No really. Do it. Close your eyes, open your mouth, breathe in, exhale out and repeat.
We all have that nagging little voice in the back of our head that tells us when we are feeling overwhelmed or under inspired or especially self critical. Sometimes that voice is spot on like when we neglect to study for an important test or when we don't come prepared to a meeting and the CEO just happens to pop in at the exact moment we are about to present.
But sometimes that same voice hinders instead of helps, and sometimes on really bad days, it becomes suffocating.
Today was one of those days for me.
I've dealt with my unique form of anxiety my whole life. And honestly, I've always thought of it as more of a friend than a foe. My anxiety helped me over prepare for the most important moments of my life, it helped me to get the things done that needed doing and helped remind me about things I'd have otherwise forgotten.
I have never been a procrastinator, I simply never could be a procrastinator because my anxiety wouldn't allow it. In college I remember my friends trying to convince me to go out the night before a quiz I had for my art history class...yes...art history... "Art history?" they said, a quizzical expression on their faces. "I mean what are the odds you actually don't pass?" And so by some miracle, a minor case of senior-itis and a healthy dose of guilt tripping, I found myself out at a bar, nearing 2 am, with a beer in hand, on a school night. And you know what? I almost forgot about that quiz! Almost...
Until I woke up 3 hours later, in a panic. The voice in my head cursing me for poor choices and a lack of hydration. I ran all the way to class, studied for another half hour in the hallway, got to my desk, waited anxiously as quizzes began to circulate the room and felt the beginnings of panic rise up in my throat as I read the first question.
AND THEN but wait, could it be? I ACTUALLY knew the answer! To that question, and the next question and the next. Actually, I muthafuckin ACED that test, I crushed it, I nailed it so hard it didn't even know what hit it. And... in that moment I knew that all my anxiety, all my fears, all the time spent fretting at the bar when I should have been enjoying the moment with friends, was all for nought.
And now that I'm out of college, my life has become an instant replay of that one night when I agonized over something SO small, and forgot to enjoy the big things, the important things.
I mean after all, there are so many things to worry about:
1.) Appearance - Are my hips are too wide, why cant I stop biting my nails, my hair is too thin, are my teeth really that crooked? I need to work out more, I need to eat less, if only my lips were a little more plump, if only my eye lashes were thicker, if only, if only, if only.
2.) What do people think about me? As a friend, as a girlfriend, as a daughter, a sister, a part of the family?
3.) Life - Like in general. Why is it so hard? How come nobody told me about being in your twenties? What do I want to do with my life? Am I doing enough with my life? Where do I want to be ten years from now? How do I get there? What steps are along the way?
4.) Relationships - How come everyone is so obsessed with marriage? How come everyone is having babies? How are people my age allowed to have kids and get married? Is it weird that I'm proud of being in a committed relationship for an entire year?
5.) Friends - Am I the only one worrying about all these things?
6.) Work - Do I work hard? Do I make a lot of mistakes? Am I smart? Am I weird? Did I only got this job because I knew the manager?
And that's just to name a few. The list goes on and on.
And at the end of the day, I think all we need is to talk about it, get it off our chest, have somebody tell us that we aren't crazy, that it's not weird and that we aren't over reacting. Because everything will be just fine. There is so much more to life :)
Sometimes its just helpful to be around someone who understands.
And sometimes we just need to get away. Go someplace new and exciting and fresh. Re-invent ourselves.
And sometimes, we just need to breathe. Close our eyes, open our mouths, breathe in, exhale out and repeat.