An Anxious Time

(Adapted from a scarily vulnerable insta post I made yesterday)
  1. We live in a culture that values exhaustion.
  2. It values running yourself ragged.
  3. It values not sleeping, not eating, not taking care of yourself in favor of always being "on".
  4. If you have time to sleep or eat you're weak or careless or simply not busy enough.
  5. And we all know, busy = valuable.
  6. As someone with anxiety, this is can be really really hard.
  7. This week has been really, really hard.
  8. And I don't know why.
  9. What I know is I was diagnosed with anxiety at 8 years old after showing serious symptoms for a year.
  10. I couldn't go to school or dance class unless I knew my mom was nearby. My mom came to school for lunch every day for almost a year. She sat outside my hours of ballet classes and inside my piano lessons.
  11. I went to a psychiatrist and was prescribed low doses of Zoloft plus CBT. It helped.
  12. I could do things by myself again. I didn't start crying in the middle of class for no apparent reason. My mom didn't have to sit with me and my friends at lunch. After awhile, I didn't need the meds.
  13. But I wasn't "cured".
  14. You're not "cured" of anxiety, it comes and goes.
  15. It's manifested as homesickness and eating disorders and headaches and tears and perfectionism and extreme stress.
  16. All manageable.
  17. And this week it came back more intensely than it had in a while with terrible headaches and tears and nausea and emptiness.
  18. I couldn't give it a reason, but it was manageable.
  19. Through baths and comfort food and calls to my mom and curling up in bed and breathing, I dealt with it.
  20. What was harder than the anxiety was the guilt.
  21. Guilt for dealing with my anxiety responsibly.
  22. Guilt for sleeping and eating and taking time for myself.
  23. Guilt for saying no to things I didn't HAVE to do.
  24. Guilt for turning off.
  25. Guilt for acknowledging my needs and putting them first.
  26. There are times when this culture of exhaustion suits me fine.
  27. There are times when I LOVE it, and I am generally happier and less anxious when I have the most things to do and am running from thing to thing.
  28. There are times when this culture feeds me and I feed it.
  29. But there are also times it depletes me and destroys me.
  30. There are times when I can't put in the makeup of exhaustion.
  31. And that's ok.
  32. It's ok to take care of yourself, whatever that means to you.
  33. It is ok to not be "on" all the time.
  34. It is ok to be alone while everyone is together.
  35. It is ok to sleep. And eat.
  36. It is ok to listen to your body, your heart, your gut.
  37. It is ok to do NOTHING.
  38. (If you need me I'm here!)