|Oh, to be Mr. Pants.|
The other day I told you about my anxiety attack in the middle of the night last week that came about because of a story we did this month on Strangerville. What I didn't tell you is that these are a semi-regular occurrence for me and have been for some time.
I have no idea when I started getting them. Bob and Cathie tell me I was a very nervous child. I didn't notice because I was too busy hoarding candy with my best friend Mandy Williams when we were six years old because Bob told me one night when I wouldn't eat my dinner that there were people in the world who didn't have food and "would be happy to have that" and so I became obsessed with preparing for famine and this seemed like the best way.
I also spent an embarrassing amount of time at that age walking through the house on a near daily basis making sure each light switch worked. I hovered over Bob and Cathie's shoulders in the car and repeatedly asked if we had enough gas because Cathie told me once that we were almost out of gas, introducing the idea of energy crisis to my five-year-old brain. This was back in the eighties when seat belts were optional.
I used to wait by the window at night, relieved when I saw headlights because it meant that the family member I assumed was dead, instead of just late, was home, only to feel the horror return upon realizing that the car belonged to a neighbor.
A lot of the same worries have continued into my adulthood, although I hide the crazy a little better now. I still keep absurd amounts of food storage like my Mormon pioneer parents taught me to do. I still find myself obsessing about a burned-out light bulb until I get it changed. I still glance at the dash to check my gas levels literally once a minute whenever I'm in the car, whether or not I'm the one driving. And just last week I felt my heart sink because Matt was dead after he didn't respond to my text I had sent an hour or two before. (Who am I kidding. It had been 64 minutes. I know exactly how long it had been.)
Look. I don't want to be this way. I see Skylar, for example, blissfully unaware of the trail of items he is losing in his wake. Totally unconcerned that a loved one hasn't answered the phone. And without feeling any need to actually think through plans, implicitly certain that everything will work out just fine.
He's wrong about that last one, by the way. Yes, things somehow always seem to work out for him. But the universe is going to stop enabling him some day. And the fallout will be devastating.
On a semi-regular basis Brianne is required to talk me off of the anxiety ledge. She has had to do this a little more often lately. I'll approach her with some worry I have about some case. I'll tell her I'm feeling anxious about helping my client get what they need. Or being good enough to do some task. Or basically any other worry that any one person can have in a work setting.
She always says the same infuriating thing: "How is freaking out helping the situation right now?"
She follows this up with a lecture on "letting go." She says something about how sometimes caring in the right way means caring a little less. She tells me that if I'm not taking care of myself, how can I expect to take care of anything else.
It's infuriating. But weirdly a little helpful.
So now I need you all to tell me your best advice for overcoming unproductive anxiety and panic attacks. Because I know you're probably all a little crazy, too. Considering that you keep coming back here no matter how many times I post pictures of Leotrix and Tami. The more tips the better.
~It Just Gets Stranger