I’ve been struggling over the past couple of days with anxiety. It’s so silly, thoughts will grab ahold of my brain and just hold me hostage. Something will happen- a conversation or interaction of some kind and I can’t get it out of my head. I once saw a meme that said something like:
“Remember that stupid thing you did? Yeah? How about we remember it over and over to make sure you feel terrible and never forget!”
That is me. Like, I have, what I think, is a reasonable conversation with someone and then, later, I start ruminating over it until I find a little kernel of something I said which, in the right (or wrong) context could mean something offensive and terrible. I then consider a million different possibilities in the other person’s perspective which all end with me worrying that this person will end up hating me (or, really, thinking I’m a bad character)because of whatever I said. The next step is always for me to send an uncomfortable text, email or approach someone awkwardly to offer up and explanation or apology. Despite the fact that, without exception, no one has ever taken the crazy version of our conversation, my apologies usually end with me blushing apologetically for looking like a weirdo while also feeling an immense sense of relief at having cleared the air in my headspace.
It doesn’t help that I like to laugh a lot and am not too fearful of many topics of conversation.
I’ve been working a lot on being intentionally mindful about how I’m processing information these days. There is a lot of awkwardness among my working community right now as we are collectively working on becoming a stronger staff. We are being vulnerable and open with one another, and that is so hard for me, especially with my tendency to overthink and over process everything. Being mindful means that I am trying to compartmentalized my thinking and give actual credence only to thoughts that are relevant to the greater picture. To living where I am and not over processing what has happened. I shouldn’t focus more on a small issue that happened at work over something my kids or husband are doing right now. I don’t live at my job- I work to support my family, my life is not all about my job. My job shouldn’t be allowed to infect my nights and time away from work with worries about my students, my parent community or my colleagues. I’m working to look at things with a perspective of common sense and what is normal. I’m working to keep things in perspective. I’m working on mindfulness.
To that end, I’ve been having a hard time of that lately. I had another sleepless night on Monday night that resulted in a half day absence on Tuesday. I can’t do insomnia. I’m way too busy for that, so I came home and thought about how I could solve this problem and came up with a couple of things.
First: I think that exercise is directly related to my anxiety and depression. When I go a day without getting my heart rate up, I find that I have trouble sleeping at night and I often get sad/depressed/sensitive or I get anxious. Or a combination of the two. If I skip two days, the issues compound and, while I may be more tired the next night, I still repeat the pattern. No matter how sore I am, I have to get some exercise in daily. It is tremendously preventative when considering my mental well being.
Second: I found some meditations* on mindfulness, on sleeping and on weightloss. I know, it might seem a little new age-y and crystals around my neck and you might want to ask when I check into the ashram, but I find that having someone guide me through a meditation gets me relaxed and focused elsewhere. While I have my own strategies in place for when my mind runs away with itself, I found these tremendously calming and very helpful at redirecting my thinking when I felt incapable.
Today was a better day. It was good to step back into my routine, even though I yawned a lot today and felt extra grateful for caffeine. Tonight I dragged my buns home, ate dinner, played with my kids then rode the elliptical for 32 minutes. Yep, 32. That’s significant because I meant to only do 30 and accidentally went over. Ha ha! Anyhow, I feel accomplished that I have planned so well. Tonight should be a good night’s sleep and, hopefully, I can put this cycle of insanity behind me.
*I found this as the easiest link online, but I got the freebie through the iTunes as an app. Now I’m trying to decide if I want to buy more. They are expensive but I like them!
I feel frustrated because wordpress published this draft and deleted my final publish copy. If this version seems like a lame article, let me assure you it was way better before that annoying-ness happened. Grrrrr.