A friend of mine posted about anxiety this week on social media. She was reflecting when she was doing dishes. Her words gave me pause.
As someone who has experienced overwhelming anxiety in my life I thought, how do I cope with or handle my anxieties and are they actually anxieties or simple worries I am working them up until they are causing me anxiety.
What is the difference between worry and anxiety? Worry is more in our head, anxiety is in our bodies. Thoughts verses bodily changes. Specifics verses complete or utter. Worry can bring problem solving while actual anxiety brings no response like that it feels like no beginning, no end. Worry feels controllable while anxiety makes you feel out of such. Worry is temporary anxiety can linger for what seems like forever.
With those differences in mind I begin to think about the things I think about. I think about the state of the world. Cliche I know. However I wonder about when things will improve. When hard work will be rewarded and dreams come true. I think about the world my niece will grow up in compared with the one I did. I think about the years I have dealt with all the feelings of chaos inside my head and I wonder when will the struggle end. It is these moments I start to feel overwhelmed and my chest feels tight. I feel panic and terror. My breath gets short and I feel sweat form on the palms of my hands. Its when this happens every awful thing that’s ever happened bombards my thoughts. I am standing there plate in hand remembering that time when I was 14, or that thing I did at 16, how that day at 23 followed by the years of things occurred until….
I am in a full blown panic/anxiety attack convinced I’m having a heart attack and now freaking out about all the things I have left to do at 36, 45, 60. Will I even make it to 60? Why is this happening to me. Why does this always happen to me. When will it stop. Why is it the quiet moments that fuel the beast. This isn’t fair… why… why… why..
When doing dishes or chores like it when all the madness fuzz creeps in that is what I ultimately think about, breathing. Remaining calm not letting my thoughts compound until I have ran away with myself and my slice of reality. I breathe. Remind myself that worrying about things to the point of sacrificing my health is not what we are doing. No we are just breathing and cleaning the kitchen.