Take a Deep Breath And Worry Some More

So. I have anxiety. The general kind. The kind that sneaks up on you and lays you low. Saying this out loud is difficult for some reason, which is why I didn’t write yesterday. It was all I could think about, but I couldn’t figure out how to put thoughts into typing, nor was I sure I wanted to,  so I didn’t say anything.

Sometimes I feel like my anxiety is a sham. It doesn’t stop me from living my every day life and I’m not on anti-depressants, though xanax has gotten me out of a few sticky situations, and there was that one time I had to sit during my wedding so I wouldn’t pass out. But, in general, anxiety is like that one wackadoo uncle who lives in the jungle somewhere… there are large chunks of time that I forget we’re related.

Having anxiety is so en vogue right now. I feel like every funny person, every interesting person, every artist and writer and successful person in Hollywood is plagued with it. The bloggers have depression, the writer’s have anxiety. It’s a trend. It’s an excuse to throw a fit about irrelevant things like the pretzel machine being down at the Target, the inability to find a parking spot during a time crunch that may or may not be overblown, not knowing what to wear to the thing you said you would go to but now suddenly would do anything other than go to that thing especially in those pants and shirt. Que meltdown, que lovely excuse, que frustration and self loathing.

But sometimes it’s not a catastrophic event like the felled pretzel machine. Sometimes life is life and it sneaks up on me. All of the little things build without me even realizing it and my anxiety makes me sick, like I have the flu. It makes me nauseous and woozy, and then that feeling makes me anxious because, oh god what if I’m getting the flu? Which makes me feel even worse.

In college sometimes I would wake up early in the morning, head to the kitchen to make my waffle, and have to high-tail it to my bed so I wouldn’t pass out standing in front of the toaster. On those days I didn’t leave my bed. I wrote and read and studied under the covers. My body was telling me it was just too much, no class for me. But now I can’t just not show up to things, sometimes I have to go anyway, sometimes I have to leave the house even when I’m feeling the blood drain from my face. I have to hope that the chilly air and the brisk walk to my car will pep me up. When every cell in my body is screaming at me to lay down, take deep breaths, check out, sometimes I don’t have the luxury.

Yesterday Kamel told me he wished I could just get over things. Which then, of course, made me mad. I wish I could too, but it’s not as easy as that. I’m not fixated on anything, I’m not upset over anything, I’m plodding along like the rest of us except for that one part of me who isn’t, who is putting on the breaks during inconvenient times, who gives me tunnel vision, makes me feel off balance, sweaty and sick, who frustrates me, and makes life harder for the people around me.

I don’t feel good, and I’m trying to get through it. This morning I woke up feeling better, but my body is unreliable, it tricks me and tells me lies to get me through the things I have to do and then once I’m home it unleashes a wrath of anxiety that makes me feel like crap and wonder if maybe I don’t have anxiety … maybe I have cancer. Yes, let’s worry irrationally about cancer now, that will make me feel so much better. Thankyouverymuch.

26 thoughts on “Take a Deep Breath And Worry Some More”

  1. Hey we should get together and irrationally worry about cancer! I jump to the worst thing every time. My back hurts – oh shit my kidneys must be failing!! I feel you on this. I’m sorry that it is something you have to live with. If you figure out how to get around it let me know.

  2. I’ve joked about having anxiety before, though I have no idea if I warrant that diagnosis. For me, I can just wake up with a start every now and then and feel extreme panic and dread as if I am in so much trouble with somebody, I’ve forgotten or blown off something very BIG and IMPORTANT. But for the life of me, I cannot think of one thing to justify that feeling. Sometimes I can chalk it up to stress, but other times, like over summer breaks in high school, there wasn’t anything to pin it to. Other times, it’s just a feeling of worry and dread that plagues and distracts me for a few days. Still not sure what any of it is about, but it happens a lot less now. I can talk myself out of it a bit better these days. Life is just too damn hard.

    1. I get that too sometimes! It’s like in the science experiments where they stimulate different parts of people’s brains–they suddenly feel happy or terrified or sad, but can’t say why.

      The annoying part is that even when there’s no obvious thing to pinpoint the feeling on, my brain can come up with something pretty easily, whether it’s things I COULD be doing or something I’ve screwed up in the past. Then I get to fixate on that for a while. Awesome.

  3. Thank you for being honest. Being able to write this is a victory you can claim. I agree, I’ve also been hearing about anxiety everywhere but I appreciate it since my anxiety is somewhat related to having to hide things. But it does make you wonder, what is it about our world that is so anxiety-producing? Although, that’s not really confusing is it? Anyway, here’s to taking care of ourselves, letting the moment pass, and being hopeful. There is much to look forward to. And I hope you feel better real soon.

  4. I’ve always been afraid to label myself as having “depression” or “anxiety” but I’m the only one of my friends who occasionally calls in sick simply because I cannot get out of bed today. I call them mental health days in my head, but never ever out loud.

    So, er, you’re not alone..? That doesn’t help much though.

    1. If you have days where you actually can’t get out of bed, you probably actually do have depression and should maybe see a professional about it. (I don’t mean to go all “Arg you’re doing it WRONG!” its just that if you don’t feel you have the “right” to call it depression, its hard to take good care of yourself because you don’t think you “deserve to”.)

  5. I get that pit of our stomach dread all the time, too. Among other symptoms. I just started meds. For so long, I felt like doing so meant I was weak or giving up. I still have to remind myself that anxiety is not a character flaw. It’s a chemical imbalance. I don’t want my life tempered by fear, worry, and dread, so I started the prescription that sat in my purse for three months last week. Staying home is not an option for me either. Plus, I worry (there it is again!) that if I start down that path it’s a slippery slope to agoraphobia which is a very real situation for many anxiety sufferers. Anyway, this shit is hard. And I’m not a blogger or a writer. You are not alone.

    1. Really, agoraphobia? I have been having some issues with leaving the house wherein I fixate on the mode of transportation. If I am driving, I have to back out of a blind driveway into an alley where I have been almost hit, and my husband has been hit, by people who don’t look out for people slooooowy trying to back out from behind a 12 foot wall. If I am walking, I have a mild panic about the streets I know I will have to cross, where traffic doesn’t look before turning left or where people block the intersection and completely block the crosswalk for several light cycles. I sit at home at worry about these things. I don’t want to be a hypochondriac, because I have been leaving the house for work and whatnot, but I can TOTALLY see how agoraphobia can seep in!

      1. Agoraphobia sucks the big one. Having trouble walking out the front door is just about the worst anxiety/depression symptom I ever had. It’s like your fears are holding you hostage.

  6. I come from a long line of anxious individuals-I always say that there should be a xanax bottle on our family crest. It seems as though it goes in waves for me, sometimes a little tinge; other times, I go months with waking up with that pit of dread in my stomach and even getting through a day is incredibly difficult. And focus? Kiss it goodbye. I decided this year, my 30th year, that I would address it medically. Since doing so, I feel like my entire life has changed. Nonetheless, I still feel its creep, just over my shoulder. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  7. Oh Lauren, don’t hate me for saying this, but here is hoping you will feel better, and see things on a brighter light soon. I am also an anxious person, I have this fits , moments where I would break things, or I get fixated over irrelevant things like a lamp that is too short for the rest of the room and looks disproportionate, or worry that I will never have a baby or a job. And I fainted last week, in the morning, out of the blue. It is the second time it happened to me and the first time I was in a very small , warm room so I think then it was lack of air.
    This is to say you are not alone in the craziness. Maybe… you can try and pin point what makes you anxious, what do you want to change ? Or maybe we should just accept that we can’t control everything and let go a bit. Easier said than done… yeah. Anyway hugs your way . Will be thinking of you.

  8. You’re just starting your life. Everything that prevents you from enjoying every moment to the fullest get it in a box and lock it.

    You can do it!

    There’s a lot of people that has nothing but love for you (and your anxiety…)

  9. I don’t comment often (because my anxiety finds it easier to hit the red x than the submit comment button) but I wanted to say you aren’t alone As I shared on twitter the other day I relate although I’m don’t have cancer I’m convinced I have a brain tumor…wait those can be cancerous so I suppose I’m just like you after all…

    I’m actually sitting at work reading blogs on my phone trying to steady my breathing right now to ward off an attack that has no apparent trigger, fun times.

    Oh and I kind of want to punch your husband in his face because I get that reaction so often.

  10. As a lady with an anxious and possibly depressed partner, I feel the need to ask, what the fuck am I supposed to do?

    It feels like everything I do upsets him, makes him feel worse and just pushes him deeper into his own box of self induced anxiety.

    Is there a right thing to say? I know it’s cruel and selfish, but I really do wish he could get over it. Even though I understand things don’t work that way, I can’t help but wish things were a little less walking-on-eggshells over here….

    1. Hm. Things are not eggshells in my house, thank god. But Kamel is tired of me saying I don’t feel good, physically.

      The best thing he can do is tell me I’m ok. Everything is ok, I’m doing great. And focus on the positives of a situation. Thank god it ebbs and flows, and I’m definitely the positive one lots and lots of the time. But his calmness and reassurance makes things 10x easier when it’s really bad.

  11. friend. thanks for being brave & talking about it.

    it’s hard. it’s harder when you want to shake it & can’t. it’s even harder still when your other half (who is infinitely patient & positive & supportive) suggests just getting over it. because, DUH, why didn’t you think of that? oh wait, you did. you do want that! and you’re trying really hard dammit! can’t he SEE that?! (sorry, blind rage speaking there for a moment.)

    positive notes: you’re not alone. you’re able to recognize it for what it is. you still try to work through it. all victories in the battle against the not-quite-definable-anxious/despressed-monster if you ask me.

  12. oh sister, i feel you.

    in college and medical school i called my bed my “lifeboat”. i would stay in my lifeboat for entire days at a time when i just couldn’t face anything or anyone. my mind would race and i literally could not make it stop without sitting alone, in the dark. not very health, i know this. and yes, as adults, we cannot put a pause on life. wouldn’t things be wonderful if we could?

    i then knowingly chose a career that has done nothing for my nerves. i obsess over every knot i tie, every cut i make. i lie awake at night thinking about my patients. i worry in my dreams. i wake up in cold sweats wondering how i will get things done. if my husband is ten minutes late coming home i start checking the hospital ER board to see if he is there.

    anxiety is paralyzing. and when people ask you to “get over things” it just makes you more anxious doesn’t it???

    such a vicious cycle. i’ll worry with you anytime. its nice to know others struggle too, so thanks for sharing.

  13. My best friend my whole life was manic-depressive and, as a younger person, I remember just wanting to shake her and tell her to “stop being depressed/crazy, just try and stop!” It’s hard to understand from the outside that it’s so out of that person’s hands, no matter what mental/chemical ailment it is. I learned that along the way. The best thing to do, from the outside, is maintain an honest line of communication to keep it all in the light, release all blame and have compassion. It’s not always doable but it’s what I try to shoot for. Anyway, thanks for sharing and being so honest on your blog here. <3

  14. Anxious person *with a fainting disorder* up in here. And one of several triggers for the fainting is acute anxiety.

    For me, having the fainting diagnosed as an honest-to-goodness medical condition was really helpful. Because then I could tell people, “Hey, I have a medical condition, so I need to take a break/drink some gatorade/have a snack/sit this one out.” That made me feel less anxious about letting other people down, having people (especially in positions of authority) think less of me or think I’m weak.

    Clearly I should follow my own advice and have the anxiety checked out too, but I haven’t done that yet. As it stands, I overanalyze, overworry, never do things because I scare myself out of them OR wait farrrrr too long to act because I’m scared, and then also beat myself up over my worrying. So I. feel. you. big time!

Leave a Reply