Okay, so you know I've had issues with anxiety. This post does a pretty good job of explaining what that's been like for me, but for those of you who don't know this about me, let me break it down for you real quick like.
A couple of years ago, I became pretty obsessed with my own health. I would just fixate on an imagined health problem, which was extremely frightening, not to mention time consuming! There's nothing worse then not being able to switch the channel of negative and scary thoughts that are playing over and over in your head.
Luckily, those days are over, and I've come a long, long way in dealing with this issue. But sometimes, every once in a while, it still hits me. Here's a little story about what that can look like.
A few night ago I awoke in the middle of the night (I think my pup might have been licking my nose...) and I yawned. A normal thing to do upon waking up. But, something just didn't feel right. There was a spot on the left side of my face, between my mouth and my nose, that felt a little sore. I ran my tongue along the gum line. And that's when I felt it. A bump. Oh my god. A bump!
Now, I've had a bump along my gum line before. I know that a bump generally means an abscessed tooth. You go to the dentist. You get treated for the infection, and generally, like has happened to me in the past, you have a root canal. Not the most pleasant experience in the world, but not life threatening or off the wall painful. And my dentist is awesome. So intellectually, I know that this is really nothing more then an expensive inconvienience.
But, it's two o'clock in the morning. I've been woken from a dead sleep. This is not the time when I am at my best. I mean, I'm barely awake. My defenses are down. So I stumble into the bathroom and try to inspect the offending spot on my gum. I didn't really see much, but it's definitely a thing. I decide to go to go the bathroom.
And that's when it hits me. I feel lightheaded. Sweat is beginning to prickle along my hairline. I feel a tremendous wave of nausea. Oh oh, here comes the dry heaves! Am I going to pass out?
I mange to finish up going "potty" (if there is a more delicate way of putting this, please let me know) before I roll myself onto the cold linoleum floor, my pajamas around my ankles. I feel absolutely horrid.
But here's the good part. I know, with absolute certainty, that this feeling will pass. And it will pass quickly. It's just a little leftover present from the "old days". As I lay on the bathroom floor, the wave of fear and sickness that literally brought me to my knees sort of just passes through me and disappears. From beginning to end, this little late night freak out may have lasted five minutes.
There was a time when an episode like this would have completely exhausted me. Scared me out of my wits. I would have most likely obsessed with this episode for days, imagining some sort of underlying illness that was making me feel so bad.
But not this time.
I push myself up off the floor and get myself together. I even chuckle to myself, "Jeepers, Lindy, you really do a number on yourself sometimes, don't ya? It's just an infected tooth!"
Believe it or not, this experience was helpful in two ways. First, it reminds me not to get too cocky. There is a good possibility that I could be dealing with the issue of anxiety for the rest of my life. But the second reason this was helpful to me was that I realize how far I have come. When "it" comes (which, thankfully, is so rarely), I have really learned to roll with it. I am better able to let these feelings of fear and anxiety just sort of wash over me. I don't try to fight it. It comes, and then it goes.
This, my friends, is progress.