in which I talk about anxiety

My brain is made up of two parts.

One part works full time at telling me in a gentle monotone to be patient, and that things will work out because they always do, and nothing is as bad is it seems. It has a sharp tie in muted pastel and wire framed glasses, and starts most sentences with the word “actually.” Its shoes are sensible, its tea earl grey, and it’s always in bed by ten o’clock sharp. That is the rational part of my brain.

Then there is the other half. It wears neon colors and it screams. It flashes the lights so that I can’t focus on anything else and hollers NO THINGS WILL NOT WORK OUT. YOU WILL NEVER BE GOOD AT ANYTHING. AND EVEN IF YOU ARE, IT WON’T BE GOOD ENOUGH. It is not patient. It is not kind. It is mostly made of bottle rockets and alarm bells, and it can take one sentence, one email, one deadline six months away and chatter about it for days and days and days until it blows up like a hand grenade. That is the irrational part of my brain.

Sometimes they balance. I can keep them talking to each other instead of talking to me, and the scales even out to something like quiet.

But then there are days like today, when one thing—and that one thing can be anything from the dust under my bed to where I see myself in forty years—and suddenly I am 99% irrational brain, and it is screaming and stamping and sending up sparks and flying off the handle, and the rational brain is fighting to be heard over top of it so he starts shouting too, and then they’re both shouting, shouting, shouting and it’s altogether too much noise inside me.

It’s not a good feeling.

Anxiety manifests itself in different ways for different people. I am not the sort of person whose anxiety makes it so I can’t get out of bed or eat, and it doesn’t make me feel the need to strip in the middle of a crowded square or stop breathing. My anxiety can look you straight in the eyes and smile and say I’m fine, even though my teeth are gritted and everything inside of me is screaming out of control like a runaway train.

I don’t know why some days I can deal with my anxiety and others I can’t. Why some days, I can step back from myself and listen to that rational part of me and understand that things will work out, and there’s not point worrying over what I can’t control. But there are other days where I can hear what that rational voice is saying and even understand it, but I can’t believe it. And then other days where I can’t even hear it because my worrying is too loud.

I give advice I can’t take. I make obsessive lists. I schedule every minute. I stare at the ceiling. I don’t sleep.

And I keep going.

That is how I deal with my anxiety. I keep going.

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2 thoughts on “in which I talk about anxiety

  1. Billy says:

    I texted you several weeks ago about persistence….remember?

    BTW…I keep going too…

    ;)

  2. […] and topic. I talk about what’s on my mind here. Sometimes that’s writing. Sometimes that’s anxiety. Sometimes that’s my family. Sometimes that’s traveling. Sometimes that’s getting my violin […]

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