A few months ago I upgraded my iPhone. While listing an old phone on Craigslist today, I found that there was an imperfection in the screen. I asked a friend what this specific issue is called and he said it looked like “undue pressure,” and that I should get the screen replaced.
Unwarranted, extreme, excessive pressure.
Suffocating, debilitating pressure.
This is my headspace today.
The past week, month(s) have been turbulent. Overwhelming. I have a billion thoughts, ideas, challenges, and projects racing through my mind, but it’s difficult to sit down and map it all out – to control the chaos. Sitting down to organize my thoughts usually helps to calm the internal hurricane, but this week I don’t know where to start.
My life feels like a mess.
I’m bouncing all over the place, but can’t seem to find solid ground.
How did I get here? How do I get back on track?
This is how my anxiety manifests itself.
I’ve been so underwater with this undue pressure, that I can’t find space to breathe. And this crushing weight? It’s all on me, and it’s all from me.
My anxiety often stems from worries, but more often than not, it’s the expectations I place upon myself. I give the people in my life so much wiggle room for mistakes, and manage to forgive, accept, and love them through their challenging moments, but for me it’s unacceptable.
I sometimes spend hours, even days, agonizing over things I could have done better. The things I shouldn’t (or should) have said. Chastising myself for allowing my emotions to hijack rational thinking. Criticizing myself for not having the strength to avoid being irritable and confrontational. And on the off chance my actions actually were justifiable, I torment myself for not handling them in a more healthy and productive manner.
I obsess over employing tools that can help me to change my negative behavior patterns, rectify past grievances, and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. I become completely engrossed and enmeshed in finding ways to be better. To be more. To be a better person. A better teacher, dancer, yogini, daughter, sister, friend, lover. To be better at taking care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Practice more, meditate more, research more, be more organized and prepared. I set more goals and expectations for myself.
More. More. More.
The weight of all the intention is incapacitating.
Usually, I go through the motions until the anxiety and panic evaporates. Sleep, walk puppy, coffee, shower, eat, yoga, dog park, dance, yoga, walk puppy, eat, sleep. I surround myself with people I love. Eventually, I feel like myself again.
But today? It’s one of those rare days that nothing seems to work. Maybe it’s exhaustion from two weeks with no breaks, added classes, a few days on some gnarly antibiotics, and hormones… but today is paralyzing.
For a long time this afternoon I sat on my living room floor and cried. I cried twice while walking Mr. Darcy through neighborhoods and the streets of downtown. When I got home, I pulled out my first set of mala beads and chanted “I am enough,” one hundred and eight times. Today instead of fighting to keep the anxiety at bay, I’m surrendering. I’ve cleared my dance card, and I’m going to sit with it. Stare it straight in the eye.
We get lost sometimes. Derailed. But simply acknowledging the anxiety gives it a tiny bit less power. Little by little the fog eventually begins to lift, giving way to reality in a more clear and present way.