Anxiety: Battling The Impossible

Some days I feel like I can do it all. And some days I can’t. This is one of these days. We’re now embarking on our third straight week of illness without a break, and our sixth week of ‘let’s catch something this week’. Though I know it’s the season for catching things. Melbourne spring weather loves to put on a good show and the constant radical changes in weather aren’t exactly great for us just recovering folks.

But it’s at times like this that all the ‘should haves’ back up. Alas it is rare that they go quiet just because our schedule has been (metaphorically, but I’m contemplating literally) chucked out the window.

Anxiety: Battling the Impossible, Image: Tissue box, Dr Who Sonic Screwdriver

My DH reckons that if I drop the ball on things that need doing (like all the planning, organising and / or attending meetups, or all the appointments we’ve had to miss) and no one notices, then it probably wasn’t as urgent as my poor, tired and worried brain makes them out to be. But . . .

. . . It can be hard to let go. Hard to say, ‘Wait! That thing is not possible!‘. When I’m struggling to stay awake because little J was up all night coughing, I’m not actually up for redesigning our kitchen, or hiking with the kids to do a nature study in the local wilderness, or exploring the neighbourhood with parkour. And unless I’m really, really sick (and yes, we’ve had bouts of some very nasty illnesses where sitting up became optional), my brain just won’t let go.

This anxiety is a part and parcel of who I am and it’s something I’ve passed on to my kids, alas. It ‘runs strong in my family’. My family passes on stories of survival against anxiety that go back generations (and they have the flavour of war stories). But this anxiety doesn’t come with superpowers, or sadly the ability to use a lightsaber. Instead it comes with the ability to get very worried about being able to do such things.

Oh my! I’ve not mastered my (completely impossible due to the laws of physics) lightsaber skills – quick! It’s time to randomly feel bad because you can’t instantly overcome the laws of physics and biology!’

Sigh. It’s just one of those days. So today I’m going to take it easy. I’m going to try and set the worry monster aside, or at least refuse to talk or listen to it. I’m going to make sure my kids are OK, and I’m going to heal. One day at a time. One virus or bacterial infection at a time. The world will not end, nor will the future prospects of my children if I take the time to rest.

But it’s a hard, hard thing, this resting. And keeping the ‘shoulda coulda woulda’s‘ at bay is not a given. But like our family’s recovery from all these illnesses, it is something that has to be tackled one day at a time. One very slow, long day at a time.

3 Replies to “Anxiety: Battling The Impossible”

  1. I plan to spend more time thinking about how you tie anxiety to the ability to let go. It seems so simple, but the examples of an optimizing brain and lightsaber skills helped me take it in. I'd be curious about how desire plays into all of this: so many assessments of desire, what is possible, and what to strive for.

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