Journaling Your Anxiety
My hands are cold and wet, I am constantly overwhelmed with dread. Having to do anything out of my comfort zone created this uncomfortable feeling within myself since I was a child. Everything was outside my comfort zone.
I didn’t know what anxiety meant. I wasn’t taught how to deal with my feelings or what they even were, which then made me push them away. I was always a nervous kid, I could feel it, I knew it.
Finally, as an adult, I figured it out, I knew how to handle my nervousness. I wasn’t wound up about every single thing. I, somehow, had conquered my fear, dread, and nervousness. Or, so I thought.
I have never had an anxiety attack in all of my almost 40 years and now all of a sudden, I am a ball of electrified nerves. That uncomfortable feeling, I assumed I had figured out how to tame, had never been tamed. I believed it cured itself on its own, I supposed my body and mind had worked out something to fix it, then just didn’t tell me. I guess in a way they had.
They had stuffed it down and down and down until it couldn’t paralyze me.
When baby came all the worries I had as a kid, and an adult, exploded, I couldn’t sleep at night. If I did get to sleep, I would wake up in the middle of the night, then start thinking about one topic after another.
I couldn’t talk in front of people because I would start gasping for breath as if I had forgotten to breathe. The concept of talking, the little bit that I do, had left my knowledge, I couldn't remember how to do it.
I forgot how to breathe and speak or breathe in between speaking, or breath while I was speaking. I started talking fast to get it out, I’d lose my breath, then could only say one word at a time. It was embarrassing. I still don’t know how to do it without hyperventilating a little.
This anxiety overwhelms, everything is a problem.
My daughter is my world, in a world that I can’t protect her from. From the over-processed water that we drink, that I can’t do anything about. Why can’t I do something about it?
To the fact that she may be an only child. Why did we wait so long to have kids, because once we die, she will have no one. We are old, we could have had kids ten years ago, that would have been ten more years we could have had with her.
Where has my life gone, I am forty, I haven’t done anything with my life. I have wasted all this time telling myself ‘don’t worry about it, you have plenty of time.’ But I could die tomorrow, I have wasted my life doing nothing important. All my fears were weighing heavily on me.
I have never wanted to write down all my feelings. First of all, because it feels like it brings things up when I just want them to go away.
Also, because I don’t want my husband to read them. I hate when he asks me, ‘What are you thinking?’ If I wanted to tell you what I was thinking I would.I don’t hide things, I speak my mind when I feel like it, but don’t pry into my private thoughts.
If he found a personal journal, he would read the whole thing, then question me about everything. ‘What did you mean about this part?’ He would take everything the wrong way, think everything was about him because that’s what people do.
I want my private thoughts to be private, that will never happen if I write them down.
It’s a release.
But I did figure out that it feels good to write out my feelings, to put it into words instead of having a rolling ball of fear building inside me until it gets so big that I feel my skin stretching against it.
Writing out those feelings helps make sense of them. It aids me in understanding why, and whether my fears are irrational, or if there is some kind of solution. Inside my head, sometimes things make perfect sense, however, once I let them out on the page, they seem to take on a different life, sometimes they die, sometimes they grow, and sometimes they evolve.
I do know that even if it may be painful or confusing or frustrating to journal, it does help. It helps a lot. I need to do it more, every day. Maybe after that, I will feel normal.
What do you think? Do you journal? Do you find it helps or hurts?
Andi Lutz lives in Kansas with her husband, who she hides her journal from (just don’t look in that drawer over there,) her 3-year-old daughter, who thankfully can’t read yet, and four dogs and three cats who can easily sense her anxiety. Connect with her through Twitter or email- MrsAndiLutz@gmail.com.