Anxiety is one of those words that you always hear without putting too much thought into, like sales tax and political corruption. Everyone says it, everyone has it, but no one ever really talks about it. I have recently come to terms with the severity of my own anxiety and how much it infiltrates my day to day life.
I haven’t been diagnosed with any sort of anxiety disorder, I’m not on any medication, I haven’t ever even discussed the problem with a doctor. What I do know is that I don’t run the dishwasher while I am at work because I’m afraid that’s going to be the time it breaks and floods the house. I don’t like to plug things into the older outlets throughout the house because that’s going to be the time that the house burns down. I know, without a doctor telling me, that the tight feeling in my chest, and the pain in my jaw from clenching my teeth when I’m stressed is caused by something more then just being over worried.
Everyone’s solution to my irrational thoughts, ( I know they are irrational…) is “Oh, don’t worry about it! Things will be fine, you have no reason to feel that way!”, but it isn’t that easy. I know that thinking about the fact that every time I leave the house there MIGHT be a fire, or a flood or a tornado or the dogs might need to poop, is absolutely ridiculous, it still happens. I cannot just make these thoughts go away like the flip of a light switch. I cannot just say “oh that’ll never happen!” and move on with my day.
Sometimes my anxiety is worse then others. It is often exasperated when my husband goes away. Partially because he is my safe place, my home, my shoulder to lean on. But mostly because I’m not confident in my own ability to handle a situation that may arise. It comes from not knowing what to do if something happens to him, if there is a car accident or he gets lost in the woods (which he wont, he can read the woods like a map), it comes from all of the what ifs.
The problem with anxiety, other then the actual anxiety is that unless you have that heart wrenching feeling at the spur of a moment, unless your mind goes to the worse case scenario on things that are seemingly innocent, you think its not a real thing. You think that people are just over reacting and looking for attention, when in reality, even if they wanted to, until they can talk themselves down and rationalize their own thoughts, they cannot just move. I know that when I leave the house, we live within a half a mile of a fire station on a busy street, we have cameras around the house to keep track of burglars and other wrong doers, and that bad things don’t happen to normal people on a regular basis. I know that with faith and hope and general life experience, things will all end up okay. Cleaning does help, a clean space means a clean mind. It means you can focus on your own well-being rather than the dishes and the laundry and the dog hair underneath the dishwasher.
Do you experience anxiety? How do you handle it? What are you anxious about? How do you find your solace? I would love to hear your input.