ir·ra·tio·nal adjective \i-ˈra-sh(ə-)nəl, ˌi(r)-\
: not thinking clearly : not able to use reason or good judgment
: not based on reason, good judgment, or clear thinking
not rational: as
a (1) : not endowed with reason or understanding (2) : lacking usual or normal mental clarity or coherence
b : not governed by or according to reason
fallacious, illegitimate, inconsequent, inconsequential, invalid, illogical, nonrational, unreasonable, unreasoning, unsound, weak
Before I start, it is essential that we understand irrational. Because this is the foundation of what I want to explain. So go back and read it if you skimmed, or don’t read any further. I want you to have that concept in your head.
I have Anxiety. Diagnosed. I take meds. I have been to therapy. There are mostly good days. There are some pretty crummy days. Like most of us, on a good day, I can become frustrated, afraid, annoyed, angry. And since all of those feelings are based in reality I can usually talk myself out of them. Or find someone who can. I have a Pinterst board full of inspiring quotes, that usually get me back on track. Many days, my negative feelings are so minimal I feel as though I am bursting with joy or accomplishment or love.
It’s the anxious days. And this does not mean “test anxiety” or first date “anxiety”. This is Anxiety that is irrational. There is nothing any one can say or do that takes it away. There are no words of inspiration that motivate me to be calm.
“I don’t know where to go from here I don’t even know who I am anymore” ~says anxiety
I have been having these days a lot lately. Is it because my brain chemistry needs a boost of something? Is it because I have a new job and everything takes extra work and I am afraid of failing and not knowing? Is it the end of summer and start of school? Is it trying to pack up my life for two weeks and prepare to go to Africa at the same time? Who the heck knows. Because even if I could find the root, the source, the reason for my anxiety, it will not fix it.
My chest is tight, almost all the time. My ears ring and burn. My next tingles and the hair stands up. My legs want to jiggle and tap. If it gets really bad I can not sit down, but have to pace and shake my hands as though I can make the anxiety spurt from my finger tips.
Anxiety makes my thoughts spin. When someone tries to reason with me or soothe me, it makes my brain want to explode. And all of this can be happening and I will look completely normal. My body and mind can be betraying me and I will have a smile on my face. I may not hear what you are saying, or participating in what is going on or even remember it the next day. But you may not know that I am using everything in my power to stay calm on the outside.
I realize this sounds dramatic, and this is not a cry for help. This is not something that happens on a daily basis or even to this extent every time. But it does happen. And it is a part of my life. And I want it to make sense and I want it to go away. But I also want anyone out there who has felt this way, even once, to know they are not crazy. That everyone’s good intentions may not fix it.
Last night, I was immersed in anxiety. It started, per usual, when my daughter announced she had a stomachache. I was, as usual, an instant wreck. I popped a valium in the middle of Meijer and forced myself not to bolt. Trust me, I wanted to. And the rest of the night I was unable to get out of it. Even when she proved to be fine and played all night happily, I was already irrational. And as I tried to figure out what I needed to do, I realized I needed to ground myself in reality. Because irrational anxiety is not reality. So I put laundry away. And I communicated with people on facebook, and I read blogs, and then wrote a blog entry, and I scoured pinterest to find quotes from people who also have anxiety. And I felt better. And I still feel better.
It may all come flooding back tomorrow or I may not deal with it for months, but I WILL live my life without fear. Even when I am irrational. I will own it. I will name it. I will embrace it as a part of me. Because then I am in charge and I have the power.