Post 6: Anxiety

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.

Post 2: Fear and Stress and Everything In-Between

Odds are, if you are living and breathing, you have both stress and fear in your life. To many, those don’t always mean the same thing, in my mind they often coincide. Whether it be because I don’t know how to manage my stress and anxiety or because I don’t know how to conquer my fears, I do not know. I’m not talking about the fear of spiders (which lets be honest, who isn’t afraid of those 8-legged freaks) or the fear of heights, I’m talking about the fear of life itself.
In October of 2017 , five feet from our front door, our pickup was stolen. . It had thousands of dollars of hunting and camping gear in it, as well as many memories as it was my father in law’s truck before it was ours. I wouldn’t say that was the start of my daily anxiety, but it certainly made it more apparent. I watched myself turn into someone I didn’t know, someone I didn’t recognize. I was obsessive about making sure the front door was locked and the garage door was shut. I would back the car out of the garage, only to put it in park and run to the front door and check it to see if the door would open from the outside. I would watch the garage door until the house was out of my view and still text my husband about how I wasn’t sure if it closed all the way. They did not only steal our truck, they stole my security. They stole my peace of mind. They took the normal creaks and cracks of a house and turned every one of them into an invader. I didn’t know how to deal with it, I was constantly stressed out about the doors on our house when they didn’t even break in, they just stole the pickup.
I’ve always been known for not knowing how to manage my stress. My second year in college, I was living on my own for the first time and noticed a pain in my molars. Thinking it was a cavity, I went to the dentist only for them to tell me that it was from clenching my jaw throughout the day without realizing it. In that same time, I was going to school, working, dating Todd and trying to love every minute of finally being out of my parents’ house. What I wasn’t doing was taking care of myself and noticing what my body was telling me. Stress was taking over me and I didn’t even know it. Now my stress presents itself in moodiness, tooth pain, fatigue and lack of motivation. I am constantly looking for ways to manage it and overcome it, essential oils, long baths, a drink or two, tacos. Nothing works well enough for me to “lighten up” as people like to say.
Between my constant stress and fear, I have found myself anxious about everything. When I leave the house every morning, I pray to God that the house doesn’t burn down because my dog is inside, I pray every day that Todd makes it to work safe and that we both make it home safe and sound and happy. I repeat the mantra “Please dear God just make sure Todd and I make it home safe and sound and happy” over and over until I can distract myself with something else. The happy part was added on because it is all encompassing of our families and friends and financial stability. It means that to be happy all of those things need to work out for another day. I find myself worried about taking my dog for a walk because it’s easy enough for someone to stop their car on the side of the road, pull me in and nobody would ever even know it.
I would like to say that I don’t think about all of these things even daily, but in reality, I think about them almost hourly. I find solitude in my habits, but then I think about how my habits would be easy for someone with nefarious plans to learn and then I think about changing my habits. I get bursts of energy where I feel like I can conquer anything, and then I find those thoughts creeping back into my head like a leaky faucet, you can leave the house but you still know, every day, the faucet is still going to drip.
I guess my question for you as a reader is, am I the only one? How do you deal with our stress? How do you keep your mind from going to the worst case scenario in every situation you find yourself in? How do you make sure that you are living your best life, without boundaries, without fear? Where do you find your happy?

That’s all for now.