By Christy Gualtieri
This one is for all of my fellow anxiety sufferers out there. I don’t know about you, but I’m a pro at making stuff up to be anxious about. Does this ever happen to you? I like to think that I’m living my life, while in reality I’m just jumping from worry to worry. Just recently, I was anxious about my son’s birthday party. How would it go? I thought. Would everyone have fun? Was it going to rain? What if a kid didn’t have a good time? How would that affect my son socially?
Did you catch that transition there? It was two jumps from “Is it going to rain” to “How is my son going to be socially affected by his own birthday party?”
I mean, really.
It’s horrible, and the thing is, I know it’s happening, but I can’t stop it. By the time I’ve reached that level of anxiety, my body just takes over, and I’m down that rabbit hole. There is not a lot left for me to do except ride it out. And it’s a horrible place to be.
We ended up having the party. It did not rain. My son’s social abilities seemed to be fine.
But then, the next day came, and so now that the party was over, I quickly moved to the next thing to worry about, which was a trip to visit family that wouldn’t happen for another five days.
I think a lot of anxiety sufferers (and make no mistake, this is suffering) struggle every day to escape this way of thinking. I know I did – and still do. It’s taken over a decade of therapy to get to the point where I can know what’s going to happen and to know that I have to reach for a (sometimes physical, mostly mental) box of tools that will help me through the rough spots.
I hope that one day, my anxiety will be overcome completely, but I don’t know that it will. It’s like those ads on TV for prescription medication that has a symbol of a problem hanging around (like a little cartoon bladder or a COPD-symbolizing elephant). If I can learn how to manage my anxiety, then it can walk around with me, I guess, but it doesn’t have to control me. It doesn’t have to send my back and chest into painful spasms and cause headaches.
We can coexist, but I can be in charge.
Am I there yet? Not really — at least, not right now. But I have hope that I will get there! If you are suffering from anxiety as well, know that you are not alone. Please try and seek help from trained counselors that will help you explore your own ways to move past the jumping from problem to problem style of living to the calm, peaceful life you were meant to live!
Until next time, be well!
Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at asinglehour.wordpress.com, and tweets @agapeflower117. Follow PghPsych on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates, inspirational quotes, articles, and different events and causes related to good mental health.