Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Anxiety

I dealt with a relatively minor (very minor, really) incident today. It's so minor that's it's unlikely that the person involved is thinking about it at all, unless they have anxiety like I do.

Anyway, this nothing incident triggered a load of anxiety for me, so I thought it would be best to write about it. Not just to help calm myself down, but because I honestly can't think of much anything else.

There's a lot people don't understand about anxiety disorders. It's a lot more than just worrying all the time (though I do worry all the time). An episode of heightened anxiety often triggers a kind of brain shutdown. Right now, my brain is reluctant to think about much anything. All I really want is to crawl in bed and sleep, though if I did this, there would be no distractions, so I would likely end up ruminating on what made me anxious and would not be able to sleep at all.

I want to make this clear. It's not just that I don't want to think about things or do things. It's literally difficult to focus. My head feels oddly heavy and clouded. My brain generalizes my anxiety, making everything feel scary. My entire confidence in myself feels unstable from it, so that any work sounds scary, because I feel like I'm not good enough. My impostor syndrome is rearing its head, and I feel like I'll never be able to make a living as a writer. It's so much easier just to run, avoid, not even try.

But of course I don't want to do that, and I won't do that. But fighting this battle in my own head, trying to force my brain to focus on things it doesn't want to think about, is difficult and exhausting. I'd love to just spend the rest of the day curled up and watching cartoons, but I can't. I have deadlines and bills to pay.

Even after so many years of therapy and studying psychology, I'll still think to myself, "it's all in your head." And I laugh at that thought, because of course it's all in my head. That's where the brain is located. And it's allllll in my head. So much chatter and fretting and worry, someone who wasn't used to it would probably collapse under the weight.

I am Sisyphus and anxiety is my boulder.

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