Repeat (Some Words About Anxiety)

I have tried again with so many things in my life--wakeboarding, meal prep on Sundays, certain books I started but never picked up again, not killing another succulent, kombucha--but the most important one has been my consistent attempt at a life with less anxiety.

I am afraid of so many things. Swimming in open water, the possibility that my jaw is moving out of place and a surgeon is going to have to break and reset it. But I used to be afraid of so many more. The apartment I lived in right after college. Flying. Darkness. That my high school boyfriend would cheat on me again. That my second college boyfriend would cheat on me for the first time. The basement of my parents' old office. Living alone.

Over the summer, I lived in Minnesota by myself while Rob worked in Charlotte all week. It was the first time in several years that I had slept anywhere without him or a roommate or even a parent in a room down the hall, and it was not nearly as easy as I hoped it would be. But, even halfway across the country from my friends and family, I found a way to make it work.

There was a time, two or three years ago, when I would call my parents from my apartment in the middle of the night and proceed to completely freak them out--sobbing and unable to move from my bed, unable to put into words what was wrong with me. One of them would offer to come pick me up, and I would only get more upset, embarrassed about being a woman in her 20s who couldn't seem to get her shit together enough to go to bed.

Sometimes I still get overwhelmed at a random moment one afternoon. Sometimes I wake up suddenly in the middle of the night, struggling to catch my breath and calm down enough to fall back asleep. Now I know to pop a Valium and give myself fifteen minutes. And when I wake up the next day after a panic attack or having given in to the urge to bolt in some crowded bar or concert venue, I know to be kind to myself--to not beat myself up over the way I felt when I was being irrational.

Every day that I decide to treat my anxiety with patience, love, and understanding is a day where it leaves me alone a bit more. We all struggle with something, don't we? But we're all in this together, and we're going to be okay.

This post is in response to the following prompt: "What did you start over again?" (From Old Friend from Far Away, page 246.) If you write a response of your own, please share a link below in the comments! For a list of some previous prompts, you can check out this post (or just search the Old Friend from Far Away category below).