When I get anxious, I write. I always have, and I probably always will. I don’t know whether it’s the act of writing itself or the public sharing that makes me feel better. But there’s about leaving it all on a page somewhere in a journal or on here, my corner of the world wide web.
I’ve been anxious for as long as I can remember. Not butterflies before a recital or first date jitters, but nail-biting, vomit-inducing, near-crippling anxiety. Go to bed at 8pm and sleep for 14 hours anxiety. Watch a movie that I know will make me cry so I can feel like I’m releasing something anxiety. Laying in bed unable to sleep, heart beating three times as fast as it should anxiety.
Anxiety over everything and anything. It goes up and down, of course. Stable relationships help. So does regular income. Reassurance from loved ones. Regular exercise. A routine. Basically, anything that makes me feel like I have some control over my life.
But often after I get a mixed signal, whether from someone in my personal or professional life, I start to spiral. I think about how little I really do have control over. I start to question every little thing I’ve ever done and fixate on all of my mistakes. I ask why I’ve done so little (traveling, socializing, corporate ladder climbing) compared to my peers.
I take a deep breath. Or four.
Close my eyes. Imagine all of the possibilities of what my life could be like this time next year. In five years. In ten years.
I fight through the bad. Unemployment. Aloneness. Loss.
I imagine the good things. Another stamp in my passport. Another degree. A healthy body. A home. A walk-in closet. A baby. Two babies. Happiness.