These are strange and worrisome times. And for those of us who already live with anxiety demons, there is even more to worry about. Maybe we can even feel a strange camaraderie with other people because they too are now totally worried, albeit about something that merits being concerned about (unlike the lack of career path and imaginary roof leaks that sometimes fill my early morning hours).
How much harder it is to go through difficult times alone.
I remember the last presidential election, and feeling very alone as I went home after evening yoga and the world was different and there was no one to talk about it with. I went by myself to a meeting at a local nondenominational church and sat through a unity ceremony, but being out at night was worse and the ceremony wasn’t anything I would have done were I not alone. But now most of can’t even venture out.
My husband used to help me through my anxiety demons. He’d explain the worst case scenarios. I remember going grocery shopping with him the day after 9/11 and making our usual dinner and following the news…and we were together. Being with him let me go to sleep and stop finally stop watching the news. He was there so my world would be there. For some of us, our spouses were our world.
We are unmoored and even though we find ways to stay grounded, difficult times can bring up those feelings of being completely adrift. For the anxious, this is especially hard.
We don’t have our anchors and don’t tell us things will be fine because our beloved spouses died too early for no justifiable reason so no, things actually don’t work out for the best. Let us now bemoan platitudes (like I did here): everything happens for a reason, He has a plan, when you close a door, you open a widow…but who wants to have to go through broken glass because you got locked out?
Often people who haven’t been in long relationships don’t understand.
Disclaimer: I have been in a relationship for almost two years. That’s probably why I don’t write much these days…I have no more bad dating stories to seek commiseration about, although I’m still very cranky and happy to overshare. I’m still anxious, but not as much as I used to be.
My partner has undertaken the task of keeping me rational and, for the most part, it works. He’s a big self-help and positivity person which is nothing I ever thought I could live with (but is actually quite cheering and the possible topic of another blog post). He bought me roses yesterday and looked confused when I asked why he didn’t also get food we didn’t need, because everybody else was doing it so we’d better do it too.
I don’t have great advice for coping with anxiety demons, especially now, when joining a group or taking an in-person class isn’t an option. But as a long-time anxiety sufferer, I’m thinking of:
- Returning to journaling. I really like the 750 words site. Somehow, it encourages me to write through my feelings because it feels like a homework assignment. Ahhhh, that excellent feeling of checking something off a to-do list.
- Investing in actual books with pages or at least using a Kindle instead of a regular computer. That way I can’t keep checking the news or seeing if Amazon has restocked its toilet paper supplies. But be careful what you read. I tried some books on grief in an effort to improve my writing, and soon realized I wanted cheerier, more escapist fare. Cheers if now is the time for you to tackle Crime and Punishment, but it isn’t for me.
- Doing yoga online. My regular yoga studio is posting classes online since we can’t go to class.
- Trying to appreciate slowing down. I’m getting an MFA in writing and lately I’ve felt like I’m always dashing, trying to get in classes and exercise and house stuff and be present in my relationship but I’m generally two steps ahead of where I actually am. I’d like to use this time to reflect on what I really want and if I’m happy in my home and what I’d like to change.
- Finding creativity. For example, the folks in my MFA class have created their own shared writing spaces online. A friend has created her own site called Pickle Ball Yogi offering rolling and yoga training for pickle ball fans. I myself, being too technically inept to create a new site (I’m just figuring out meeting by Zoom), may try to resurrect this one.
Take care. Thank you for taking your precious time to read this. I’m open to suggestions. I love you.