8.12.2014

Anxiety

A little heavier topic than normal today at Team Skelley. While I don't want to turn the blog into endless naval gazing and pontificating, I also try to not to spend too much time in the shallow end of the pool. Today, I want to talk about something a little more weighty than leopard accessories - anxiety.


I have always been a worrier. I get it honest, I come from a long line of worriers. When I was a kid, my worrying would manifest itself in a stomach ache. More than once, my mom was called to my school to pick me up with tummy-related issues. I worried about lots of things - that there was a shark in the pool, whether other kids liked me at summer camp, making a good grade on a test, etc. When I was older, the main reason that I started practicing yoga was not to improve my physical shape but actually my mental shape.

Let's rewind.

When The Engineer and I were married in 2002, a well-meaning person told me that after the wedding - after the hoopla and the parties and the celebration was over - I would feel depressed. She didn't know me very well and probably did not see that I actually don't enjoy being the center of attention (hello, debilitating stage fright!). After we were married, I was honestly relieved it was over. But as the months went by, I started having trouble sleeping. This was nothing new to me, I have always been a bit of an insomniac. I started having all of these fears when I tried to sleep - what if something happened to The Engineer? What if something happened to Jake the Basset Hound? Having someone to love also meant having someone to lose. I was terrified. Life was too good, when would the other shoe drop? I didn't deserve happiness more than anyone else, why did I have it while others suffered? The worry started to take over my life.

My doctor prescribed Paxel, which was little help. I started researching anxiety and it led me to the practice of yoga. I found a local class and it was life-changing. It gave me balance and helped me fall asleep easier so I was not lying in bed worrying about skin cancer and car accidents and whatever else popped in my overactive imagination.

Yoga, exercise and the busy-ness of raising a family has kept the anxiety at bay for the last decade but lately I have felt it creeping back in. I have the same fears that all moms have. What if something happens to my children? What if something happens to me? I have all of these plans for my children's childhood. Y'all know me, I have plans period. I plan my day, I plan my life, I plan my future. I might be a little bit of a control freak. Just a smidge.


The world is a scary place right now. In the past few days, my Facebook feed has been overrun with stories coming out of Iraq - ghastly, unbelievable, horror movie stories. Saturday as I was leaving my sister's baby shower, I quickly scrolled down my Facebook feed and came across a photo out of Iraq posted by a friend - a picture so awful that my brain did not comprehend what I was viewing. I know me. I know my threshold of what I can handle and still be a functioning human being. I don't read CNN.com because of some of the gruesome stories that they report. I don't watch horror movies. When I was in the third grade, I watched Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3 at a friend's house and had nightmares for decades. A vivid imagination  is not always a bonus. I wish I could un-see that image.

The idea of something happening to my family sends me to a dark place. I think about those families across the world where that darkness is their reality and I hurt for them. So much that I have to step away from the computer before the anxiety swallows me whole. Not because I don't care. But because the mental image is more than I can bear. It is nothing more than the luck of the draw that I was born in North America and not a war zone.

I want my children to live long and happy lives. I want to be here for their childhood. I want them to be raised by their mom and dad. I pray for my children - that they are safe and grow up to be happy and healthy. I pray the M. and I are there beside them - that they never experience the pain of losing their mom and/or dad. I pray that C. and A. have a normal existence full of hoops in the driveway, walks with the dog, evenings at the ballpark, holidays with our families, Sundays with our church friends and afternoons eating froyo and talking about their day. I pray for time.

I pray for peace, in all its different connotations.

Tomorrow, it will be silliness and shopping, basset hounds and baby clothes (I might have gone a little overboard buying tiny shoes for my new nephew), but today this was on my heart. With the loss of Robin Williams yesterday, the importance of mental health should be an open and honest dialogue, now more than ever.

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7 comments:

  1. This was great, Katie. The shallow end of the pool is glorious place to sunbathe, but the real strength and conditioning comes when we use our energy to tread into the deeper end for what ails our hearts.

    Much love,

    .mac :)

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  2. I feel very much the same way. Constantly worrying about the worse that could happen to my family and loved ones, worrying about how easily it would be to lose them. But then I just have to remind myself that God has a plan for all of us and that He is in control. Although, it is not always easy to feel at peace with that, I completely understand. So glad you found yoga to help you with that!

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    1. Thank you for reading - I think it is easy when everything is good to wait for the other shoe to drop, which robs the joy out of our day. You are so right - if we try to stop controlling everything ourselves and put our trust in something larger, then I think that can ease the anxiety. :)

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  3. I worry all the time too. I need to find a better outlet.

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  4. Very relatable, insightful, and honest post. Thank you for sharing it!

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  5. I need to tell you about these oils I have been using. They're pretty awesome. I will email you later!

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