In a Nutshell
Even in the throes of a panic attack, I can appreciate that Wikipedia has chosen this exact image for this exact page.
I can get up out of bed, even though I’d rather shut my eyes and pray for this feeling to STOP. To GO AWAY. I can get up, instead, and go for a run.
I can stop drinking alcohol (due to hangover-induced anxiety, something I only started experiencing in my late 20s and WTF), stop drinking caffeine (a joke, at best, as I’m so sensitive that I only ever drink the tiniest amount. Still, even the tiniest amount can eff with my already-tremulous mental state), and start adding structure to otherwise nebulous days. I can run in the mornings, and eat Omega-3s at almost every meal.
I can console and comfort myself with the amazingly-well-written and thoughtful Anxiety blogs on the New York Times website.
I can read up on Buddhism, reminding myself for the one hundred millionth time to Just. Breathe. Breathe into the moment. Stop bumming yourself out over the past, or stressing yourself out over the future. You are married to an unbelievably gorgeous man who enjoys talking to you (all the time, about everything) as much as you enjoy talking to him. You live in Japan, where opportunities you could never have imagined practically throw themselves at your feet. Where new friends, sweet neighbors and earnest students show you a sort of quiet kindness, unassuming generosity and simple, silly camaraderie you never knew you needed.
Then, considering all of the above, I can consider, for the first time in my life, that my Anxiety may not be entirely situational. That it just might have some small relation to brain chemistry and genetic predisposition. And I can seek treatment, and help.
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I may be in a nutshell, but I refuse to be a nut.
[…] I wanted to balance out ALL ANXIETY, ALL THE TIME with some sweet and silly tidbits from everyday life. Like my baristo excitedly […]
Cousin. I wish I could say that I don’t relate to this at all but I really, really do. I think that it’s part of being so isolated. I ask myself regularly: What is making me wake up every morning with this sort of terrified panic? I’ve always been independent, a traveler, and after three years I’ve boiled it down to this: I am not as free-spirited as I thought. I can do anything, go anywhere, as long as I have a sort of structure in the way of a long-term goal I’m reaching. I cannot simply exist or I freak the fuck out. I’ve been freaking out for a while now. Only recently when I started researching a masters degree again did I start waking up with half of the panic as usual. I have no idea if this is the case for you because you just barely moved to Japan and that might be the thing. We should Skype more. And email each other more. We should write a movie together (I’ve always wanted to do that).
I am going to come and visit you. I don’t know when but I definitely will make it happen before I return to the US.
Also, the anxiety thing after drinking started happening to me last year too. Though, I’ve found that it is more related to my low blood-sugar than anything. If I eat A LOT of protein before I drink and again before I pass out I’m a lot better in the morning. If not, I wake up wanting to die.
Getting old sucks.
I am so glad that you can relate to the cultural/geographic isolation aspect. It’s no joke! At least in Italy you speak the language enough to interact with other humans. I’m working on my Japanese, mainly just to feel connected to the larger world.
I’m not sure that it’s about being a free spirit or not. I think it just comes down to having a direction. Which is why pursuing higher education reduces your panic. For me, it’s just that as soon as I pick a direction, I second-guess myself. So maybe, for me, it’s not so much not having direction as not trusting the directions I give myself.
Please do come visit. We will write the movie then. That is no joke. I am serious.
Getting old does suck, sometimes, but you couldn’t pay me to be 22 again. Just saying.
Sorry to have stuck you with lousy genetics. I can only speak for myself but, meds are my friend. Love you and wish I was there to hug the shit out of you.
Genetics! Suck!! Meds are my method, as well.
And those make a big difference? I am pretty resistant to taking meds, but not completely opposed. I just know that in the past they have not made me feel better or made any real difference, whereas cognitive therapy has literally changed the way I think. At this point, my main attack is to find all the books and articles I can and read up on it.