We all know what it feels like, right? Wrong.
Just this weekend I was feeling anxious.
Now let me make it clear that my anxiety is not debilitating nor is it really inhibiting, as it is for some. The type of anxiety I feel is more of an annoyance than anything else.
But — get this — I’m not the only one that my anxiety annoys. Nope.
It annoys my husband and quite possibly my children, though I’ve never asked them.
I’ve always had an anxious personality, and I’ve always coped with it as I will continue to: exercise, music, writing (that’s a big one for me), coming up with a plan (and four back-ups), prayer, and snuggles with the kiddos all help. Still, sometimes anxiety gets the best of me.
Yep, I just disclosed that the worry thief gets the best of me; the part that my loving family is supposed to get.
How rude of it to steal my joy and that of my loved ones in on fell swoop?
How powerful it is to be capable of such, right?
Wrong again. Anxiety only has power over us if we let it.
Now, don’t get your panties in a wad just yet, as I suspect some of my anxiety-ridden readers are.
How do I know you about want to pummel me through your computer screen or iPhone? Because I get you and I am just like you, on a level unique to me, and I, too, have (and still) scoff at the contention that I have control over my anxiety.
Seriously, if you tell a person with anxiety to calm down, Lord help you.
If you tell a person with anxiety to “just stop,” well you might as well just stop your mouth from spitting any more unhelpful garbage that your conversation counterpart will want to take right to the trash.
If you make the mistake of asking someone with anxiety why they “do this to themselves,” you really have no clue how anxiety works.
But, guess what? Neither do I.
I haven’t researched the subject, except for the fact that I successfully deal with it and can speak from experience. For me, a lot of the time, my anxiety breeds creativity and serves as some bomb-diggity motivation.
Maybe you’re someone who needs medication for your anxiety, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t need or merely doesn’t want medication for yours, and there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Maybe you’ve experienced anxiety your whole life.
Maybe you’re someone whose newfound or later-developed anxiety is the result of life challenges or tragedies you’ve faced.
Maybe you see a psychologist because talking it out helps.
Maybe you rock a self-care plan like nobody’s business because that’s your saving grace.
Maybe you’re someone who has anxiety but deals with it au naturel — like me.
While not everyone knows what it feels like and not everyone understands it (or will understand you), everyone who cares for you and loves you will support you while you face it, whether its daily, weekly, monthly, or only on occasion.
As much as we need for them to be careful in how they approach us stress-buckets, we also must be mindful of how our anxiety can spread like the plague and quietly and rapidly infect those unsuspecting bystanders.
If you experience anxiety of any sort, know that you are stronger than it.
If you experience anxiety consistently or only on occasion, know that you can harness it and repurpose it.
If you experience anxiety and your partner doesn’t, try not to unleash it on them all of the time.
If you don’t experience anxiety and your partner does, listen and support, don’t judge or try to solve.
Anxiety is annoying, but then again so are a lot of things.
Our jobs annoy us, but we keep working because we have to make money to live.
Our kids annoy us, but we flippin’ love those expensive and adorable bundles of joy.
Our spouses often irk us, but what irks us now we once found endearing.
Alcohol annoys us because of one too many and it gives us hangover.
Pizza annoys us because, well, it makes us fat.
Just because something has annoying tendencies doesn’t mean you need it up and gone. There are ways to decrease the inhibitory and negative effects of anxiety and reprocess it to encourage a more positive and practical result.
You know what I feel right now? Anxious that you all might not agree with me and think I’m full of it.
But, I let myself have that fear, acknowledge it’s presence, say “oh well,” feel a bit proud that I’m owning and speaking my truth and I move on.
Listen up anxious people — give grace to those that don’t “get” your anxiety and don’t really want a part of it.
And, for those who love us anxious people — give us support, space, time, whatever it is we need.
We are all going to be just fine. Or not.
Maybe we won’t be fine. Oh, crap, there’s my anxiety kicking in again.
Just kidding; we will be because we all have within us the capacity for compassion and non-judgment and when we give that to each other, and ourselves (and add a little humor) anxiety loses its sovereignty over us.
Accept yourself. Even if it means accepting something (or someone) you don’t understand fully. Just do it.
BUT ALSO, deal with it. Even if it means challenging yourself.