Anxiety Is…

The previous post was about a recent run-in I had with anxiety. Unfortunately, posting about my anxiety has given me more anxiety.

Therefore, I thought it would be appropriate to post about more things anxiety-related in order to desensitize myself. It might also make my anxiety more comfortable to write about. Is this a bad line of logic? Probably. But I’m an engineer, so I’ll just slap a factor of safety on it and call it good.

Here are some ways anxiety shows up for me.

Anxiety is…

Having to tell my partner that I can’t always fall asleep in an embrace because the inability to fidget makes my body feel like it’s going to explode (my partner does not like fidgeting).

Feeling my heart rate increase as I try to figure out why someone I texted hasn’t texted back in three days, and racking my brain for what I could possibly have said wrong or why they hate me so much.

Needing to go for a walk at work to do deep breathing exercises so I can avoid having a panic attack while stuck in my cubicle.

Sitting on my couch for an hour in a state of overwhelm because I have 12 things I want to do that day and can’t figure out how to prioritize them in order of optimality, ease, and level of fun.

Sitting at work and noticing every little thing that I could be doing better/more efficiently, and fighting the urge to stop working altogether because I can’t do it to my high standards.

Standing in front of my container of art supplies while an internal battle wages over whether I should even set them out because the image that I have in my head cannot possibly be portrayed accurately on canvas.

Needing to shake not just one leg, but both during staff meetings and wondering why on earth one shakes faster than the other, all the while beating myself up because I can’t seem to focus on what my coworkers are talking about.

Walking up to the tomato bin at the grocery store and gently squeezing at least half of the tomatoes to see which ones are ripe. Feeling progressively more self-conscious that people are noticing how long I’m taking to pick a tomato. Walking away from the bin without choosing a tomato because I worry I’ve been standing there too long. Later returning to the bin to finally choose a tomato once I’ve confirmed all the people who might’ve been judging me for my tomato indecision have moved on to other things.  Then walking away without a tomato because they all seem overly ripe and it’s unclear if that’s simply because I had previously squeezed them.

4 thoughts on “Anxiety Is…

  1. This is gold – I have had some of the same exact thoughts as you in those same situations! I know that it feels awful at the time you’re going through it, but I like the way you write about the experience – it evokes a gentle humor about the situation. To me, that seems like a very therapeutic way to process and reflect on your habits. As cliché as this sounds, it is really brave of you to post such personal thoughts. Reading a post like this helps other people who are dealing with the same kinds of thoughts not feel so alone or “strange.” It’s actually a lot more common than anyone admits or realizes to have these kinds of thoughts. We bury them shamefully, thinking that others will reject us or label us “crazy,” when in reality, sharing your experience helps other people cope and learn to handle anxiety better. So try not to feel anxious about posting about your anxiety – you are helping people more than you know, sweet lady!!

    1. You are so kind, thank you! This makes me feel so much better. You’re so right. And if it’s helping someone, it’s totally worth it! 🙂

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