Written by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved. Copyright 2019.
My name is SnapDragon, and I have anxiety.
It sucks. But it’s true.
The first time I realized the out-of-body, paranoid nervousness I felt was anxiety, was roughly seven years ago. It happened while I was teaching my high school English classes.
It was awful.
For no particular reason—in fact, it had been a successful and happy day—I felt trapped. I felt like everyone was watching me, judging me. Every time my classroom phone rang, I just knew it was the principal delivering the message that I was fired.
For. no. reason.
It was, in a word, insane. I had precisely zero reasons to feel this way.
But after much reflection (and professional help) I realized that I had been living in fight-or-flight mode, everyday, for years. Inner city teaching + inner city living + commuting an hour each way twice a week for graduate classes = complete havoc on the nervous system.
I hadn’t realized that I was more or less holding my breath through every moment of my day, waiting for relief. Waiting for a bowl of pasta, a shower, and sleep.
But, dear friends, I got through it.
And so will you.
While I no longer live and teach in the city, I still have bouts of anxiety. They often hit when things are seemingly at their best, and then I remind myself that the other shoe could drop at anytime. Surely, things could not be this easy.
You spoke too much at the meeting.
You sounded self-righteous.
You’re a disappointment.
You’ll never get everything done.
No matter where we go, anxiety lurks like a thief in the night.
But we cannot let it win.
So I focus on my breathing. I sit outside in the morning sun. I stroll the isles of the grocery store, enjoying the scents of artisanal breads.
I remind myself, as cliché as it sounds, that this too shall pass.
The bluebird of happiness will return, love.
. . .
What strategies help you when anxiety hits, Dear Reader?