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The Anxiety Before the Storm

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My anxiety voice is strong in my head tonight. It’s storming here in Alabama, and it’s supposed to get bad. The lights at work flickered a few times, and the traffic light near my work went out for awhile. My lights in my apartment have flickered a few times, and the street lights outside my apartment went out about an hour ago.

Inside my brain, the storm is raging just as much as it is outside.

“If you go to sleep, the power will go out. Then, your phone will die, and you won’t wake up for work!”

My anxiety screams at me.

“It’s better to just not sleep!”

It yells in a panic.

I try to ignore it and go about my nightly routine. My heart is racing like there is no tomorrow, and I can’t stop moving my hands or my feet. Sometimes both. As I type this and my fingers fly across the keyboard, my foot is also tapping rhythmically, even though there is no music playing. I put my pajamas on and curl up in my bed but that seems to make it worse now that I’m not pacing around my apartment.

I’m trying to be still, but my body needs to move. I don’t want to be alone if the power goes out so I call my closest friend in the area and pray she’ll be able to come sit with me. She always calms me down.

As the phone rings, my anxiety shouts again, “Why are you calling her? You’re such a burden! She’s got a life. She doesn’t have time for you! No one wants to come sit with you so you calm down! You’re crazy!”

The call goes to voicemail, and I hang up not even bothering to leave a message. I text her instead. I still feel like a burden. She’s at work and will be for a few more hours. I tell her it’s fine and pretend I’m not as desperate for company as I actually am.

I stop pacing and try lying down in bed again. I turn on a movie. It doesn’t help. I can’t focus anyway. I make a few posts for Instagram and get excited when they quickly get liked. I post to Facebook. I try the movie again. Still no focus.

So now, here I am. Writing. It’s helping a little. Writing always seems to calm me down. I get my thoughts out and feel slightly more normal. Already my heart is slowing and my fingers are flying a bit slower. My foot on the other hand just keeps tapping.

I pause from writing and put some Stress Away essential oil in my diffuser. I take a big, deep breath, and my whole body stands still for just a second. I breathe deeply again, and suddenly, I think I can process my own thoughts.

I sit back down in bed, and my foot stops tapping as I continue writing. I wish I could think of my oils first and not as a last resort when I’m feeling anxious. I’ve been in this whirlwind for two and a half hours, and I just now turned on my diffuser, which is always my saving grace. I need to remember to tell my friends to remind me to turn it on when I’m freaking out. Maybe eventually I’ll be able to remind myself.

Perhaps, now I can watch this movie. I put on “Twister.” It’s the movie my family and I watched every time it stormed back home. It reminds me of them, and I hoped it would calm me down. It didn’t make me worse, but it didn’t help either.

Writing seems to have helped a bit, along with my oils. I’m glad I’ve learned so many coping mechanisms since I began therapy. At least, I can think of things that might help. One step at a time. I will get through this, and you will too.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: November 30, 2016
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