dedicated to each area – this will be my plan to quiet the rumbling and keep moving forward in my journey.