Today I woke up with a pain in my neck, because somehow my bed was less comfortable than the night before, and when I went to make coffee I lost my grip and threw coffee grounds all over the floor, and after cleaning up the mess I put the filter basket in the sink and stirred up a swarm of fruit flies that I have been trying for weeks to kill, but I did finally get my cup of coffee that I spent too much time enjoying, which left me no time to get dressed in peace before my kids woke up demanding breakfast, clean butts and my sanity.
I think I’ll move to the woods.
“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is filled with run on sentences and irrational solutions. It is very similar to the mind of someone with anxiety.
Most of you are probably like, ‘c’mon, it’s just a book about a kid who experienced a series of unfortunate events and lacks the maturity to properly deal with them.’ Sure it is. Maybe. But for the sake of my having no other way to describe what happens in my head, I am using it as a reference.
I’ve only recently chose to accept the fact that anxiety is what I have to deal with, because I haven’t really found a way to relate to anyone or figure out a means to approach it. I can’t get down with the videos on Facebook with melodramatic melodies titled “A Day in the Life of Anxiety.” I am not poking fun, but I stop at 20 seconds and am like ‘Nope.’ I’ve painted a pretty good picture of myself, being this person who is laid-back and witty. That’s not a great coping mechanism. It’s not productive for me or the people around me so I am giving openness a shot.
And I bought a bike.
A bike ride and good conversation is my recipe for chilling the freak out. So far, so good.
Can I pause for a moment and say that my boss just walked in my office, tossed Kit Kat’s on my desk and promptly left?
Anyway, I like to watch TEDx and came across a video by Neil Hughes, who labels himself as a comedian, author and physicist and compared the feeling of anxiety to walking in a pool of custard.
Finally, a video that left me with zero suspicion that a donation would be solicited at the end.
If you trudge and exert yourself enough, you can stay above the custard. If you stop, you’ll sink and drown, one of the more embarrassing ways to go. The only way we can rest is if we get to solid ground. By the way, I love custard.
I’ve normalized most of what I’ve been through, which led me to believe I didn’t have an issue and inhibited my ability to see the habits I had making my anxiety better or worse. Everything was the way it was and that’s that so forget about it. Up until now, I’ve found anyone who tried to talk to me about my habits patronizing and irritating. I know I am not alone in that one (I am looking at you, exceptionally loud eaters).
Here is the cycle: a thing I haven’t thought about in a while pops into my head while I am doing the dishes. I begin to stew. Someone interrupts my stewing. I lash out in a way that I don’t mean to. I feel bad for lashing out. I begin to tear up. I stop the tears and begin to aggressively slam the spoons and forks into the dishwasher because now I am mad that this thing made me lash out in a way I didn’t want to. But now I am making excuses because it was my choice to act that way. Why the hell won’t these spoons fit in the rack? I am going to die alone.
At this point I am exhausted and want to take a nap.
Whatever it is I have been doing, it hasn’t been working. And this is the start of me trying to reevaluate everything before I think up any more crazy ideas. Those are on hold for now. I need to be able to focus first, make a change here or there, and keep in that flow.
About that bike I mentioned. I wasn’t going to buy it, or come close to buying the one that I did. I thought, “Tar-Jay here I come!” But my spouse said ‘no’ for good reason. We argued for an hour. I left the house to purchase the bike I originally intended to, but found myself at the coffee shop. He was at McDonald’s. I met him there and continued to argue about said bike. He won. I spent $500 more than I wanted to and was in the bike shop passed operating hours. Bless them for being patient with me. I remember the lights were off, they locked the front door and said “You can always take the weekend to think about it and come back on Monday.”
I am finally at home with this bike I did not feel worthy enough to sit on, and my spouse says to me, “Go for a ride. Go as far as you can and when you can’t go anymore I’ll come pick you up.”
So I did.
I rode over 11 freaking miles until my ass was on fire from this seat built for half a human.
He came and got me; I scarfed a plate of food and did little the rest of the day. The second day I rode my bike, I fell asleep at 8 p.m. in my bed, which at the time was being used as a boat/camper hybrid designed for surfing and catching whales, co-captained by a two- and four –year-old.
I don’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed.
I’ve made other gradual changes and am continuing to make more. One was very difficult.
This will be my last column for Scene.
I’ve been writing for this magazine for three years. It was my very first shot at writing anything for anyone, let alone a regional publication, and I have Rich Larson to thank for giving me that opportunity. It didn’t help today at all when, while having lunch, the waitress said to me, “I love reading your columns. I feel like you’re right there and we are having a conversation.”
Nothing like pulling on my already fragile heart.
But for now, I must say’ goodbye, SoMinn!’ It’s been real. I am sure you’ll hear from me somewhere. I am not very good at hiding. #Soitgoes
By Autumn Van Ravenhorst