Anxiety is a sneaky bitch. She hides in the cracks and seeps into the seams. She appears in the form of a night sweat or a bad dream. She makes you forget a word in the middle of an important sentence or cripples your stride in the middle of a grocery store. And when she decides to present herself, she is unrestrained…her tentacles long and menacing, her fangs sinking deep. You try to focus on your breath, to switch your thoughts, but you haven’t answered her questions yet – and she’s not leaving until you do. What will happen to your kids if you die? Are you doing enough as a Mother? Are you ignoring a symptom? Do they get enough sleep? Is the glass at your child’s school bulletproof? Did you lock the back door? Are they eating right? Is the oven on? Am I giving them what they really need? Should I not have said that to them? Anxiety will make you thankful for the inevitable pull of urine inside your bladder that wakes you up out of the kids-falling-in-a-snake-pit nightmare she managed to conjure up in your brain. Anxiety does not discriminate who you are or what you do or how much you have or if you work in an office or if you work at home. She doesn’t care.
So what do we do with this sneaky little bitch? We try to overcome her. We drown her out with the sound of footsteps on a treadmill or punches to a leather bag. We ignore her by tapping keys on a computer or buttons on a phone. We get tangled up in a baby’s laugh or engaged in a girlfriend’s whisper. We try to beat her, to get ahead of her. We try to strangle her whole until we are left stripped of the feelings of doom she often leaves in her wake.
When she decides to present herself I will focus on my breath over and over again until she gets bored and moves on. I will live in the now. I will surrender to what is and let go of what was. I will continue to fist punch that sneaky bitch in the face until she learns to leave me alone…until she learns that I am in control, not her. I decide, not her. She will learn that I am a good Mother, and that is good enough.