“you know yourself”

It’s what I say every time the anxiety kicks in. 

“You know why you do this. Its all in your head.”

I often find myself, much like I did last week, overwhelmed, oober anxious and sick. I don’t even know its coming and it smacks me right in the middle of the face. And, I’m pretty convinced I do it to myself. 

Using my current situation as an example (because its the perfect one).  I have a deadline, that I’ve given myself.  Its the one the makes the most sense to me. If a project is launching and you are working on the website for it, then the website probably needs to launch before the project…or at least simultaneously. Hence the deadline placement.

I’m anxious about it.  I can’t find enough hours in the day (and yes I’ve resorted to getting up when

my husband leaves for work at 5:30am).  The anxiety clouds my mind.  It keeps me from thinking properly, lineral-ly, and strategically.  All important things when you’re designing, building content and launching a new website with many layers and pages.

But, anxiety is not a new thing for me.  I had stomach ulcers in high school that led to lots and lots of tests.  I had a “pass out on the side walk” anxiety attack my first finals week in college that led to and EKG and more tests over Christmas Break that year.  At certain times of the year or tied to certain projects, I find myself drinking “the pink stuff” and I’m not referring to Plexus.

Tests always come back normal and show no signs of any damage, deterioration or problem. Its anxiety and I do it to myself.

I know my triggers, well most of them, and I manage them most of the time.

But, its why my brain works overtime.  I’m trying to keep my boundaries, the mustard and mayonnaise if you will of the highways in my brain. I try to work ahead and keep on top of these deadlines.

And, then there comes moments like last night when I had an open road drive where I got to thinking…and usually that’s where I do my best thinking (other than the toilet and shower!).  Where I realized this deadline I was up against was/is self inflicted.  So as to not look foolish or make the organization I’m working on the project for look foolish, I set a deadline to have it completed by.  And because I’ve not met the deadline, I’m a FAILURE. Hence the stomach pains on Monday night.

I do it to myself, but I know its real.  I’m being raw.  And, in doing so, I’m helping myself cope. I’m hopefully opening a door for others to self discovery.  And, for those who do not experience this to understand the mental process that gets us “there.”

Mental illness is serious.  There are all kids of common term “diseases” or “experiences” that people deal with every day.  Its not fair to think that one is more healthy than another.  The best thing is that there are healthier days than others.  

This month, my #NWArkCares group is focusing on mental illness.  Its serious and real.  As I pondered the topic for several days, my feelings were similar to our month that we focused on Domestic Violence.  Mental Illness is a silent killer.  The mind is a dangerous place when it is unhealthy.  Its can be torturous, violent, exposing, entangling, captivating and prison like. 

For me, anxiety is the thing that can get the best of me. Its a snare and snarl of entanglement that can take me down when its not kept at bay. And, most often, its performance based.  Its why I couldn’t eat and lost 50 lbs the first year I moved to NWA.  Its why I couldn’t stand up and clean my kitchen last Monday night. Its why I have to pause, take a breath, walk away, cook dinner, go for a drive or just “shut ‘er down” from time to time. 

Its a beast. And, I have to pay attention to myself enough to watch it come on.  Invite accountability.  And just realize I can’t put the pressure of performance and deadlines where they do not really exist.

What about you? What are you learning about yourself these days? Do you struggle with anxiety? Do you know your triggers?  What do you do to cope?

This post is part of the #NWArkCares series by the
Northwest Arkansas Bloggers group. To view other posts, visit the Northwest
Arkansas Bloggers Pinterest Board or follow #NWArkCares through social media.