About six months ago I started experiencing what I now know is anxiety. It wasn’t consistent, just small bouts every now and again. A taster, of sorts.
I am currently experiencing the main course. Oh my. Each day is unpredictable. But the one constant is a perpetual sick feeling in my stomach, almost like I can’t breathe freely.
I have seen a doctor and they are happy for me to treat it naturally with meditation, yoga, writing and Rescue Remedy. The doctor has also given me a few days to just get my head together. It is helping. But this is going to be a process.
My sleep is disrupted. I am nauseous. My bowel is purging my stomach. My breath is laboured. I am having nightmares (last night, a prisoner took members of my family hostage and then dropped one of my nephews from over his head and we were all so scared he’d shoot one of us that we froze and did nothing – yep, psychiatrist’s dream). I am struggling to want to leave the house and am happy to be away from people.
And it’s only been six full days.
I know people who suffer or have been suffering anxiety for months. I don’t know how they do it.
At the moment, I want to be better. I want my balance and my calm back. I want to look forward to the things that only a week ago I was excited about. I want to be at work, working.
Most of all though, I want resolution on the thing that has caused this anxiety. And I have no control over that.
So, my quest becomes, how do I find control in something to reduce anxiety without really having control. I can control my response – or, I am trying to control my anxiety (it doesn’t like being controlled; control goes against its very own life force). I can control what I do and do not do each day through my choices, and the extent to which the voice of anxiety has a say in my choices. I can control what I do with my time and can fight against the apathy anxiety inspires me to feel.
I can control my language – internal and external. So, maybe I shouldn’t be fighting my anxiety but embracing it. Filling it with light and nurturing with hope. Reminding myself that this is temporary alleviates the feeling of doom that I think could descend. Knowing that I lead a blessed life and have so many things to be grateful for is helping. Acknowledging the physiological response stops me from drowning in it.
I am not in denial. But I do believe this too, shall pass and that life will return to normal. Eventually.
And I am grateful for the experience because it will enable a deeper and more authentic empathy for those that survive anxiety every day, and on a more long term basis.