Most of my anxieties arise from being in desperate and disparate situations, where something must be done immediately, but there are impeding incongruencies and inconveniences. The problem isn’t always external. You can control the flow of an anxious conversation, reroute it, or otherwise handle it. The insidious anxieties are the ones that wake me up and compel me to write emails that shouldn’t be sent, or force me to relive scenes from twenty years ago.
These anxieties occur strikingly frequently.
My most common coping mechanism for that is treating it like a hallucination. When my mind and body are taxed beyond normal boundaries, I’ll see insects crawling on things and in areas where they should not be: an ant colony under a rug or a lone ant crawling along my headphone cable while I was rowing. If I focus on something else, they go away, and I know they’re not real because I never catch them.
Anxiety isn’t as simple.
Eating and disassociation have been my two go-tos, so when I woke up in a panic last night with my heart beating faster than a grindcore drummer, the default strategy of breathing in and out slowly, and fully, just wasn’t working. I don’t remember the nightmare that forced me into that state. Even after writing my thoughts in a note for later review, I could not return to the calm views of dreams or the silent nothingness of sleep.
I overate and stayed up too late.
I feel sick right now, but capable. I’m over the worst of it, even though I only slept for two hours, maybe. In those situations, there is an uncontrollable desperation, disparation, and despair-ation of the situation. Calm must be restored, there are incongruencies preventing that, and if not addressed the problem will only exacerbate to an explosion.
I don’t know how to manage it.
For situations where the fear is from some unknown calamity across the body’s imagination, there is no quick fix. Anti-anxiety medications can pull the emergency brake before causing a mental traffic collision, but at what cost? The easiest way around it is to give up perceptions of control. You can’t control the anger of others. You can’t even often guide their anger elsewhere.
We’ve gotta be polite little children.
Why can’t we rebel again? Is it because being obedient is better than observant? What if we just spoke our minds with tact and fact? The more we hide in the moment, the more our future selves feel starved, causing an internal rebellion known as anxiety. If all systems are go, it’s all flow, but if it’s too slow, or something just blows, then seeds of anxiety do grow. When we express ourselves, we can blow off just enough steam to endure the day’s stresses, even if it’s taking something normal and making it our own. Through all this, I manage my life. Stress can only creep in if you let it. Just like weight gain or insobriety.
You’re in control.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: The day before, I wrote about how anxiety, for me, was about desperation and disparation. I needed to write at length about it the next day.|
|Related: Other Sober Living essays.|
|Photo: My original visual thought was of a basketball court with some kind of disparity, like a weird situation happening there, but on my most recent visit to Seattle, seeing this sort of contradiction seemed to fit just as well. A “detour” leading to a “sidewalk closed” is an example of “well, that doesn’t fit…”|
|Written On: September 28th [31 minutes, from intro at 4:55am to “polite little children” at 5:17am, then from 6:07pm to outro at 6:16pm, both on mobile]|
|Last Edited: September 28th [No edits done during the digi-typesetting process.]|