Anxiety

I have a problem with anxiety.  The familiar acid tang at the back of the throat, the clenched heart, fluttering in the stomach, caught mid swoon. The tunnel vision too, which is a bugger when you’re driving.

This is nothing new; I spent most of 2010 and some of 2011 so tanked on tranquilizers that I wrecked my short term memory. Eventually I got myself more or less back on track, and the daily bouts of clammy palms and lurching stomach became a memory.

2016 has changed all of that. First I was anxious because my health went pear-shaped. Then I was anxious because I had to have my baby ten weeks early and I was worried she would die. After that, I was anxious about producing enough breast milk and whether she was gaining enough weight.

Then she came home and I was anxious because I had a new business pitch and combining that with a new baby and no sleep was a nightmare. Then I was anxious because I was at home with the baby while everyone else was working late on more new business pitches and I wasn’t a team player.

After I went back to work, I was anxious about going to my mother’s house to feed the baby, and anxious about abandoning the baby to be in meetings. I was anxious about breast milk and, when I could no longer cope with expressing, anxious about letting my baby down by supplementing her feeds with formula.

I became anxious about losing relevance because I’d been away for three months, and the office might find that they could manage without me. I’m anxious because things are not the same, and I feel guilty about not working the hours I used to, and guilty about not being there when my baby needs me, which in turn leads to more anxiety.

I’m anxious because I don’t feel as smart as I used to, and there are days when I feel completely incompetent or utterly extraneous and sometimes both at the same time. I’m anxious because I can’t focus the thoughts rattling around in my head. I’m anxious because I know I have to save for school fees, and I gave away a lot of money a few years ago and now I’m regretting it. I’m anxious because sometimes I’m not billable enough and someone’s going to look at my time sheets and wonder if I’m expendable. I’m anxious about increases in medical aid for next year, and how much will come off the salary I’m worried I don’t deserve to get anyway.

I’m anxious because the stakes are so much higher now. I’m anxious because if I slip up, it’s not just me I have to worry about any more. I’m anxious about being anxious, about whether I should change my medication, whether it’s the pill I’m taking because I read that anxiety is one of the side effects.

I am anxious because I am anxious because I am anxious and it won’t stop and there is no end in sight.

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2 thoughts on “Anxiety

  1. Oh Sarah. Not sure there is anything anyone can say or do to make you feel less anxious. I’ve found it’s very easy to tell others to only worry about the things you can control, but from experience it hardly helps when someone says that to me…. We all go through ups and downs, and while our highs and lows might not be as high and low as yours, just know that you’re incredibly brave putting it all out there and that’s got to count for something :-).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah, I can relate. I’m also an anxious person. Recently I read somewhere that the word ‘worry’ comes from an old English verb which means ‘to strangle’. It has a similar root to the word ‘wring’. So, worry and anxiety grab us by the throat and squeeze the life out of us. Anxiety chokes and suffocates. It’s ever so debilitating. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are great. I’ve followed your writing for a while and personally I think you should quit your job, stay at home with your baby and finally write a novel. I think you have a best seller in you, I see it!!!!! That will solve many of your money worries!!!! All the best. Be gentle on yourself xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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