I found myself thinking about my personal and professional goals and dreams while I sat in the quiet stillness of the night. Somehow, I ended up pushing my already anxious mind over the edge into an anxiety attack. The creative mind I have been blessed with often doesn’t know how to slow itself down and I realize too late that my thoughts are in a speedy sprint with one another.
A week ago, I had an episode come on while sitting on the couch. My daughter was playing and I was giving her the remaining bites of a tasty dinner when I sensed my mind literally telling me to run. I quickly stood up and indeed ran to lay down in the quiet of my bedroom with my eyes closed. The anxiety attack subsided after about a half hour and thankfully I was okay the remainder of the evening.
Imagine if you will, you’re watching a baseball game. A base hit has just been drilled by your favorite team’s clean up hitter with a runner on second base and it’s the 7th inning. You intently watch and cheer, hoping the runner gets the green light to score a run. The excitement builds as the center fielder cleanly fields the ball, throwing it to their cut off man and the infielder decides to let the ball go through to the catcher to make a play at home plate. Acquiring this run would give your team a 2-run advantage with only two more innings to play. The runner is only steps away from home plate as the ball flies into the catcher’s mitt. Intensity rises as the two bodies collide, both determined but wanting to hear the umpire yell completely different results. Those seemingly delayed seconds as you listen for the umpire’s decision creates an intense anxiousness until you finally hear, “safe!” along with the familiar motion of the ump’s arms.
This is the best way I can describe what happens internally when I experience a panic or anxiety attack. From even before the crack of the ball on the bat, the possibility of a base hit sets the nervousness inside you in motion. You can feel it coming on, I can feel the intensity of it rise and then most likely spins out of control.
Not only am I relieved to hear the words “safe” as my anxiety attack fades, I’m also grateful to feel “safe at home” as a freelance writer who is temporarily living with family who have provided me with a safe haven. It truly is a blessing due to my anxiety which often seems to be brought on when I’m in public. However, only in the last couple of years have I experienced this type of anxiety disorder. Truthfully though my work is liberating, I enjoy writing and creating. Currently, I have a laundry list (and a couple loads of laundry to do!) of web design and content I need to implement and fuse together. Am I stressing over it? Eh, not really although I do wish I had more uninterrupted time to accomplish these short term goals but I am a Mama first and foremost. Perhaps it’s the personal battles and issues (both those I have control over and those I don’t) I am dealing with that are bubbling to the surface lately.
I am by no means claiming to be an expert in knowing how to combat anxiety but I have learned by focusing on my breathing, this does wonders in helping any anxiety-related episodes subside. Counting sheep, thinking of anything or anyone that makes me happy or praying revs my mental muscles up too much so those don’t work for me. When I concentrate on my breathing though I’m focusing on only a breathing exercise, I’m physically and mentally giving myself something to do.
Regardless of how you tame your anxieties, I hope you have a team that supports you through your tough seasons and cheers you on during your victories. Anxiety disorders, mental illness, emotional problems, etc can be embarrassing and very difficult to face on your own (trust me, I know). Seek out family and friends that can pick you up and dust you off after an untimely strike out or during a batting slump or after a fundamental fielding error.
Find those people you can be yourself around, chances are they feel the freedom to be themselves around you as well, and be a loving support to one another! Life is tough. Share the good and bad seasons with those you trust and with those who make you feel ‘safe at home.’