Jump on the Anxiety Train! Woo Woo!

My happy place

I believe there are two types of people in this world: anxious people and not anxious people. I am the former. I’m sure my anxiety began to surface at some point in college. Probably when I failed my first statistics exam. Believe it or not I didn’t realize I had anxiety until a couple of years ago when I had a panic-attack at work. Oh, well hello there, anxiety! At first I was like, “Whatever, anxiety shmanxiety. My name is Joy. I was born happy and calm”. This is what therapists refer to as an ‘irrational belief’. I finally came to terms with it and decided to see a psychiatrist. His office would soon become the butt of many jokes between my girlfriends who went to the same doc. We even nicknamed him ‘Milldawg’. But that’s another blog post. Let’s just say his office contained interesting art. Interesting meaning extremely weird and anxiety-provoking. Stay tuned.

For a while I had Mr. A(nxiety) under control. No panic attacks. No chest pains. I win! I was so over that whole anxiety thing. Oh, wait, that’s not how it works? I can’t win first place against anxiety? But I always win first place, dammit.

Because our world is unpredictable and very bad things have happened recently my anxiety level has skyrocketed to the high heavens. I’m calling my mom constantly saying things like, “Drive safe! Wear your seatbelt!”, and wondering at all hours of the day whether or not my parents got struck by lightning or left a candle burning and their house is going up in flames. I’m presently acutely aware, with good reason, about death and dying and losing somebody I love dearly. Just so you know this is normal especially when random bad things happen in the world. It’s called a ‘trauma response’ and can manifest in a zillion different ways. For all of you out there reading this thinking, “What a weirdo”, then HIGH-FIVE, you don’t have anxiety! I wish I could live in your tranquil world surrounded by soft puppies and cotton candy!

If you do have anxiety, welcome! You’re not alone. Or maybe you are alone and you’re super anxious about it. Sucks to be you. Just kidding. But it is super important to talk to somebody about your feelings. It doesn’t have to be in the annoying therapist-y way, either. Confide in friends, family, or even me. I’ll bet lots of kombucha that once you open up about your feelings you’ll realize just how normal you really are.

Luckily I’m married to the exact opposite personality. If I paid my husband a million dollars to act anxious he’d give me a blank stare and start rattling off Pearl Jam lyrics or something (he likes to redirect when I start acting crazy). Scott’s anxious trait lives in Hawaii on the beach listening to Deepak Chopra 24/7. The guy could not be any further from anxious. Doctors should find a way to bottle him up and sell him in pill form.

So dude, here we are (we = me and my anxious voices). Anxious as all hell. We’re all going to die someday! I’m going to have to get in my car and drive wondering if an airplane is going to fall from the sky! I might get a flat tire while driving and fly off the road. A burglar might break in to my house while I’m sleeping at night. It’s crazy thoughts like these that I simply have to acknowledge, let go and beat them up in Crossfit and/or talk them off of the ledge while I’m running. I also have to laugh a lot and remember I’m not alone in anxietyland. I have so many awesome friends who live here too! We play a lot of cards, take a lot of walks, and go to yoga together. Because what other choice do I have? Anxiety and I are friends now. We have to be friends. Sometimes Mr. A pays a surprise visit. I’ve tried explaining to him I’m not a fan of surprise visitors. He’s learning.

I came home today to find the sweetest package from my mother with a note that said; Enclosed is a meaningful necklace I never wore. I kept it in my jewelry box as a young girl. It was given to me by my great-grandmother. Because she rarely gave us material things, it was very special to me. It’s time to pass on to you. Please cherish it too.

Thank you MOM. I love you. You always know when I need Mom Support.

These are the moments I’m learning to focus on. Especially on days like today when the anxiety train is charging 100 miles per hour. On the bright side I like to vacuum when I’m anxious, so, the house is looking spectacular.

All joking aside I hope fellow-anxiety-peeps feel like you’re in good company. Weird good company but in my humble opinion, we’re the best kind of company.

Cheers my A-listers!

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14 Responses to Jump on the Anxiety Train! Woo Woo!

  1. anne says:

    Girrrrl, I feel ya. I am an anxiety girl (“able to jump to irrational conclusions in a single bound!” – this cartoon tells that joke better then me (http://www.annetheadventurer.com/2011/06/this-is-so-me.html), too. Therapy has been my go to for years, and I love it. I also have realized that I am a highly sensitive person. Have you ever read that book? SO GOOD.

  2. tiffanybluegirl23 says:

    I think many of us are on the A-train right with you; just on different cars. I think you are handling it as best as you can and are surrounded by many people who will help you through. If all else fails and vacuuming isn’t enough go see coach TJ to burn off some nervous energy. I know when I’m anxious or as I call it restless a few miles/laps helps at least in the moment.

    *hugs*

    • joyintheday says:

      *hugs*!!! I’m so glad you’re on the train with me too:) So nice to hear your kind words!

      • tiffanybluegirl23 says:

        Yup some days I’m driving the train, others I’m on various cars. Rarely am I lucky enough to be on the caboose or even be able to get off long enough to let the train miss me for a few stops. That’s why I run, lean on my friends and read blogs about crazy women shopping in Crossfit shirts naming succulents after celebrities ;0) Have a great trip here in CA.

  3. If I woke up and my worries weren’t with me, I’d be so worried!!! Man I have issues ;)

  4. Um yes. I had my first real anxiety attack when I was 9 and some days I feel like I am the conductor on the Anxiety Train! My big ones are every time I say goodbye to someone I think “Oh my gosh, is this the last time I’m ever going to see this person?” and also waking up in the middle of the night wondering if there were any typos in the emails I sent that day. Totally normal right? :) And even though I don’t know anyone who was affected by what happened last week, thinking about it still makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. Glad to know I’m not the only one who is a little nuts!

  5. PS, have you read any of the New York Times’ Anxiety column? It’s pretty great. Written by lots of different people about their experiences with anxiety. Some of them are funny and some are scary but they are all very sobering. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/category/anxiety/

  6. It’s always refreshing to read/be told that having a certain level of anxiety is normal and that “when random bad things happen in the world…It’s called a ‘trauma response’ and can manifest in a zillion different ways.” I can certainly attest to that.

    I have to say that recent events in my life have really tested my ability to persevere: my father was in a serious motorcycle accident just a year ago (when he was visiting me and I had to be the ‘adult’ at the age of 22 to take care of everything since I live far away from my parents house; it was a challenging ordeal to say the least), had my first panic attack 6 months ago (life of a grad student I suppose, but I saw a counselor about it), 2 deaths on the same side of the family 3 weeks apart during July 2012; the manner of one of those deaths ‘slapping us in the face’ as to the seriousness of a family member’s addiction problem that started up again a year ago (that nobody knows how to go about resolving since that person doesn’t think its a problem or that it doesn’t affect the rest of the family) that I only recently found out among other things…

    But I don’t want anyone to think that I am playing the part of the victim here. Life happens and I am learning that it can kind of suck to grow up because you are forced to deal with these kinds of unforeseeable/uncontrollable issues. I know that I have spent the better part of a month trying to come to ‘terms’ with the family situation at hand (plus all the other things that happened at the same time not mentioned) because it is hard to watch/know someone you love have self destructive tendencies that they don’t want to deal with.

    What has helped me is exactly what you said: talking to friends, family, and even a counselor at times. I am calling this year (that ‘life’ seems to be happening) my rite of passage into adulthood. I like to think that once I get through this, I will be all the stronger and will have a better grasp on the realities of life. But I do make sure to not get bogged down by all the serious stuff :) otherwise I might miss out on all the wonderful things life has to offer in contrast.

    And to anyone facing ‘life hitting you at full force’ I am sending you a virtual hug!!! Hugs are the best!

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