coping

Anxiety

It starts with a mental list. Things I need to do, things I should do, things I should have done, things I didn’t do, things I did wrong. It begins to swirl inside my chest making me feel at once hollow and yet like there is a vice and vacuum gripping and swallowing my insides. Like I am empty and emptying simultaneously.

But the vortex consuming my thoughts and energy does not end. It sits like endless, destructive white noise. We cannot cohabitate, so I develop coping mechanisms. Movement drowns out the noise, but I must have somewhere to move to. Walking through my apartment is out. Dishes, need to do. Laundry, should do. Bills, should have done. Walking outside sometimes works.

Sometimes I sing to make a competing vibration in my body. Instead of the vacuum dictating the movement in my chest, my lungs and vocal chords can take over. Sometimes. Other times, when it is too strong, I literally grunt to dispel the noise and energy.

My go to, however, is technology. I learned why this week as I was avoiding dishes, laundry, and bills. When I watch a tv show or play some stupid flash game online, my world becomes the size of my computer screen. For this window of time, there are no dishes, only falling Tetris blocks. There is no laundry for me to put away, just what Lucy is hanging out to dry. The white noise is cancelled out because its sources are pushed from my mind for a few precious, quiet, minutes.

But it soon returns. I don’t do well in silent spaces. I sometimes play the fireplace on Netflix on repeat. I have a hard time with the simplest of tasks. Today I left a binder of music in the front seat of my car because carrying it up to put on my piano became one more ‘Thing I ________.’ And rather than deal with it, I needed to get out of my car and walk to my apartment door. Movement with a destination. It was the more manageable option. And we’re talking about a binder here. A 1″ 3-ring binder. White. In case you care.

Knowledge is power right? So I know how anxiety feels. And I know what I do and don’t do about it. So next steps:

I should…

I should have…

I didn’t…

I can’t…

Man, this is gonna be tough.