Monday, June 12, 2017
The Art of Worrying
I know I've written about anxiety before -- I won't bother to repost links. I used to poo-poo people with anxiety...just suck it up and tell yourself everything will be ok! It's pretty simple. Then it happened to me. I started to worry about everything. Did I say something stupid? Do I have something in my teeth? Why did I trip on that stupid crack in the sidewalk, I should have been paying attention! Do I look fat? Are my clothes ugly? Did I write something stupid in a blog so everyone could see it and judge me? I always associate depression and anxiety issues with my weight loss surgery. I'm sure I've always had it a little bit, but it didn't flare into a "thing" until after I lost a ton of weight. One theory for women is that estrogen is stored in fat cells and when all of that is released at once, it kind of turns you into a crazy person. Another theory, and probably the one I feel affected me the most, was that we thought life would be perfect once we were thin(ner) and it wasn't. Skinny people are all millionaires with no real jobs and housekeepers for those fat houses they own, right? However, we woke up to find we still had to go to work, pay the bills and live our normal (and apparently boring) lives.
I still deal with both anxiety and depression, although I feel like I've really gotten a handle on it over the last five years or so. I find that unrealistic expectations along with not taking action when I'm in an unhappy situation can lead me down the road of feeling shitty. And if I let myself spiral out of control, I can go from being on top of the world, to feeling like a hormonal teenager where everything and everybody sucks and my life is over. So the trick for me is to not let it spiral. I try to catch it when it's happening, and remind myself that "this too shall pass." I remember being in the middle of a break up almost ten years ago. My ex was asking me to stay and work things out. He just kept telling me to "fake it til you make it." And I thought, what a stupid fucking concept. I had no ability to fake it. In fact, when I'm pissed, you know. Everyone knows. I'm not always loud and angry, but my brooding teenage silence will let you know. If I stop talking, you should probably leave the area. In that case, faking it wouldn't have worked. I was done with that relationship and needed out. However, now I apply that in another way. I don't necessarily fake it til I make it, but I DO reframe and remind myself of all the good in my life so that I can pull myself out of the spiral.
You're probably wondering why this is even a blog post. Yesterday, Dave told me about a friend who had died doing something he loved. He was sad and we were discussing having dangerous hobbies. I told him how, when I rode horses on a regular basis, I had people give me a hard time on many occasions because I didn't wear a helmet. My response was always essentially that if I fell from a horse as tall as mine, I was going to break my neck, so a helmet would do nothing. And also, people should know I died doing something I loved -- so celebrate me and my awesome life, rather than mourn my death. (I also don't have a family to support, so I get why people choose to wear helmets; it is just something I don't choose for myself and people should respect my choice.) So, after we got off the phone, I guess I just started thinking about all the things I do appreciate in my life. I have an awesome group of friends and I truly enjoying hanging out with my family. Don't even get me started on how much I adore those babies (who are growing up WAY too fast). I have a body that I have spent a lifetime abusing but it still shows up and allows me to dance, do yoga, and throw babies in the air. I love my job. I have a roof over my head, clean water and a table full of food. I don't know. I guess I could start comparing my life to people who have more money and the ability to travel and do many things I am not doing right now, but then I think the depression and anxiety would kick in again. So I don't. I have a good life. I have goals...more things I want to do...but if I died today, I know I made my mark on some people. I don't want to spend the second half of my life worrying about the little things. I want to travel more and continue the adventures. I want to spend more time with my friends and family laughing and living a great life. I am not saying there aren't things worth worrying about. But I am saying is there is no need to sweat the small stuff. If I worried a car might hit me every time I leave the house, I could easily become homebound and never experience things like amazing sunsets or horseback riding on the beach. I'd never get into the paraglider with Dave. I'd never take a trip out of the country.
Life is long if you're miserable but can be too short if you're making the best out of every day. I guess maybe I have embraced "fake it til you make it" but only in the context of keeping my life filled with positive people who embrace me for who I am rather than telling me I'm doing everything wrong. I know I haven't been posting much on this blog lately. I have definitely had a lot going on. In addition to regularly scheduled life, I am training to be a hospice volunteer, and have spent the last 4-6 weeks being pretty sick (see my previous post about gluten). I am heading back into the studio tonight and tomorrow to both teach and take pole classes, though. I sometimes feel like I should be making more efforts to progress and become stronger at pole, but I'm kind of enjoying just growing and being comfortable with free dance and flow. As always, I am not the strongest poler or the best dancer, but I certainly do enjoy the fuck out of dancing my heart out.