Fearless: When I was younger, I was going to conquer the world. Nothing would hold me back. I had my own voice and i sure was NOT afraid to use it!
Wowser! That word fearless certainly brings back memories. Distant memories of the young single mom, renting a 14′ Sears budget truck, with a car haul on the back, making the trek across country from Oregon to New Hampshire with two young children. Oh, what a grand time we had! Even, the two times we got lost, we made it fun. There is no fear in the 3 albums filled with pictures of our 7 day adventure. Oh how I long for that person.
Interestingly enough, I can be and still am that person (just a bit older). Sure, I have some baggage. I tend to be more cautious in my decisions. I have experienced life events that have formed a “devilishly doubt-filled” annoying voice in my head that creates, question marks about my abilities that I fight daily. So, if I want to live in the winners circle of life, that little bugger needs to be dealt with.
As I have mentioned before, the act of facing fear, pushing through and beyond it, can be very exhausting. Different events, places, stresses, trigger various degrees of fear filled anxiety and panic. Right now is a perfect example. I have been on short term disability for about 5 weeks. I am not in as good physical shape as I was, but I can get there. With a little time I can rebuild my muscles. Unfortunately, having 5 weeks to be in your own head, it can manifest all types of self doubt. That self doubt has got to be annihilated. That being my ultimate goal, I need to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Work, to me means a challenge to overcome. Nothing better than someone or something to “lay down the gauntlet”, to get me in “the fights on!” mode!
Especially, when it has to do with mental health. The word work, oh how some people, despise that word. Often newbies seem to think, they go to the doctors, he writes a prescription, the pharmacist fills it, they pop a pill and the world is their’s again. Oh what a rude awakening for many.
And then the day before the day arrived, I was released to go back to work. D-day was a Friday, April 1, 2016 . Eeeeeek!
I kept pretty busy, running errands, picking out my outfit, laundry, walking, and attempting to avoid “stinking thinking”. It worked okay. Remember, I live this stuff right along with the rest of you. My toolbox was being picked through like clearance wrapping paper the day after Christmas. The only thing missing was someone hitting me in the shins with their grocery cart! (Dang, that hurts!!)
Obviously, even with relaxation exercises, positive visualization and the deep breathing techniques, the night didn’t contain the peaceful restful sleep that I would have liked. As always, my trusty companions of 8 plus years; a Husky/shepard/wolf mix and a Yorkie poo, sensed my turmoil and joined me in tossing and turning. My King size bed felt like a twin with 6 people plopped on it.
Suddenly, it was morning coffee time. Thoughts were whirling, twirling along with fleeting glimpses of past events, crossroads, decisions made and those yet to be made. All woven in with self doubt and a variety of scenarios topped off with a bit of pressure of what direction shall I take this morning? Literally questioning, can I do this?
The brutal reality that nothing is guaranteed. My core value, best described by something my old boss used to say ” if we err, we err on the side of caution.” The one idea that kept formulating and standing out from the jumbled thoughts contained the question- Does this hold me back from my true potential? Or is being cautious what keeps me sane? (Not that I felt truly sane at that moment!).
I felt trapped, bound by heightened and excessively intense anxiety with panic attacks and fear of failure.
My mind headed off to; “Is there a life or type of freedom that I am missing due to my cautious ways? Am I squelching my own creativity and potential for greatness? What WOULD it be like to be a true free spirit? What could happen if I literally let go and gave all 100% of me to the universe? Are my ethics and being responsible ways just BS? Am I screwing myself? Moments like those I feel, surreal, distant, and seriously bonkers. (Bring in the straight jacket and a box of crayolas, please!)
Yes, the mind can conjure up oddly erratic thoughts!
I continued to grasp for the focus to be present in the room where I sat. (aka Mindfulness). Self talk helped pull me into the present and reminded me that all that was happening was from a learned overactive fight or flight response from stress. Factually, I knew, that I needed to get back to work. That this would all pass if I just continued to find things to concentrate on. Particularly, affirmations of things I am- For example: healthy, happy, capable, successful and the reminder that an awesome celebration of success awaited me at the end of the day. That became my primary goal. I planted a smile on my face and hit the shower. I continued a long time practiced Yoga stretch routine as the hot steamy water encircled me. After getting ready I headed for the car, cranked the tunes and headed off to work. I sang to the music and envisioned how fun it would be seeing my co-workers after 5 weeks. When I arrived at work, I walked in with a cheery GOOD MORNING, received several welcome back hugs and some jovial ribbing and I was all set. The anxious moments were behind me and I jumped into my day. Besides, what good would I be at blogging about this subject if I couldn’t work through it myself? I felt it was important to write my experience down as it was happening and then mentally noted how great it would feel to journal and share the outcome.
Okay, now that I have shared my lunatic ravings with you!! I would like to thank you! All of you helped me that day. My focal point, the thought of sharing my experience with you, worked out just as I knew it would. #WINNING!!
Worthy of Note: Routine, can play a positive role when moving through a series of panic anxiety moments. I have run into a number of people that actually have a set daily step by step morning pattern that helps keep them centered and only when they change it up does their anxiety appear. Mine isn’t as regimented as some but I know that I generally follow a loose pattern.
Daily Post Fearless