If you’re finding yourself in the high anxiety club, welcome! I’ve been a member since well before the pandemic. I’m sorry, but I’ve got some bad news for you. We are constantly being bombarded with reasons why we should be highly efficient and constantly producing something. That’s how we end up with articles claiming that we can turn anxiety into a super power. Which are complete garbage and are written by people who’ve obviously never lived with chronic anxiety.
Let’s just get this out of the way now so there isn’t any confusion. There’s a pandemic going on. The people in charge are idiots and literally do not care that almost a thousand people a day are dying. We’ve literally moved into the, “some of you will die and no one should worry about that” phase of the pandemic. So obviously your mental health should be just fine. /sarcasm
Even in the best of times too much of anything is bad, double so for anxiety. A little anxiety is a good reminder that you’re coming up against a deadline or can be motivation to get things done, sure I’ll give you that. If anxiety was on a scale of 1 – 10, 1 being minor anxiety and 10 being, “oh my god kill me now” a “good amount of anxiety is like 2 and you can argue about that rating all you like, but I’ll explain.
Mild and moderate anxiety can be toxic. The anxiety is exhausting, a little and you may not notice, but turn it up to 4-5 and suddenly it’s like you’re moving through molasses full of razor blades and no matter how much sleep you get it isn’t enough. And that’s just short term. I live (on a good day) at about an 8 constantly and it’s not healthy. We aren’t good at dealing with anxiety as a species and frankly there was no reason we should be evolutionarily speaking. Do other animals worry about being more productive? I don’t see my cats thinking they are sleeping too much or that they are not chasing fake mice enough.
I’m a chronically anxious person. I’ve come to terms with this. I live like this all the time. Trust me if you’re new to this club, even if it’s only temporary, it doesn’t get easier. However, you can learn to work within your limits. It’s okay to readjust the expectations you have for yourself and I’ll spoil the ending for you, the more you relax those expectations the better you’ll do stress wise. The more you fight it? Well, let me just say you can’t. What’s the saying? Cutting off your nose to spite your face or something like that? You can try, but you won’t get very far.
Eventually the pandemic will be over. Hopefully we will come together and elect competent leadership. The one constant in the universe is change. That goes either way, but let’s just hope for the best right now. Maybe one day, if you find yourself dealing with high and chronic anxiety, you will find peace and things will go back to normal for you.
I’ll still be here in the chronic anxiety club. So while you’re here with me, please try to do something I still struggle with. Be kind to yourself. It’s not easy, but if it’s one thing I’ve learned it’s to take it a little bit at a time. Focus on making it one day at a time and if that’s too much, just focus on making it to the next meal (a good way to make sure you’re eating too). I wish there was some great secret I could tell you that would make your anxiety vanish or some way to wield it like a mighty weapon of productivity, but that’s not what anxiety is or how it works.
The sooner you understand that, the sooner you can stop trying to be more productive and instead focus on taking care of yourself. Self care, that’s the best secret I’ve got for you. Good luck and be kind to yourself, please.