Anxiety Elephants & All the Change

A few nights ago, as I closed my eyes, the anxiety elephant sat on my chest and refused to go away. Every time I managed to steer my mind into a positive direction, a safe direction, she would land back in the minefield. I wouldn’t notice until tears were streaming down my face. I would open my eyes, focus on something good. Hold the image and repeat the process.

For hours.

Nights like this don’t come around often. But when they do, I feel shaken. The feelings and anxiety linger all day. The distress and hopelessness. It’s like feeling the whole world drifting away from me. I can’t quite focus. In moments like this, it doesn’t feel like the worst case is far away and unlikely. In moments like this, the worst case is always what’s going to happen.

I can’t convince myself otherwise.

Logically, I know. I know all of the what if’s are not going to simultaneously manifest into reality.

Logically…I know this.

But logic doesn’t always have a foothold. Especially after waking up in this dystopian word a few weeks ago. Normal is gone.

What I would give to go back and do just a few more normal things. Play pinball and have one more date night with the man I’m in love with. See my dad and my niece and nephews. Even just doing my laundry. Just have one more day where I don’t fear touching every single thing. Where I don’t fear interacting with the world.

Normal is where I anchor myself. Where I find my footing. Where I am able to convince myself that the panicked feeling that sometimes overtakes my body, is wrong. It’s a lie. Normal makes it easier to cope and deal with change.

I’m not good with change on a normal day. In a normal life.

Right now, it feels extra hard.

I accepted a new job.

More big change. Like, super big change.

Today I said goodbye to all of my colleagues at the school. They made me cry in this virtual world, centering me so they could praise what an amazing teacher I am and how I impacted each of their lives. It was incredibly unexpected and I cried.

A lot.

When I moved to the city and took this job teaching, it came with some promises that never came to fruition. Unfortunately, this is just how life goes sometimes. I am not bitter. But I also recognize that I can’t continue to teach in the compacity I would like to without going back to school. Right now, more student debt is simply not an option.

I was headhunted for this new position. I didn’t really know what to expect but when all was said and done, I could not say no. It’s an incredible opportunity and I’m endlessly thankful for it. Especially in a time where so many people are losing their jobs.

Change is hard.

My dude is also moving. It’s not terribly far away but it’s still more change in time where I crave less. It makes me wonder how this will affect us or if it will at all. I suppose instead of driving north, I’ll drive south to see him. I hope it is as simple as that.

Being vulnerable during a time of great uncertainty is hard. It is something I’m working on. Vulnerability, honesty, having courage, and being able to trust the universe are four of the things I hold dearest. They are the four pillars in which my entire value system stands on. In this chaotic time, I find myself reaching down deep and grasping for those core beliefs. Those four things that make up the fundamental parts of who I am.

I need to belive that everything will be fine.

So what does one do to cope with the feelings of dread layered with negative thoughts about life?

Channel my creativity into new venues. I’ve been reading a lot and taking photos at home. I’ve even played with some stop-motion photography. 400 photos later, I made this video. Also, I baked and got to eat a yummy thing at the end.

Be kind to the people in your life. It’s a strange world we are living in. Toss in a bunch of change and it can do more than make someone feel a bit insecure. We all need a bit more love in our lives.

Stay safe, and wash your hands.

We can beat this together.


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