Do we as a society really understand what anxiety is? I sure didn’t. Worrying is not my thing, but I definitely have lots of thoughts racing through my monkey mind. Nervous habits like biting the inside of my cheeks, causing the dentist to take note. I would always just refer to myself as a little “high strung” or “amped up.” I can see it in my dad and my brother too. It’s when I started to study yoga and tried to relax that I realized how anxious I really am.
Then Eva died. The fluttery feelings in my chest started to happen. I didn’t know what to think of it. Was I having heart issues? I asked another loss mom—oh, it’s anxiety. Shortness of breath then joined in. Sometimes they appear out of nowhere, but most of the time it’s when I’m thinking about her, or this last year. I’m sure there’s PTSD at play. And then come the moments like the dog running off and I instantly go to the thought that she’s gone forever. First my baby, now my beloved dog. I know now how quickly things can turn horrific and my mind can take me to the worst possible outcome, instantly. This is not the old me, this is someone new. In fact it isn’t me at all, it’s anxiety.
Typing this piece is even stirring the beast as it rises to the top of my breast. Anxiety feels like the sum total of my pain, resting on my chest, while moths flutter within the rib cage around my heart. I pause and gasp before I recognize it.
I’m learning how to live with it, and am hopeful it won’t be around forever. When I start to feel anxious too often I know it’s time to hibernate and nurture myself. Letting whatever thoughts and feeling flow because acknowledging them releases their power. Yoga and meditation provide such sweet release. This ugly beast will not crush me. Breathe, just breathe.