a real talk about anxiety

Hello, Penny Darlings. Happy Monday. Or as happy as a Monday can be.

Preston & I had auditions for the season at the theatre we usually work with over the weekend and I think that they went really well! Or at least, I was really happy with the audition that I gave.

We also had a nice long Sunday of relaxing and taking it easy. He works so hard, that when he has a day off, I like him to sleep in, take a nice long shower, and eat breakfast at noon. If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.

I’m hoping to have some wedding updates to send you soon!

But I want to have a real talk today. Or as real as I can have.

I have anxiety.

I know, so do a lot of people. I know, a lot of people experience anxiety in really different ways. I know people experience anxiety in response to a multitude of different life experiences, trauma, and mental health issues.

But, I have no really big trauma to speak of.

I just can’t help it.

And I’ve been having a terrible bout of anxiety in the last few days. And I could post something really fun & cute, but it wouldn’t feel genuine. It would feel forced and sad. I’d be happy that I was able to post but sad that it was just a filler until I got into a better mindset.

So, for those of you who don’t have anxiety, I will describe what my experience is like.

Not everyone (or really anyone’s) experience is exactly the same as anyone else’s and that’s okay.

My experience is this:

I will sometimes have nothing happening at all when I am suddenly filled with an oppressive amount of dread for a deadline that isn’t real. My chest tightens, I can’t eat, I feel every muscle in my body tensing up, and I can barely talk or think or breathe.

I also have this response in response to my one biggest phobias: claustrophobia. I dread crowded supermarkets, concerts sound like an absolute nightmare, I like to sit on the aisle when we go to the theatre, crowded dance-y bars (I prefer ones where we can sit around on a big patio and talk) make me feel like a wallflower, and cramming in the backseat of the car is awful.

But that’s how I feel right now. An oppressive feeling in my chest of dread and fear. For nothing.

When I’m not so actively anxious, I still have what I call my ‘chyron’ of anxiety.

You know when you see a news update and the anchors are talking and there’s different other news scrolling along the bottom (usually about ongoing news).

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That little line that says ‘DEM CANDIDATES AND POSSIBLE’ is the Chyron part.

That’s what I feel running around in my head. I could be having a totally normal conversation or ordering a cup of coffee and my chryon runs around the inside of my head and says “One day your parents will die. People get in car accidents and die all the time. That could happen to Preston. What if you have a kid and you’re a great parent and they go on to be a mass murderer and everyone blames you when you’re equally devastated and shocked and what if someone in our building forgets to clean out the lint trap and the house burns down and we can’t get the dog out or what if you forgot to lock the door and you leave your laptop next to the door and what if you go to the doctor for something really routine and they find a major issue by accident or what if Preston ups and leaves you in the middle of the night like the last person who said they loved you and what if the garbage disposal accidentally turns on when your hand is in it and you have a few things to get out in the mail so don’t forget about that” and so on and so forth.

That was a serious and honest and real stream of consciousness that I worry about on a constant basis. Constant.

I’ve been trying to be more open and honest with my parents about it. And I told my parents last night that I was feeling some anxiety and when I said about nothing in particular, I gave him a few of the things on that list, and he said, ‘You can’t worry about that kind of stuff, Ab. You’ll drive yourself crazy.’

Oh would, that I could, dad, would that I could.

I know this is problematic. It sometimes make me really weird socially (So, apologies to Michael & Cara & Mer last night!). I usually find the energy of good friends really energizing. I never turn down a party or a night out with friends. It doesn’t keep me home in that kind of way, which is nice.

Sometimes I can’t sleep. Most times I can’t sleep. I stay awake sometimes hours after I hear Preston fall asleep. This morning I saw the clock turn to 6:42am and I woke up at 9:45 to Preston telling me he was leaving to go to work.

It’s 1:00pm and I still haven’t eaten anything. I’m just not really hungry.

For the most part, I’ve been able to be very self aware to have a good handle on myself. I know when I see things that are starting anxiety and I find a way to cope or not be involved in it. I have the most supportive and loving fiance on the face of the planet. I have great friends who see me (sometimes in my worst bouts) and don’t know because their joy brings me joy and their energy makes the chyron font VERY small.

But some days it’s harder to get out of the mindset. I’ve been having a few of those days.

I’d like to write a post about how I manage with self care and how I try to take care of my mental health. Is that something you might like to read?

I wish this were more general, maybe more relatable. But it’s my experience. And it’s how I’m feeling today. And that’s how I’m feeling.

I’m sorry if this is a drag on a Monday, but I wanted to express myself.

Maybe someone will relate to the feeling of just waking up and feeling terrified or of just eating a bowl of cereal and suddenly worrying about all of the emergency routes out of your house.

Maybe someone will relate to the feelings of being in crowds as feeling like the walls are closing in like the scene in Star Wars.

Maybe someone will relate to feeling like when you talk about your anxiety out loud that people are discounting it as not a real thing.

Maybe someone will relate to having a friend or a relative who doesn’t or won’t or can’t understand.

Maybe, someone will relate to feeling like I wish I could not think about my chyron all the time.

Maybe someone will relate to being plus sized and being shamed most of my life by my doctors (like, I went in at 14 when I couldn’t sleep and they talked to me about vegetables for 20 minutes and then said, oh yeah, you have RLS) has made me anxious about pursuing a mental health professional because doctors are scary.

Maybe someone will relate to the fear that I’m feeling as I get to the end and am about to express myself to everyone.

Maybe someone will relate.

I hope that this was an okay thing to post.

Thanks for letting me have that space.

Love you all. ❤

UPDATE: I just called to set up my first appointment with a mental health professional. Wish me luck.

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SO HERE’S THE “END OF BLOG” SPIEL!

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Thank you for all that you do. You are truly extraordinary.

Love all you wonderful ladies (and gents!) out there!

How Very,

Abby❤

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2 Comments

  1. AMBER S

    I do relate, though I guess I’ve never realized it as anxiety, maybe I’ve just always thought I had a really thorough overactive imagination. But as an example (so you know you’re not the only one) – I’ll be driving in traffic on the way home (most of my random what ifs pop up while I’m driving – maybe my brain thinks it needs something more to do) and I’ll think something like – “what if that thing on the truck in front of me were to shoot off and into my car, what if it decapitated me? what a horrible thing for my parents to have to identify my body. who would take my kid? i wonder if i have enough life insurance to cover her for the rest of her life? who would be there for her and give her advice? who would walk her down the aisle at her wedding?” and before I know it i’ve spent 20 minutes planning out circumstances for something that is NEVER going to happen (sometimes longer). I’ve caught myself doing this more times than I care to admit, and not always about dramatic things like that, maybe it’s something more mundane, like what if so and so says this to me, or thinks this OF me what would i do? Now, when I catch myself falling down the rabbit hole so to speak I literally give my head a little shake, take a deep breath, tell myself that that thing will NEVER happen, (and if it does I’ll figure it out THEN, because it definitely doesn’t need planning out NOW) and then force my brain on to something else. Maybe I’ll change the radio station to a song I can sing along to or put on an audiobook or something and I won’t allow myself to go back to thinking of it, every time it tries to start up with the same scenario or a new one to worry about I just do the same thing again. Don’t feel bad for having anxiety, like you said, you can’t help it, and don’t ever feel like you can’t be real. The world needs more “realness” don’t ya think? *HUGS*

    Like

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