mental health

Hello anxiety, my old friend

My anxiety is kicking hard core today. I once made the comment that anxiety is how I know that I’m alive. Not wrong. But it’s in overdrive today. There are kind of reasons, but this is not a normal response. I feel like I’m in fight or flight mode. And I hate this feeling.

Okay, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but I have that heavy feeling in my chest, the one that can make it a little hard to breathe.

Anxiety has been my constant companion since I was young. Obviously I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I remember feeling this way when I was six or seven years old. I partially blame it on my family’s “you always have to be the best” mentality. And my anxiety pushed me to make it so. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy – the better I did, the more that was expected, so the more I pushed myself. Looking back, I honestly wish that I had taken time to enjoy my childhood – especially my teenage years – rather than constantly pushing to do more, be more. I was overly involved in everything, and while yes, I did have fun, I was constantly busy. I had no downtime. And that has led to me as an adult feeling like I have to be constantly busy and constantly involved. Even when Mike and I are sitting on the couch watching TV I’m on my computer or on my phone, learning French via Duolingo, checking email, tracking packages, blogging (oops?), balancing the checkbook and paying bills, looking up something that’s on TV, etc., etc., etc. You get the point. I don’t know how to not be busy. I honestly have no idea how he can just sit there and watch TV. It baffles me.

My vacation week in June is the perfect example of that. I didn’t have much to do for the week so by the end of the week I was climbing the walls to the point where I had to fuck off to Gettysburg for the day just to get the hell out of the house and feel like I was doing something.

And yes, I blame all of this on anxiety. It’s what pushes me to do better, be more. But it does it in an unhealthy way to the point where I don’t know how to just sit and exist. I multitask to a point that’s probably unhealthy. I’ve always got multiple irons in the fire, and I tend to take on too much. Work is a good example of this – our store manager got transferred, so I took on a few of the things that she did, because why not, right? Well now we have a new store manager and I seem to have taken on the role as his number 2. He’s right out of training, and we share an office, so I seem to have become his sounding board, his guide, his confidant. That’s fine, but I already have a shit ton of stuff that I have to do, and I swear my “to do” list every week just keeps growing. Add to that that we’re so understaffed that it’s not funny and I (and we all) get pulled in many directions at many times. Mike made the comment that it seems like I’m thriving, but in all reality I’m thriving because I never. Stop. Moving.

I wish I knew how to relax. I wish I knew how to just sit and exist. Even when I’m just sitting on the couch reading, I’m still mentally making lists of things that I need to do, planning the rest of my day, texting, whatever. And I guess that’s the root of it – anxiety, and me feeding that anxiety over the years, has made it so I just don’t know how to sit still and relax.

We really are products of our childhood.

Currently listening to: Tide Lines – Far Side of the World
Currently reading: still working on that HP Lovecraft anthology

One thought on “Hello anxiety, my old friend

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