You know that feeling you get when you slip on ice? What if that just continued on . . . and on . . . and on . . . this is how Andrew Solomon describes his anxiety.
Was I anxious all the time? Not exactly, but there were a few events that triggered my anxiety.
I like to think of anxiety as this spectrum that all of us reside on (perhaps with a scale of 0-100).
We all have differing baselines. Hypothetically, Danny may average around 55-60 and I’m 10-15. However, life events and circumstances can trigger a jump on the scale—make sense? Danny very well could have been around 90-100 for the past two years. Through processing all of his crap he re-approached that 55-60 range—with all the new tools he has his baseline could change…who knows?
There were a few memorable events or people that triggered my anxiety multiple times over the last few years. Something would trigger me, I’d have a thought and it would pop up to perhaps 65 or 70. Thankfully, anxiety expert Danny coached me and it gradually waned. I consider my case(s) to be very mild.
When we’re in good headspaces, it can sometimes be helpful to remember how anxiety serves us. I have joked that the heroes during disasters that save the day could quite possibly have been the anxious person that walked into every movie theater/airplane/restaurant scanning the area for all exits before sitting down.
When the anxiety gets to a point where it isn’t serving someone or it’s simply unmanageable, that’s when it makes sense to find ways to alleviate the stress it brings.
During the past few years I experienced insomnia, a symptom of PTSD. Anxiety, stress, and depression are said to be common causes of insomnia. This was not like me at all. I would lay down after an 18-20 hour day and my mind would race. I would worry about the future, what I couldn’t control, and it usually ended with me turning on mediation music. I took a lot of naps (my kids can attest to this)—possibly too many. However, today I can look back at myself with loads of compassion. I did what I needed to do to survive and keep my family alive. Sure, it would have been great if I had more tools to handle the negative emotion. I didn’t, and that’s ok.
I did what I needed to do, and that’s ok.
I kept my kids alive, and that was pretty damn amazing!
My husband found ways to heal through all of this—which is wonderful. The insomnia and small bouts of anxiety eventually went away. I feel like I’m at my normal spot on the spectrum again—for now—and I’m ok with that too.