Whatever You Do, Don’t Freak Out

now_panic_and_freak_out__by_jweinstock-d3hvgozI’m a naturally anxious person. Though I don’t talk about it often, as someone with diagnosed anxiety it doesn’t take much to get me to freak out at even the slightest thing. Big changes, stressful situations, vague and unanswered questions always pose threats to my anxiety levels but, for the most part, I am lucky to have tools and resources that make life’s inevitable anxieties feel like passing moments. With help, I can take something anxiety worthy and stay above water – maybe even two or three things, but lately I find myself always on the edge, seemingly just a few breaths away from flipping the fuck out.

I’ve noticed myself becoming irritated easier, feeing my heart rate skyrocket over slow curve balls thrown my way. I find myself pouring over thoughts trying to process emotions with seemingly no success. People with anxiety when over thinking tend to become human transitive property aficionados – meaning they work solely off of information they know the answer to and then use that to extract the closest logical answer to something they do not yet know the answer to.

But as much as I’d like to believe that it’s just me, just my anxiety allowing situations to get the better of me causing an overreaction; I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one who’s spinning out of control with all the unknowns. As I wrote about before – we’re living in a post-Obama world with a President that is as unpredictably dangerous as anyone I’ve ever lived under in my lifetime. The pending sense of doom, the heightened awareness of what’s going on around us, the fear of what could happen is causing everyone to have anxiety. It’s not just me, it’s a society coming to terms with the most exhausting possibility – that we may not know what’s in front of us for a long time to come. Our President plays on everyones worst fear and while most of us are gearing up for a necessary political fight, we can’t ignore that big changes, stressful situations and vague unanswered questions are the new norm.

Our lives are playing in the backdrop to something much bigger now and we’d be silly to think that everything around us is happening completely detached from our currentpersonal landscape. The illusion that any of us are in control of what’s happening next is gone, and those who fluent in the “everything is going to be okay world” may find themselves with a shorter fuse for out of control circumstances.

Which is why I spent most of my morning  on Friday in my bosses office surely but steadily losing my shit and listing off a litany of concerns to something that hasn’t even happened yet. I could feel myself being the worst version of my personality – worried, fearful, dreading the idea of possible failure or worse, that literally something worse than failure could happen. Of course, I am beyond blessed to have someone in charge who realizes I’m becoming unhinged and politely figures out a way to calm most of my overthinking while making me feel as if most my concerns are valid. Ditto my family, and my support system. They validate that things may not be okay whilst offering me some encouragement and lifting the unneeded pressure I put on myself.

“We don’t know what we don’t know”, was what my boss told me. My least favorite phrase in the entire known universe but one that I am constantly reminded of now more than ever. You can chose to do a lot of things with that knowledge. You can prepare for the worst and hope for the best. You can go were things lead you and figure out how to solve it once you get there. You can dance in the uncertainty, scream in the insanity, and enjoy the fall while it’s happening. You can feel a bunch of emotions and still….persist…

But whatever you do you can’t freak out. Not now – too much relies on us making it work now.