Anyone who’s ever suffered from anxiety will tell you that there is no permanent fix. You can regulate your medication to the best of your ability, you can learn to read your mood swings, spot your triggers, take care of your mental health with meditation and exercise. You can do everything by the book and still all of a sudden wake up one morning and just feel off. Like there is this sudden dip and your mind is telling you “nope, not today”.
Today you are going to feel distracted and foggy. You will get through your day just slightly to the left of what you normally do. Your not going to notice it at first either, you will just assume you are tired. But when you grab a second in the bathroom you will suddenly realize your teeth are clenched. And when you have a silly altercation with the asshole bus driver on the way home you will suddenly feel a strong need to cry and not understand why. The exercise class you planned to go to in the late afternoon suddenly seems unimportant and you let it slip away with a nap to get back your strength. “It’s just lack of sleep” you continue to tell yourself “It’s coming up on finals, you have a lot of papers to write and ten different things to juggle”.
So you wash your face, make yourself a cup of coffee and settle down in front of your computer. But as you begin to type out the introduction to your latest deadline you feel a familiar lump in your throat. Your breath starts to come quick, your heart start to race and for just a second the fog clears from your brain enough to realize what is going on. You just haven’t had one of these in so long its like you almost forgot.
And then you realize. You haven’t meditated properly in weeks. You kept pushing it off waiting for the next time you had enough time. The exercise class you “forgot” about today was not the first time this month. Your diet has started to include a lot more carbs and not enough vegetables. You didn’t have the energy to make proper food. Assignments and due dates and exams are pilling up and you stopped writing to do lists.
You got lost in the pile of adulthood and didn’t even realize it. so your dear old friend Anxiety has come knocking in to say hello, except this time he didn’t come through the front door with a bang. No, this time, he snuck in around the back and slowly took up all of the space and almost shoved you right back out the window.
And you realize this, and you sit there furious at yourself for letting things get this far. feeling so frustrated and like it’s just too much work to go ahead and start picking up the pieces again. And you want to scream and break something and maybe just go back to sleep. Shut the world out and not have to deal with everything.
But then you realize that that is exactly what Anxiety wants. That is his plan.
So you wipe away your tears and open a new tab on your computer. You let the voices out of your head for the first time in ages.
Then you make a plan.
Your own plan.