I’d forgotten what it felt like.
The jitteriness, the inability to sit still, combined with an utter paralysis.
That breath that you seem to be holding between the top of your chest and the bottom of your throat – afraid to let it go and deflate your lungs.
That constant clench in the pit of your stomach, where food sits heavy and undigested.
Any one else recognise this insidious feeling as our 24 hour rolling news continues to spit out its doom and gloom. (And yes, the off button is worn down with use!)?
Here’s what happens.
You feel completely out of control with everything that is going on around you.
You feel paralysed, unable to do anything.
You snap unnecessarily at your loved ones..
You can’t think straight. Don’t know what to do, where to go. You sedate yourself with too much wine and Netflix.
For anyone navigating their way through life over the last 20 months, anxiety has almost become the default setting. The unpredictability and lack of control we perceive every single day can take its toll on both our sense of emotional stability, and our physical health as well.
I’m no different. Looking back over the last few months, I know I’d been pushing myself. Making massive changes and putting me, and my family under a huge degree of pressure. And so I am at that point at the moment where I am pushing the boulder up the steepest part of the mountain, and I can’t see the top. There is no end in sight, and this bloody boulder is getting heavier and heavier. And I think my efforts have dislodged some loose outcrop somewhere because all of a sudden I am being assailed by a hail of rocks and stones from up high.
I had learnt to manage my thinking to the point where it never even occured to me to be worried, or anxious, but maybe deep down my subconscious was telling me otherwise, and it had to chuck this bloody great big rock at me to remind me to slow down and take a breath.
So I am stopping to take stock. I’ve managed to wedge the boulder so as not to let it slip backwards, and I just want to admire the view and gain some perspective again. Even writing this down makes me feel more in control and re-energised.
Remember – to emote is human. To feel anxious is human. To feel frightened is human. But each and every one of us has the ability to learn what I learnt many years ago, that our ability to deal with that anxiety is deep within our own power. I’m not sure I would have got as far as I have today without understanding that in the past.