A while ago I noticed that my anxiety levels felt through the roof for no particular reason. My neck and shoulders were in a constant state of stiff or sore. I felt foggy brained and tight in the chest. Several times a day, I had to consciously tell myself to soften my jaw or remove my shoulders from my ears. I would sit down innocently enough to check something on Twitter or Facebook and lose an hour without realizing how or why. My motivation began to deplete. I wasn’t getting anything of value done and still managed to feel like I’d run a marathon at the end of the day.
Having anxiety can feel a little like being trapped inside a very loud high school cafeteria where the chatter ranges from shrill gossip, to bullying, to random diatribes over seemingly useless topics. The noise varies in its harmfulness. There’s a mean girl in there judging everything: your looks, your attire, your personality and life choices. She reminds you of all the dumb shit you did, as any true frenemy would, and leaves you feeling suddenly mortified about a past event you thought you’d locked away forever. The bullies are there interrupting any peace you might have with random insults hurled from every direction. “Stupid bitch!” Whoa, buddy. Where did that come from? What did you do to illicit this? Nothing really. It’s just what bullies do. In the milder moments, you’re swept up in trains of thought that seem interesting and insightful, but ultimately are stealing time away. It’s incredibly exhausting to live inside a space that rarely gets quiet.
So what to do?