Reminder to Self and Reminder to You

Be brave. Do it scared. Refer to the sections “Scary, Scary, Scary” (page 12), “Defending Your Weakness” (page 16), “Fear Is Boring” (page 19), “The Fear You Need and the Fear You Don’t Need” (page 22), and “The Road Trip” (page 24) in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Welcome to My Anxious Mind

Today, I don’t feel well. I feel antsy. I feel scared. I feel stressed. I feel overwhelmed, and all of this makes me feel a quiet rage. I feel like something inside of me is simmering with anger. I have so much to do and so much I even want to do, but it all feels like too much, so I don’t want to do anything. I just want to rot in bed. I want to just lie there and do whatever and nothing all at the same time. School starts again soon, and I’m supposed to graduate this semester, but I keep convincing myself that something will happen to stop me—that stupid pharmacology test, check offs, just not being fit to be a nurse and not being able to handle twelve hour shifts and precepting. Then, I convince myself that if I don’t fail, I’ll just die in surgery anyway. Yeah, I need surgery. Why do I have to find things to be anxious about? Why can’t I just relax and have faith? I’m on medicine for my anxiety. Isn’t it supposed to go away? I know that’s not how it works. It just takes the edge off, which is much needed and greatly appreciated. Maybe I need to go back to therapy. Ugh. I just need to slow down. If I could allow myself to slow down, I think I would be fine because I feel like I’m constantly jumping from one thing to the next. Part of it is because I want to, and then the other part is because I put things off for so long that I end up not having a choice. My anxiety feels like a snow globe sometimes. I’m constantly running around or shaking it up, and when it gets still and settles, I panic. There’s discomfort that I still can’t stand to sit with when my room is still a mess or I’m still behind on studying or the laundry is piling up and I can’t find clothes anymore. It feels like there’s never enough time to do all the things I want to do and need to do. I think I said that already. And I’m such an extreme person. I don’t know how to balance things. I don’t know how to find a happy medium. I either do, do, do, do, do, or I do nothing. I’ve heard somebody describe anxiety as waking up with a knot in your stomach, and you have no idea why. That hit the nail on the head for me. It almost made me feel that knot again just to hear it being described that way—but in a good way, like finally, someone else gets it!! I’m sure lots of people get it. But what’s even worse than feeling that knot in your stomach is not only not knowing why but trying to figure out possible reasons why because then, you just remind yourself of things to worry about, so in trying to decode your anxiety in hopes of alleviating it, you give yourself more anxiety. We love a vicious cycle. And then, you can feel totally normal feelings like hunger, and it feels so close to that anxiety knot that you start again: “Oh, God, what am I worried about now?” And again, you give yourself anxiety, and it feels too good to be true to exist without that feeling that when you don’t, you go, “Am I anxious right now? What could be making me anxious?” And guess what? You give yourself anxiety. Eventually, you feel like there’s something wrong with you if you don’t feel anxious, and you go over that wonderful list of things that should be making you anxious and alas, anxiety. See what I mean about a vicious cycle? I’m just saying the same thing over and over, but it feels different each time. Different beginning, same end. Wish I had a lot of money so that all I didn’t have to worry about making ends meet, and I could just have babies and be done. Guess it’s time to go sit with my discomfort. Let’s see how long that lasts.


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