As the summer revs it’s engine in my seaside locale, I’m fraught with anxiety. It’s been a struggle, these past few weeks, with chronic anxiety issues. With work becoming steadily busier, a change in our household schedule, a change in dietary habits & other regular life stuff, I’ve been a little squirrely.
The other night, for instance, I went out to see some live music for the first time in years. I went after work, tentative plans to meet acquaintances. I ignored the stomach acid sloshing around as I headed down to the restaurant, talking myself into doing something social.
I took the first seat I could find, which was unfortunately in front of a mirror. After I ordered a coke, I caught my reflection across the bar: slightly disheveled, ruddy from elevated blood pressure. A full-on panic attack loomed.
Despite my best intentions of trying to power through it by ordering food & focusing on my friends who had now started to play, it was too late. My squid arrived, beautifully plated & crispy perfection. But vaguely threatening. I felt like I was on fire.
When the bartender passed my way, I stuttered for the check. There was already $20 clutched damply in my hand.
I lasted about 20 minutes, total. It was embarrassing. I was embarrassing. I failed. That’s how I felt that night, anyway. I know I didn’t really fail. I made an effort over just having an intention. And that’s ok.
Routine is a big part of what keeps me on an even keel, and our lives are all about creating new routines at the moment. It’s disorienting & scary & frustrating. I spend time consciously controlling my breathing, getting through the day 30 seconds at a time.
Everything will even out eventually, I know. Three weeks, a month from now, we’ll be heading into the Full Summer Swing, where days run into each other, and this rough spot will be an anecdote over breakfast.