Day three of an anxiety attack. I guess this gym thing is working out pretty well, ’cause that’s a freakin’ marathon of an anxiety attack. If all I do is burn 1 calorie for every racing thought, I’ll get back to my high school weight by the end of the week! I’m not actually sure that was my goal, but goals feel good during anxiety attacks, so let’s see where this takes us.
Anxiety is a pretty normal thing. It’s normal to feel anxious in periods of stress. Basically, when something feels like it’s gonna be scary (a presentation, a deadline, a bear, a tweet from the president) your sympathetic nervous system says “ALL SYSTEMS GO!” and it flips everything on so that you’re ready to run, fight, or freeze at top speed. Then it’s the job of the parasympathetic nervous system to belay that order or convince you that bears are now normal and we can just learn to live with them. This is why most people don’t stutter their entire way through a presentation and why we can scroll through Twitter without having actual heart attacks.
It’s just that some of us have jerkwads for parasympathetic nervous systems. Most days it’s fine, but then some days it has too much caffeine or maybe decides it needs a vacation because there are just too many tweets and it’s suddenly AWOL. Here’s a reenactment, as I believe it occurs, because I think my system is just an asshole.
Sympathetic Nervous System: HOLY FUCK, WHAT IS THAT! RED ALERT!
Parasympathetic Nervous System: *checking Facebook at their desk*
SNS: OH MY GOD, IT’S A DUSTBUNNY THAT IS MOVING IN THE BREEZE.
PNS: Ah, what’d you say?
SNS: A DUSTBUNNY. IT’S PROBABLY ACTUALLY A SPIDER.
PNS: Oh, man, it really does look like a spider. I think at this point, all we can do is call our loved ones and say goodbye.
SNS: OMG, REALLY?? LIKE, THIS IS IT? IT’S A SPIDER?
PNS: Pretty sure it’s a spider. I’d recommend sweating and maybe crying about it.
PNS: Good work! Keep it up!
Now, I don’t know if it’s leveled up recently, or if my allergy medication is making my anxiety the strongest Avenger, but this is getting ridiculous. For me, it’s mostly just endless thoughts, insomnia, and racing heart. I know the panic is not real, so I can generally power through its attacks. It costs something, though. I lose the ability to adapt. It’s like trying to make a car turn when you’re going 60 mph and the power steering gives out. It’s doable for a minute, but not something you can do well.*
I do, however, have endless amounts of energy. So, since the whole world is spiders and I’m sure I’m the worst I can be at everything I like doing, I’m just gonna go weed a few more garden beds and try building a cabinet. Probably bang out a few more pages on Blood and Bone that I’ll think are just awful until I read them once my PNS stops being a POS, at which time I anticipate they’ll be fine, like everything else will be. For now though, I take comfort in the fact that if I’m already the worst, I certainly can’t go any lower, and I think this rock bottom would look nice with some shelves.
*This totally happened to me once. A belt broke on my first car while on a highway with no shoulder and I lost power steering. Luckily, ya girl’s pretty strong and has so much practice at panic that this one was a cakewalk. Unlike that one time at an actual cakewalk. But that’s another story.