While my anxiety is not a constant thing, I have noticed that it is more present the older/more stressed I become. Yes, I occasionally have anxiety/panic attacks that cause me to freak out & not become incapable of functioning like a human. Thankfully those are not often, I'm able to recognize them, work through them & begin functioning like a human again, eventually. Unfortunately sometimes they prevent me from doing something I've committed to doing, like driving the Stork to the VA hospital for an appointment (though truthfully that generally only happens when I'm supposed to drive his truck, which is enormous & just thinking about getting behind the wheel makes my heart race & not in a good way). But I digress...
Looking back, I think the first true anxiety/panic attack I had was in college. It was finals time & I had pretty much lost my way that semester. I ended up completely melting down in the cafeteria during dinner & missing my final. Blessedly I had a few amazing friends that must have recognized what I was going through & helped me calm down. We didn't really talk about what happened, but their quiet understanding & support was exactly what I needed at a time when I didn't even know what was happening.
My next experience wasn't until a few years later, after I'd gotten married & was faced with moving our household, myself & our cat, Emily, from Washington state to Idaho by myself. The Stork had gone ahead to start a new job after being discharged (honorably, medically for those who feel the must know) from the Navy. It was the first time I dreaded flying alone; looking back I believe it was more my concern for & about traveling with a pet than anything else. Upon expressing my concerns to family members, I was accused of being "over dramatic" & basically shamed. I sucked it up, which is what a lot of us are forced to do, because anxiety is not something people talked about openly back then.
Now more & more people are coming forward to openly talk about anxiety. Celebrities are beginning to share their experiences, which has made a huge difference, at least in my opinion, in the way we talk about (& treat) mental health issues. It's a dialogue that we need to be able to have without fear, without the anxiety that comes from having anxiety.
My anxiety these days comes in waves. Sometimes I'm good for weeks, months even.
Other times I find myself driving my car, fingers in a death grip on the wheel, leaning forward with my shoulders hunched, jaw clenched worrying that I've got my windshield wipers turned up too high for the amount of rain that's falling. Worrying that the other drivers whose wiper blades I don't notice moving as fast as mine, might think I'm one of those over cautious freaks, despite the fact that I am driving perfectly normally. All the while, there is that teeny tiny little voice of reason in the very farthest back corner of beyond in my head telling me that if the speed of my wipers allows me to see & drive safely, then that is all that matters.
Some of us try, freak out because...anxiety, delete what we tried to do, screw up our courage to try it again, repeat the process a dozen or so times....
I can never just write a blog post, yes even the meme filled ones, without second guessing myself & the content I've chosen to share, on my own blog. Anxiety is
Anxiety is that invisible little devil that tells you what you are doing might offend someone or that even though everyone around you is genuinely praising you (which you can totally, rationally comprehend) you still suck hairy monkey balls.
Okay...my poor little train of thought just took a detour, went off the track, through the woods, into a minefield & over a waterfall into the middle of a too big city full of alien vehicles & sword swallowing fruit bats .
In other words, I honestly ran out of ideas/completely forgot what I was trying to say & rather than torture myself for no one knows how long agonizing over how to finish this coherently, I'm just gonna end it.
If you've read any of my rambles before, you know the drill... Sorry if this didn't make sense to you, I write the way I brain it & even I don't fully understand it.
Until later, be kind to yourself & others, enjoy a mocha or a milkshake (or both), hug a doggo, let a feline pet you, walk barefoot in the rain...
P.S. I think my point was supposed to be something about not being afraid to share your experiences or offer help & support to those who need it. And be open to the possibility that what you think is normal or standard for everyone, just isn't.