Waiting can be hard. Waiting can be especially hard when you experience anxiety.
I live with bipolar disorder and anxiety, and I have difficulties dealing with periods of waiting in my life. Right now, my wife and I are expecting a baby, to be born in March. We are waiting. There is anxiety as we wait. For me, I feel anxiety because I do not know when labor will begin. Our last pregnancy resulted in our son Mateo’s stillbirth. This pregnancy has been wrought with anxiety. First, we were waiting to see if we made it past the first trimester. Then, we waited to hear the results of our first look exam and see if our baby had any chromosomal disorders. We waited to the end of the second trimester to when our son, Pablo became viable. Now, we wait in the last part of the pregnancy for him to be born. Anxiety for me is like a franticness that runs throughout my mind, as I think of every possible scenario, including the worst-case scenario and all the possible solutions to any given problem. The worst part about the anxiety I experience is the unknown, which can happen continually when you are waiting for something. Time seems to move painfully slow, but my mind races painfully fast. I feel restless, irritable, and have problems concentrating.
So how have I managed my anxiety in waiting? During this season in life, our pregnancy, I have managed the anxiety in waiting through several different approaches.
The first thing I did was try to have things to do each day. Being disabled and not working has its challenges when it comes to staying busy; however, I found many free, healthy activities to do during this pregnancy. I went to the public library often and started a bookclub in our neighborhood. Reading helped me focus and escape my reality of anxiety through stories, characters and faraway places. It was fun. I also continued to exercise by taking walks at the neighborhood park. I learned to crochet and started making a scarf, which I finished on Christmas Eve and gave as a gift. I played boardgames we own. I blogged about my anxiety, about my waiting, and reached out to others when it seemed overwhelming.
Prayer is another way in which I battled my anxiety during this period of waiting. I found through prayer I was able to let go of a lot of my anxieties and give it to God. If you’re not religious, I recommend meditation or yoga. Through prayer, I focused on things within my control and tried to let go of all the rest that wasn’t.
Waiting while living with anxiety can be hard, but it is manageable.
The best advice I can give when your anxiety is through the roof and you’re waiting for something is to breathe, let go of things outside of your control, and live in the present moment. Be mindful, pray, and enjoy things and people around you. Practice simple acts of self-care. Also be sure to take care of your basic needs, like eating regularly, practicing good sleep habits and exercising. Life will go where it will, and it will happen when it’s supposed to happen. I have to remind myself of this as I wait to meet my son.
Image via Thinkstock.
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