April Fool’s Day for me this year is April 3. This morning I woke up and realized it’s the 3rd day of the month and I’d completely spaced – and I mean, entirely forgotten – to get started on the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Luckily, I’d decided to talk about feelings this month and guess what? A is for anxiety. A perfect segue into today’s blog. Yippee!!
I suffer from anxiety. Not the passing “roller coasters make me nervous” (though they do) or “ack! I have to sing in front of how many people??” (I get this one every single time I perform) anxiety. My anxiety is chronic and has made it difficult, at times, to function normally. After my daughter was born, I realized I was having crippling panic attacks every time I breastfed. As it turns out, there’s an actual reason for this having to do with fluctuations in lactation-related hormones. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that at the time and the anxiety was so bad that I had to lie down so I wouldn’t pass out (not exactly ideal when you have a newborn to tend to). People with anxiety are faced with many choices. During my daughter’s infancy, I chose to give up breastfeeding so that I could function more normally as a parent. I wasn’t thrilled, but given the information and resources I had at the time, I think it was the right decision.
Over the years, I’ve thought quite a lot about how my anxiety has affected my choices. For instance, I love to travel. But for a while there, I wasn’t sure I could fly again. On one flight, I spent the entire time in the air with my head pressed against the seat in front of me, struggling to regain control of my insane thoughts. And because I come from a long line of anxious women, there were moments when I resigned myself to my fate: a quiet life keeping my anxiety in check.
Fortunately, I crave adventure. As I get older, and my kids grow up, I realize that there are a million things I want to do, both on my own and with them. And as a writer, I need and want to have adventures. To experience new things that I can write about. To put myself out there in the world and see what happens. And in order to do that, I need to conquer my anxiety. Actually, I’m not sure I believe in “conquering” my anxiety as much as I believe that I must learn to work with it and around it. The truth is, I still experience anxiety daily. I have a whole arsenal of coping tools and I use them faithfully, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel anxiety. I’ve just learned how to deal with it more effectively.
What I find interesting is that, the more I share about my experiences with anxiety, the more I hear similar stories. Anxiety is one of those conditions that makes you feel isolated and alone, and yet, it takes almost no time to find lots of kindred spirits in the fight against anxiety.
Feel free to share here. You (WE) are not alone.
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.