Now that I recognize anxiety for what it is, I knew that what I needed was a quiet day, a day to reclaim the simplicity of the shutdown. It’s not easy to do.
First, there’s the fact that the world waits, there in my phone, my laptop, even the TV, just waiting to tell me everything that’s going on.
And every Facebook post I read, every tweet, even some of the business interactions I have, stoke up the tension.
Remember those rubber band balls we used to make as kids? Anxiety is like that.
A little worry feels like wrapping a loose rubber band around my wrist. It’s there, I’m aware of it, but it’s not a hindrance. I’ve always been a worrier, and I can function. But some days I feel like those rubber bands wrap round and round, each new one adding a layer of rigidity, until I’m wrapped tight, so tight that if I fell to the ground, I’d probably bounce.
It apparently runs in the family. I remembered recently that my grandmother took medication for anxiety – in fact, my uncle was convinced she was hooked on it. But she relied on her Librium. She didn’t care if it had serious side effects; it helped. She must have really needed it.
I’m not a fan of drugs of any sort. I’m looking for effective alternatives.
“Meditate,” KB suggested.
“I’m too stressed to meditate,” I said.
“Unplug,” he tried.
“Good idea, but if I do, then I’m relying on other people to fight the battles I should be fighting, too.”
“How about a nap?”
“I can’t nap.”
“You’re a horrible patient,” he observed.
He is right.
I settled for a quiet day, doing business paperwork, making progress on a jigsaw puzzle, and talking to the dog. She is an excellent listener. I couldn’t tune out the news entirely, but I took in only the bare minimum, and then shut my laptop.
Today, I reluctantly return to the real world. But I’m going to try to control the dosage.
Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.