Despite the title, I'm currently swimming, though against the current. I'm going to talk about something today that I rarely do, at least in such a public forum. Anxiety. More specifically my anxiety. I know if you've followed this blog since 2010, I've alluded to it more than once, and I've even alluded to the life I had when I was younger--most likely the biggest contributor to the anxiety, but even in life I'm rarely honest about it.
I rarely say that thoughts--BAD thoughts--spin around in my head, circling like sharks waiting for a weak moment to take over my body. Waiting for the time, when the girl inside gives in and lets the thoughts control her next action or inaction. That moment of weakness rarely comes, but strength comes at a cost. Looking normal on the outside means constant tug-of-war on the inside. It means overanalyzing the minutest of details repeatedly until the voice of reason in my head has either talked down the enemy, or given in. The giving in happens a lot. It's not an action or an inaction, merely a state of mind. Something someone else would barely notice, although I think my husband has learned to notice. The giving in is just the notion that whatever (usually minor thing) has me so worked up is now inevitable. There isn't anything I can do about it except sit back and wait. Watch it explode. The anxiety starts with things other people probably wouldn't even think twice about, and once it's rooted, it grows. Small things, things that if you did pay attention to you would laugh off, become huge. The war is waged. The overly rational corner of my brain knows the fear is irrational and if anything does come of it, it will be something really minor. But fear knows no reason. The only thing I really have going for me is that I do know the fear is irrational. I've met other people who aren't able to get that far, who don't know when the fear is irrational. And who aren't able to function because of it. Fortunately, that's not me. Unfortunately, I'm not sure this is any easier.
The reason I'm able to tell you this today is because a few years ago, I went through a year and a half of counseling. The anxiety has gotten better in some senses since then. For example, I've learned triggers (often people) and tend to avoid them. And I know when I'm having a bad day. Not a bad day in the sense that I woke up and everything that could go wrong went wrong, but a day when the anxiety is not only in my head but I can feel it bubbling in my chest. It's the same feeling you get watching a horror movie, or right at the climax of a book. But on a bad day with the anxiety nothing has to happen to trigger that feeling. Today is a bad day. I've struggled with all day long and don't really even know why. But I knew it was a struggle, so I admitted it. I tried to live life anyway, and when it didn't get better I wrote this. My first public admission. Because sometimes talking through it helps. And because I've learned how to deal with it. And because I no longer have to care what people think. I've always been ashamed to admit this, but I realize being able to cope with this every day is hard. It's okay to say so.