I am yet again mired in one of my frozen phases, causing my ever-growing level of anxiety to go through the roof. By ‘frozen’ I mean that I cannot seem to focus or accomplish tasks that are normally ridiculously easy for any normal person to do. I feel frozen in place mentally; sometimes just writing an email or making a simple business call can feel absolutely overwhelming and impossible to do. It’s frustrating and self-sabotaging for someone who is used to keeping a very full dance card. I understand that stress is the culprit and still after all these years of trying to work through my issues, I continue to find myself in this awful loop of anxiety, frozen in sporadic inaction, with recurring panic attacks, chest pains, and the increasingly desperate need to be home in the quiet with Dan and the animals where I feel safe and at peace just to stave off the feeling that I can’t breathe. It seems that life itself stresses me out.
I realize that so many of us are in strange and difficult places mentally after almost two years of pandemic awfulness and political vitriol, all on top of the normal battery of challenges that life throws our way. The worry and anxiety wear down our batteries to the point that it feels impossible to recharge in any meaningful way. It seems that I’m hovering at 10% with the red light flashing and no matter what I do, the number keeps falling down toward the red zone.
There is a lot of worry weighing on my mind right now. Several of the people closest to me are facing life-altering things; my best friend Diane is heroically battling her third recurrence of cancer, second breast cancer diagnosis. She is going through awful chemo treatments that are beating her down day by day, but she’s bravely sharing her experiences with others so that she can help those facing a cancer diagnosis or those who have friends or loved ones dealing with the damn disease. Two other very close friends are dealing with trying to care for their aging mothers and medical issues. Two close friends in Tampa are dealing with serious health issues. My sweet Dan is exhibiting early signs of dementia, still himself, but the memory issues are terrifying to both of us. I feel embarrassed and ashamed complaining about anything when I look around me at the battles my loved ones are facing. And yet, my feelings and experiences are also valid, and sometimes speaking or writing our our demons takes away their power over us. And so I write.
The problem lately is that I feel so overwhelmed with everything that my brain freezes when I attempt to write, too. My therapist said to write even if it doesn’t make sense, even if I don’t publish it, and I know she’s spot on. Writing has sustained me through some of the most challenging times of my life. I’m determined to always share these frozen periods so that others know that they’re not alone, even when it is uncomfortable. I laughed as I thought, “What’s a happy gal like you doing in a dark place like this? That’s part of my issue- I feel silly for getting in these frozen places, because I do have a wonderful life- one filled with love, satisfaction, and purpose. But…even happy people who seem successful can deal with anxiety and depression. I know that I have an incredible support group in my husband and close circle of friends and I remind myself daily of my many blessings. However, the anxiety and depression are still there, old friends of too many years, like house guests that have long out-stayed their welcome. I’m not sure what to do, except to continue seeing my therapist, continue to talk with Dan and my close friends, and continue the behaviors that I know help; sleep, exercise, quiet time at home with Dan and the animals, and writing it all out. I’ll get there, but right now it’s just going to take a while before I can be all Mary Poppins again. Even Poppins is human…very human.