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What Helps Keep Me From Falling Apart as Someone With Anxiety

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“Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans”
~ John Lennon

Over the past couple of weeks, life jumped up and smacked me in the face hard, not the least of which has been my raggedy old man getting very sick, which at 16 is not a good look for a cat. I had been working away, getting back to blogging, and advocating, and writing, and celebrating my two little fellows’ birthdays and then I couldn’t anymore.

What do I mean when I say I couldn’t anymore? I mean I couldn’t change my bedding, I couldn’t fix my hair, I couldn’t stand upright, I couldn’t make decisions, I couldn’t cook dinner, I couldn’t even run the robotic vacuum that requires nothing more than a push of the button. I just couldn’t.

This isn’t unusual for me. It usually comes after a period of prolonged good—I am doing well, working away and improving the things that I need to improve, and being the daughter, mother, wife, sister, friend that I want to be, when something will start to lag. I will notice something slowing, like a record player playing at the wrong speed, my brain begins to draaaaaaag out, and then I crack.

Usually when this happens, I provide myself space and peace and hide in bed for a weekend, I spend more money than I should, I order pizza and forget that there are any rules in our home.

This time, though, I can’t do that. I decided that I cannot allow myself to continue bad habits into my 40s. I cannot let my raggedy old man suffer because I am too worn out to even realize that he needs to see a vet. I cannot feed my kids just pizza and hope for the best.

So, I asked for help.

Photo of older cat

The advice I give to anyone when they are struggling, to talk to a professional, to ask for help, to learn necessary tools to improve their mental health. I took that advice. I reached out to a trusted therapist and told her I was scared and floundering. I told her I needed help, and she listened.

Little by little, I am learning new coping skills. I am rooting out the things that trigger the habits I want to lose, and I am being gentle with myself and my loved ones. I am taking a mental break, and making space for a new wellness. And my raggedy old man.

Getty image by nadia_bormotova

Originally published: March 18, 2021
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