As humans, we try to find logic in things we don’t understand. We envision patterns and concepts and labels that are of our own musings, just to satisfy our hungry curiosity. It’s hard to accept what just doesn’t make sense.
As is the case with anxiety. And wow, has mine been bad lately. All it takes is one little misstep or inconvenience to really throw me into a mental tizzy. A dentist appointment, an usually not-so fun situation, has been a trigger enough to get my mind on an endless race except nobody is winning. Just one hour to be away from my normal workday schedule has me on the verge of tears at all times, hardly able to get a full breath in my lungs.
As with any other time I’m in a frenzied state, I always seem to turn to this space. To try and refocus my mind on something practical instead of just letting an endless counting of numbers consume my mind as I fear the worst of everything, just from going on the normal one-hour break to go to the dentist. Which, as it usually seems to be, sounds ridiculous. Why make a fuss over a shortened work week and putting in enough hours? Why automatically assume the worst results from my appointment without even going there yet?
I like to think that by thinking the way I do, I am preparing myself for the worst. I’m worrying about whether or not I’ll need my wisdom teeth removed and the potential aftermath from that so maybe it’s easier to accept if it truly is the case. I’m obsessively counting through my hours of work each day multiple times just to be extra sure I’m getting my time in to make sure I’m doing my best at my job and pleasing my coworkers. My mind trickles down winding paths that fall into the drenches of my fears.
For example, if you aren’t lost already, let’s go through my wisdom teeth logic. I picture myself going to a new dentist. Taking the procedural x-rays that leave me gagging on those random stints they stick between your teeth for the best image. The appointment takes longer than expected because the dentist won’t stop scraping. They find cavities to fill. They want me to take out my wisdom teeth immediately. Which would be the first time I ever go under anesthesia, having no clue how I react to those drugs. I wake up from surgery sick from them. I cannot work, so I fall behind in everything. I can only eat soft foods, which limits my diet, which triggers me to restrict food again after my longest time in the recovery phase of my eating disorder that doesn’t cease to nag me every day. The voice only gets stronger. And if it’s during the summer, I’m missing out working on hours. I’m disappointing the people that have given me this great opportunity. They get frustrated with that and fire me. I’m thrown into the depths of severe depression.
If that didn’t throw you for a tailspin, then you must have a twisted mind yourself. I rationally know that feeling on edge by a scenario that would most likely never reach fruition is a waste of my time and energy, cleaving fractures between myself and those I love when I trap myself inside my trembling shell, somehow kept safe by conjuring up nightmares.
I have faced my fair share of triggering moments like this where I lose all control I have over my anxiety. That voice can take on various personas depending on the setting, a nagging ache or a whisper of unease or a false caregiver keeping me safe. But in its worst moments, it feels like the only grip I have on keeping myself together, fashioning myself together by a flimsy thread that can barely be considered a functioning human form. I feel reliant on that feeling. Otherwise I would just cower under the covers of my bed and never leave. Somehow the anxiety is both debilitating and necessary. A twisted balance of extreme highs and sinking lows. A continuous game I play that keeps going into overtime, no winner in sight.
So I just go through the motions. I have no choice but to keep on moving, no matter how much I’d love to take a week off from everything, from living. But that would just make more anxiety for myself about the world turning without me there. that I’m wasting my life away. It never ends. Which again, what sense is there in that? To spin every situation into something terrifying like a magnified news headline. Then to eventually find out the truth, putting on your glasses to read the blurry figures and feel exhausted, only to worry again.
And just like anxiety, this post probably makes no sense. This train of thought has fallen off the rails long before ever putting it onto virtual paper. But when anxiety is dependent upon our internal debates, it’s hard to understand that perspective when all you see is a tapping foot, a dazed expression, a restless mood. While this example is only one of many faces anxiety might take on, an inside perspective is better than none. A realization that yes, anxiety lacks any sort of reason for those only seeing its repercussions, but it’s real to the person experiencing it. They’re illogical but valid thoughts. Anxious people don’t ask for you to find the patterns and sense of reality behind our thoughts; we only ask that you empathize, you support us, and you stop making sense from nonsense.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie