Oh, Anxiety. How do I love thee. Let me count the ways.
There are lots of things I love about my anxiety:
The sheer panic.
The flapping hands.
The urge to flee.
The loss of control.
Waking in the middle of the night with a racing heart.
An impending sense of doom All. The. Time. and For. No. Reason.
But perhaps what I love most of all is the guilt. And feeling like a terrible person. Because the truth is, my life's not that bad. In fact, it's pretty good. Okay, fine, it's freaking awesome. Yet, thanks to my true blue, BFF, love ya like a sister, through good times and bad (especially the bad) friend Anxiety, I walk around with a Cloud of Woe over my head.
When my anxiety is raging, every single thing I have to do is a sign of the apocalypse.
Need to go grocery shopping?
Why whyyyyyy is my life so hard?
No clean laundry?
What have I done to deserve such horrible treatment?!
I have to go to the post office to mail a package?
How will I ever overcome such adversity!?!!!!!!!
I would like to say I'm exaggerating, but anxiety turns everything into a crisis. Combine that with depression, and Oh Em Gee, you guys, it's, like, the best party EVAH! Totally.
I'm Italian, so I'm guilty by nature. But when the thought of getting out of bed and putting on pants and a bra paralyzes me or a cupcake recipe with more than four ingredients makes me burst into tears, the accompanying guilt is off the charts. Because my "problems"? Are nothing. Other people, lots of people, are dealing with real problems. Like, how am I going to feed my family tonight? And, where am I going to get money to pay for my medication? Or, should I sleep on the bench in park with the rapists or on the one in the park with the murderers?
Although I have no say in the things my mind chooses to get anxious over, it doesn't make me feel any less guilty. And when I feel guilty, I feel more anxious. Which leads to more guilt and...lather, rinse, repeat.
But last night, I felt like I had a breakthrough. I spoke with a woman I hadn't seen for almost a year. The last time we spoke, I found out she had breast cancer. Last night, I asked her how she was doing. She told me she's had eight surgeries in the last year and is having another one in a week. And her husband died a few months ago.
Wow. Just, wow.
I felt like there was a big neon sign over my head with the word PERSPECTIVE. In attempt to ward off my anxiety, I constantly try to maintain perspective. And while it is a brilliant exercise in futility, it does little to keep the Evil A at bay.
But last night, approximately thirty minutes after speaking with this woman, I entered the perfect storm of anxiety. People yelling, and anger, and confusion, and more anger, and MORE PEOPLE YELLING. Normally, that would make me crawl under a table and hide for the next seven days. But it didn't.
In the midst of the storm, I wasn't consciously thinking of the woman and the trials she was facing, but I think somewhere, deep inside my crazy brain, her situation was recalled. And the part of my brain that usually likes to FREAK OUT instead said, "This is okay. It's not a big deal. You have a good life, you are healthy, the people you love are healthy. This too shall pass. It is okay."
And it was okay. And I was okay.
And for that, I am grateful.
To the person who inspired me to write tonight - you know who you are - thank you. You are an inspiration and a light in the midst of my darkness. I love you. Here's to mediocrity! ;)