It’s been a funny start to the year. Not the ‘ha-ha’ kind.
The last couple of weeks have seen some family upsets, a family bereavement, failed budgeting, failed meal planning, forgotten commitments and a house that resembles a landfill site to name but a few. So, of course, my old buddy Anxiety decided now was the perfect time for it to come and set up lodgings as it has been a while since I last properly hosted it, managing all this time to instead have a quick chat with it at the door and send it on its way.
When it first took up residence – in my chest, this time, it’s normally in my belly (oh HAI, IBS) – my first reaction was to do what I normally do:
Cut back on everything.
Go for walks with no aim.
Don’t over commit to things.
Focus on nutritious food and snacks.
Organise a couple of ‘me’ days.
Take some natural remedies.
Have Epsom salt baths.
…which is all perfectly fine.
Except it’s not, because once I start feeling better, I feel renewed, cut back on doing all these things, run head first back towards Mount Responsibility without so much as a backwards glance at the stuff which got me back to the foot of the mountain in the first place and inevitably get only so far up before my buddy pops up, frightens the bejesus out of me and I tumble back down to the bottom. Repeat ad infinitum.
You see, while all of those healing things are extremely necessary and important, I wasn’t using them to help, I was using them to escape. I was using them to ignore, to shift my focus entirely onto stuff that’s pleasant or placebo, to trick my mind into thinking I’m fine.
And my buddy Anxiety, it means well, but it’s one of those annoying acquaintances you have who keep reminding you about shit stuff that you don’t want to think about. But need to.
Anxiety, for me, appears when I need to just stop. If I don’t stop and listen to what it’s lovingly but annoyingly trying to point me to, it will keep popping up, just when I feel like I’m getting to the fun bits.
So I’ll take my Epsom bath. I’ll take my remedies. I’ll go a bit slower. But I won’t put my headphones on and screech through Avril Lavigne’s Let Go (metaphorically speaking only, of course. SO 2002) in order to block out what I don’t want to face this time.
I’ll look it straight in the eye, try my best to hear it’s voice through all the chaos and noise of my day and our day and today and say:
“OK, buddy. I’m listening. Was is it you need to tell me?”